Katrina Nicole Adkins with diploma in hand is congratulated by keynote speaker Michael T. Rust. Adkins, a cum laude honors graduate earning a degree English education, is from Clay, WV

Dr. Peter B. Barr, left, president of Glenville State College presents the 2014 student leadership award to Kyle James Warner. Warner is a summa cum laude accounting graduate from Gassaway

Story and Photos by Drew Moody
For the Hur Herald

College graduations stir many emotions for everyone involved, especially friends and family. While a time of great celebration (and relief), the experience is also bittersweet. There's hope and anxiety about the future along with excitement, reflection and reality of impending goodbyes.

The 2014 graduates may find the working world sprinkled with painful transitions. Unexpected challenges will arise, particularly the politics of adjusting to new environments, supervisors and co-workers they have no history with. And perhaps only when looking back will they more fully appreciate the nurturing, almost protective, home GSC provided.

Future considerations mostly took a backseat to appreciating the fruits of a commitment made upon arriving at Glenville State College. The day some probably thought would never come became a reality for 228 students Saturday morning.

Cloudy skies greeted the crowd of 1,500 leisurely drifting into the newly opened Waco Center. Parents, grand-parents, brother, sisters, sons daughters and friends came to share the day with loved ones.

Dennis Harvey's journey to Glenville was more of a fluke than a plan -- but one where everything went right. He praised GSC's science department for their skillful method of teaching that kept pushing him onward. Pictured, along with Dennis are his 7-year old son, Dustin, and long-time partner Amber Shreve

Dustin Harvey, 7, of Glenville, a would-be photojournalist was thrilled his father, Dennis, finished his chemistry degree. Dustin is the son of Dennis Harvey and Amber Shreve of Glenville

A hum of chatter and anticipation filled the gym as the 10 o'clock hour approached. No one seemed happier than young would-be photojournalist, Dustin Harvey, 7, of Glenville. Carrying a camera, he gleefully rushed about, seemingly elated his father was about to receive a college degree.

The Long Strange Trip to Glenville

Dennis Harvey came to Glenville State College after a successful six-year stint as a Honeywell project manager. He and his partner of many years, Amber Shreve, had a son and their future looked bright. Bright until downsizing ended his job and the demand for that segment of high-tech employment evaporated.

The couple relocated to Amber's hometown in Randolph County while reassessing the future. Harvey first enrolled at a West Virginia community college but soon realized an associate degree wouldn't satisfy the family's long term goals. Then one day while running errands near Huttonsville he noticed a GSC billboard and decided to contact the school.

A tour of the science department convinced him he'd found the right place. A few weeks later Harvey was a Glenville student pursuing new dreams.

"The science faculty (at GSC) are second to none," Harvey said, singling out professors Kevin Evans and David O'Dell as being the most responsible for pushing him to the successful completion of his B.A. in chemistry. "They do not make it easy, but they're very good at what they do."

What's next for the 32-year-old graduate? On Monday, Harvey had a job interview for a chemist position in Tyler County. He's also applying to WVU's school of engineering. His second choice, pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry.

GSC's Class of 2014 by the Numbers

One hundred, eighty-one bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees were awarded to Saturday's graduates.

The largest block of those are the 45 new K-12 teachers who may take charge of their own classroom next fall. Other popular majors included: psychology / sociology (22), criminal justice (21), natural resource management (18), and business (15).

Thirteen members of the 2014 class achieved the highest academic distinction, summa cum laude, reserved for graduates with grade point averages, 3.85 to 4.00. Those graduates are: Amanda June Abramovich, B.S., behavioral science, of Auburn, WV; Ezekiel G. Bonnett, B.S., psychology / sociology, of Coxs Mills; Donald Everett Grant, B.S., natural resource management, of Weston; Katelyn Michelle Lake, B.A., elementary education, of Hacker Valley; Sarah Jo Lewis, B.A., elementary education, of Buckhannon; Trent Andrew Moats, B.S., criminal justice, of Franklin; and Kyle James Warner, B.S., accounting management, of Gassaway.

Associate degree recipients with a near perfect GPA and Summa Cum Laude honor status are: Ashley Brooke Gauldin, Business, of Sutton; Efrain Victor Perez, Business, of Glenville; Connie Lea Roberts, Business, of Sutton; George Alexander Springer, Business, of Glenville; Sherry Villers, Criminal Justice, of Paden City; and Joe D. Wilson, Business, of Glenville.

Forty-seven graduates received 2-year associate degrees. Land surveying and forestry comprised the largest of that group with 18 degrees. Thirteen graduated in criminal justice and 12 earned degrees in business.

A total of 26-percent of the class graduated with honors maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or better.

GSC's as West Virginian as most Catholic K-12 schools are Catholic -- at least by surveying graduates listed addresses. Ninety-three percent of the 2014 class are from the Mountain State and most are from within a radius of around 80-miles of Glenville.

Speakers and Awards

Keynote speaker Michael T. Rust, Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA) president and CEO, and 1973 graduate of Glenville State College, gave high praise to his alma mater. He told the 1,500 member audience GSC is the foundation of all his subsequent successes in life, generously praising the high standards of the institution.

Rust's successes are almost unbelievable by anyone's standards, especially considering his humble beginnings at what is a small rural liberal arts college deep in the interior of West Virginia's rolling hills. He now oversees 131 Kentucky hospitals plus serves as president and CEO of four KHA subsidiary corporations.

Following his address GSC president Peter B. Barr presented him with an honorary doctorate degree. In 2013 Rust was named Glenville State College alumnus of the year.

Dr. Paul L. Hill, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (WVHEPC) chancellor, was also an honored guest at Saturday's ceremonies. He briefly addressed the audience and assisted President Barr with awards presentations. Hill was named chancellor of the WVHEPC two years ago. His varied background includes serving as former CEO of several state, federal and private organizations. Hill completed two undergraduate degrees at Marshall University, subsequently earning a Ph.D. in biology and chemistry at the University of Louisville.

Dr. Kathy Butler, former provost of GSC, was recognized with a faculty emerita title for her years of service to the college. Dr. Paul L. Hill, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Chancellor, left, assisted GSC president Dr. Peter B. Barr in presenting a commemorative certificate to Butler. Dr. Sherry J. Jones and Dr. Mike Smith, both long-time faculty members were also bestowed the professor emerita title Saturday

Glenville State College faculty emeritus awards were presented to Dr. Kathy Butler, former provost; Dr. Sherry Jones, former business department chairwoman, and Dr. Mike Smith, former social science department chairman.

Dr. Peter B. Barr, president of GSC, presents the annual faculty award of excellence to history professor Art DeMatteo

Professor Art DeMatteo was presented GSC's 2014 faculty award of excellence. This year's student leadership award was presented to Kyle James Warner, of Gassaway. Warner is also one of the seven summa cum laude graduates, listed above.

Anyone interested in attending Glenville State College, or would like more information about the school and degree programs, should contact the admissions office at 304-462-6130 or 1-800-924-2010. For other questions, the college's main number is 304-462-7361.

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