May 2021 
Summer Courses are in full swing but it's not too late to sign up for our second session and get a head start on fall. Here's the link to begin your summer journey to the Hilltop. And whether you're a first time freshman or transfer student, summer orientation and class registration is your opportunity as a new student to register for your first semester classes and get comfotable with college life at WLU. Click here to find important new student dates, forms and resources. We look forward to meeting you soon.Thank you!
President W. Franklin Evans joins student speaker Abbey Bauer just before the 9 a.m. ceremony.
Spring Commencements
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., May 8, 2021 — West Liberty University hosted hybrid commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 on the weekend of May 7 – 8.
Graduates from the Class of 2020 who were unable to participate in a live ceremony last spring due to the pandemic also were invited to participate and all ceremonies were held in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex (ASRC).
A total of 443 degrees were conferred consisting of 28 associate degrees, 323 bachelor degrees and 75 master degrees. An additional 17 degrees will be conferred at a June 11 ceremony for the physician assistant graduate class after they complete clinical rotations.

President W. Franklin Evans presided at all ceremonies. West Virginia Senator Ryan Weld spoke at each ceremony in a virtual presentation on the Main Street Bank Video Board. Each ceremony had a different student speaker who delivered a live speech.

Faculty participated in the ceremony for their respective colleges only and guests were limited to two per graduate. All ceremonies began with a greeting from the president.

“Graduates:  We will miss you. But we will not forget you Class of 2021 and those who returned from the Classes of 2020 to be celebrated and honored, we want you always to be proud of your alma mater. We want the value of your West Liberty degree to grow, as you grow personally and professionally in the years to come,” said President Evans.

“Visit the campus, not just at homecoming or reunions, but at any time. West Liberty is and will remain your home forever.”

Weld’s speech focused on the pride of earning a college degree and the next step.

“What are you going to do next? You’re going to make your mark on the world and make your community and your state a better place. Go out and make your mark. Go out and make a difference. Use your degree that you earned here to make a difference," he said.

The graduate degree ceremony took place Friday, May 7 and the student speaker was Anna Malone of Clarksburg, W. Va. who earned a Master of Arts in Education degree.

Three undergraduate ceremonies took place on Saturday, May 8. The 9 a.m. ceremony for the College of Education & Human Performance and the College of Liberal Arts included comments from student speaker Abbey Bauer of Moundsville. The noon ceremony for the College of Sciences included student speakers Breanna Sayre of Wheeling and Kendall Souder of Ellettsville, Ind.

The 3 p.m. ceremony for the College of Arts & Communication, the Gary E. West College of Business, and the School of Professional Studies featured student speaker Rebekah Teter of Shanks, W.Va.

Chairman of WLU Board of Governors Rich Lucas, who is an alumnus, greeted the graduates in a virtual presentation at all ceremonies. He stressed the value of their degrees and encouraged graduates to stay in the “West Liberty University family” as they move forward.

All ceremonies are archived on Topper Station for viewing now.
Shemrico Stanley
Shemrico Stanley was hired recently as Special Assistant to the President for DEI and Strategic Initiatives

DEI Selected

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., May 17, 2021 — West Liberty University hired Shemrico Stanley as its inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) officer recently.

Stanley’s full title is Special Assistant to the President for DEI and Strategic Initiatives.

“I had the privilege of working with Mr. Stanley at Voorhees College and am aware of his work ethic,” said Dr. W. Franklin Evans, WLU president. “He is extremely organized with an analytical approach to handling issues. He knows how to get expected results.” 

Stanley was formerly the chief of staff and executive director of Title III Programs at Voorhees College, Denmark, S.C. Additionally, he is an experienced educator who served as an adjunct professor of criminal law, also at Voorhees College.
 
He also completed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate program through the University of South Florida Muma College of Business, Tampa, Fla.  

“I'm pleased to join the team here at West Liberty University,” Stanley said. “My goal is to create common knowledge and a starting point for each of us as we move the DEI needle forward to eliminate barriers for faculty, staff and students.”

At WLU, Stanley will play a key role in the university’s long-range DEI plans such as fostering a culture of inclusive excellence while assisting with initiatives from the president, working with diverse stakeholders across campus and outside of campus.

