Campus community remains active over summer

By Maria Kimble, Contributing Writer

West Liberty University is a busy campus during the summer months; here is a recap of some of the events on the Hilltop that you might have missed this summer.

In our athletic department, President Stephen Greiner announced WLU’s head coaches Lynn Ullom and Roger Waialae as co­interim Athletic Directors. The decision was made after the previous Athletic Director, Aaron Huffman, stepped down from his position on July 1. Huffman will still be a presence on WLU’s campus, returning to his previous faculty position in the College of Education.

Waialae and Ullum look forward to see the department grow. A full­time Athletic Director will be announce in the future.

At the end of June, President Greiner completed the Community Fitness Challenge (CFC). Nineteen neighboring Ohio Valley business, education and municipal leaders took part in the challenge. The CFC included workouts three days a week, nutrition class once­-a-­week and a daily food log. “The best part of the challenge is clearly the end result,” Greiner said. “I successfully completed the 90 day cross fit and nutrition program, and more importantly gained overall strength and endurance while losing 20 pounds in the process.” Each competitor donated $1,000 to the CFC charity pool, with the winner earning a grand prize of $21,000 donated to their charity of choice.

Hundreds of people gathered in Centre Market on July 21st for the winner announcement. Mark Peluchette won $21,000 that is given to his charity, Central Catholic High School. Even though President Greiner did not win, he enjoyed his experience and the support he has received.

“I appreciate the support and encouragement from West Liberty University employees and students,” Greiner said. “It has been enjoyable sharing stories about the experience. I hope that my experience has inspired others toward a healthier lifestyle. Maybe we should consider a WLU Fitness Challenge.”

WLU’s student researchers were also busy working this summer. They have been exploring crayfish biodiversity, skull morphology, probing host microbe interactions, and diving into environmental chemistry. The SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research Experience) program allows students to experience hands on research on a daily basis.

Topper­SURE gives each student $3,000 along with valuable research experience for their resume. Fourteen science majors presented their findings on July 20th in the College Union. Students gave explanations of their work in the Alumni Room before presenting posters illustrating their research to family members, faculty, and the community.

Students volunteered in flood cleanup at the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery and provided help after a devastating emergency. This included debris removal and recovery work. WLU is proud of the students who decided to participate in this program.

This summer WLU Foundation also welcomed in our new executive director Angela Zambito-Hill and other new members, Anissa Monseau Anderson, Charles Annett, David Coffaro, and Jeremy West.

Zambito­Hill replaced former Executive Director Christine Carder who retired on June 30. Prior to WLU, Zambito­Hill worked as an advancement director at Corpus Christi School for one year. Prior to that she has served as executive director of development in WLU’s Department of Institutional Advancement. WLU welcomes the new faculty members on to the university’s staff.

Two WLU graduates published a book this summer. Alexander King and Jeremy Gordon’s children book, “Leif’s Frist Fall,” was released on July 8, 2016. The story is about a young maple tree named Leif who experiences fall for the first time. The story is filled with humor and life lessons that everyone can relate to, not just children.

Gordon graduated WLU with a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design and is now a freelance illustrator. Meanwhile, King is currently in the process of writing a horror novel and a post-apocalyptic novella. King graduated WLU with a degree in communications with an emphasis in broadcasting.

WLU’s Master of Physician Assistant Studies program future students recently accepted their white coats and recited the professional oath on July 25. This is an important mark for PA students, where they agree to the duties, responsibilities and work involved in caring for the health and welfare of all future patients.

18 graduate students began the 24­month program and officially accepted their white coats on July 1. Dr. William A. Childers, Jr. welcomed family and students on July 22 in the Kelly Theater at the ceremony. President Stephen Greiner also welcomed the new class to the Hilltop. More than 800 students applied for the 18 open spots in the master’s program. This class includes students from near and far; 10 out of the 18 spots earned their undergraduate degree at WLU.

West Liberty University has had a handful this past summer with all the events and accomplishments, and our campus is set to thrive throughout the upcoming semester.

Photo by Maureen Zambito