Stanley will oversee international student services and will jointly oversee Title IX initiatives with current Title IX coordinator Kate Billings. Additionally, he will moderate and facilitate the university-wide Diversity Committee.

West Liberty University is now one of just a few state institutions of higher education that employ a cabinet-level leader focused on DEI. 

Prior to his position at Voorhees College, Stanley was a compliance specialist and controller for Lane Construction Co., Charlotte, N.C. Before that, he worked for several years in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Legal Department.

Stanley earned a juris doctorate degree at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Lansing, Mich. and earned bachelor degrees in both business administration and criminal justice at North Carolina Central University, Durham, N.C.

He is a native of Vanceboro, N.C. and now resides in Wheeling. 

Back-to-Back Title Win

Update: The West Liberty University softball team opens the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Tournament bright and early Wednesday (May 16) morning when they take on East Stroudsburg (Pa.) in a 10 a.m. first-round game on the campus of Kutztown (Pa.) University. Below is coverage of the second MEC Tournament win:

SALEM, W.Va., May 9, 2021 – The WLU softball team pulled out a pair of come-from-behind victories recently to win its second consecutive Mountain East Conference Tournament championship at the James I. Moyer Softball Complex.
Coach Herb Minch's Hilltoppers (35-15) needed to beat West Virginia State (29-14) twice on in one day to win the double-elimination event and that's exactly what the Black and Gold did. West Liberty stayed alive with a thrilling 3-2 extra-inning triumph in the opener before rallying to a 4-1 win in the winner-take-all finale.
Trailing 1-0 in the second game after a second inning solo home run by State's Kasey Murphy, the Hilltoppers were knocking on the door in every inning before breaking through in the top of the fifth.
Riley Conkle singled to open the frame, moved up to second on a Kieran Johnson sacrifice and came home with the tying run when Tournament MVP doubled to the left-centerfield gap. An Allie Cook single and an infield grounder put runners on second and third with two out before Donzella delivered the play of the tournament.
With Makenzie Amend batting, Donzella timed the return throw from the catcher to the circle perfectly and sprinted for home. Caught completely by surprise, the pitcher was unable to get the ball back to the catcher in time and the WLU fans erupted as Donzella slid across with the go-ahead run.
Amend, who entered the game in relief of starter Annie Paterson in the fourth, took care of the rest. Just 48 hours after throwing the first no-hitter in MEC Tournament history, the hard-throwing righty shut out West Virginia State on just two singles over the final four innings to earn the win.
The reigning MEC Pitcher of the Year picked up five more strikeouts to set a new career strikeout record at West Liberty. Her 494 whiffs pushed her past former Hilltopper aces Tabi Mercurio and Amber Rankin, who had shared the previous record of 492.
The WLU bats weren't finished yet. Donzella led off the top of the seventh with a single - her third hit of the game. An infield out and a Katie Beeman single put runners on first and third before Amend helped her own cause with a deep sacrifice fly to right that brought Donzella trotting home. An RBI single from Connor Assif made it 4-1 Hilltoppers and Amend took care of business in the bottom of the seventh to set off an on-field celebration.
Donzella finished with a double and two singles while Assif, Cook and Conkle each ripped out a pair of hits as West Liberty racked up a dozen hits in the championship game.
In the first game, Riley Bennington fired a 9-inning masterpiece in the circle and the WLU offense came up big when it counted.
The Hilltoppers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead. Donzella led off the game with a double down the right field line and sprinted home on an infield error with two outs.
State scored two runs on three straight hits in the bottom of the fourth and had the bases loaded with one out only to see Bennington get the final two outs to limit the damage. Bennington went on to blank the Yellowjackets on two hits over the final five frames as the WLU offense tried to answer.
Beeman kept Hilltopper hopes alive in the top of the sixth when she roped a game-tying home run – her second circuit blast in as many days – over the left field fence and the game headed into extra innings.
Neither team scored until the top of the ninth when Paterson led off the inning with a solo blast over the wall in right-center and it was on to the winner-take-all championship game for the Black and Gold.
Donzella was an easy choice for Tournament MVP with Amend, Bennington and Beeman joining her on the MEC All-Tournament Team.
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