Wednesday July 1, 2015
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

New Student Affairs leadership team announced at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University has a new Student Affairs leadership team, Dr. Gayle Ormiston, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, announced today.

Ormiston said Carla Lapelle, who has been serving as associate dean of student affairs, was promoted to interim dean of student affairs at Marshall, replacing longtime dean Steve Hensley, who retired.

And, former student body president Matt James is the new assistant dean of student affairs at MU, replacing the position formerly held by Vanessa Keadle, who left Marshall in January.

Lapelle has worked at Marshall for nearly 29 years. She has been associate dean of student affairs since 2001 and, before that, she was coordinator of student health education programs and a counselor.

Lapelle, who has lived in Huntington since she was six years old, said her focus will be on the services and programs Marshall offers to students and how student affairs can work more efficiently and effectively to help them succeed.

"But a piece of my job as interim is to help the unit let go of the past and get excited about the future under new direction, so I'll work toward that, as well," Lapelle said.

Previously, Keadle's position was labeled director of parent programs and student advocacy. But, it was reclassified as assistant dean when she left.

"As a result of the new/restructured title, I am now also responsible for the supervision of all programs and staff within the student life division of student affairs," James said. He said these areas include student activities, fraternity and sorority life, student organizations and leadership programs, and the office of community engagement.

James, a Bluefield, W.Va., native, is directly responsible for coordinating all parent programs and student advocacy efforts.

"Student affairs has a terrific staff who are looking forward to working more collaboratively with each other and other areas on campus," Lapelle said. "I think this will be an exciting year for us."

James has co-supervised Marshall's Student Resource Center as a senior resource specialist for the past two years, capping off his four-year tenure in the SRC.

"(That position) has provided me with vast knowledge of campus resources and policies," he said. "I look forward to utilizing my institutional knowledge and experiences to further grow and develop the mission of the student affairs unit at Marshall University.

"I am excited by this opportunity as this is a position I would call my dream job - the ability to both lead staff and effect programmatic change while also working directly with students."

Lapelle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979, and her master's degree in clinical psychology in 1982, both from Marshall. James received his B.S. in biological sciences in 2009 and his master's in counseling in 2011, also both from Marshall. James also is working on his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Nebraska.

"I am well aware of the challenges I face as I take on the duties of a person who was here for 43 years," Lapelle said. "I have a lot to learn, and am especially grateful to everyone who has helped me with their instruction, guidance and patience."

James also is the executive adviser to the Student Government Association and the grand chapter adviser to Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. He said his undergraduate student involvement experiences - including student body president, Board of Governors student representative, and chair of the West Virginia State Advisory Council of Students - sparked his passion for a career in higher education.


Photos: Carla Lapelle (above) and Matt James (below) are now leading the Student Affairs division at Marshall University.

Direct Link to This Release
Wednesday July 1, 2015
Contact: Bryna Butler, Ohio Valley Bank, 740-446-2631

Ohio Valley Bank awards first-ever Marshall Mid-Ohio Valley Center Scholarship

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va.    Mario Liberatore, president of Ohio Valley Bank West Virginia, presented the first-ever Ohio Valley Bank Scholarship for the Marshall University Mid-Ohio Valley Center in Point Pleasant yesterday. Sophomore nursing student Shelby Rodgers received $1,500 in scholarship funds from the bank.

The fund for the Ohio Valley Bank Scholarship was established in 2013, with its first beneficiary being named this year. The scholarship for full-time students who have passed their freshman year requires a minimum of a 2.5 grade point average, with priority given to students in Mason County, West Virginia, first, then Gallia and Meigs counties in Ohio.

"Marshall's involvement in our community has had a profound effect. This is our way of supporting their efforts as well as the efforts of local youth who continue to challenge themselves through higher education,"  Liberatore said. "Our community, our kids, have to come first in all that we do. Ohio Valley Bank and I are proud to be able to give back to both in this way."

Ohio Valley Bank, established in 1872, operates 14 offices throughout western West Virginia and southern Ohio. The bank is a subsidiary of Ohio Valley Banc Corp., whose stock is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol OVBC. For more information, visit the Ohio Valley Bank website at or on Facebook at


Photos: Mario Liberatore, president of Ohio Valley Bank West Virginia (left), presents the first-ever Ohio Valley Bank Scholarship for the Marshall University Mid-Ohio Valley Center to sophomore nursing student Shelby Rodgers (center). With them is Homer Preece, director of Marshall's Mid-Ohio Valley Center in Point Pleasant.

Direct Link to This Release
Tuesday June 30, 2015
Contact: Megan Archer, College of Health Professions, (304) 488-8863

Lose the Training Wheels Camp returns for fifth consecutive year

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - For the fifth consecutive year, Marshall University's School of Kinesiology is hosting the Lose the Training Wheels Camp July 20-24 at Huntington High School.
The program, offered in cooperation with the nonprofit charity iCanShine, teaches participants with disabilities how to ride a two-wheel bicycle independently.
Funding for the camp was a concern earlier this year, but with the help of local donors and community support, the Lose the Training Wheels program will be offered for children with special needs who want to learn to ride, according to the camp's director, Dr. Gregg Twietmeyer.

"The benefits of our summer program are twofold: one, participants can learn the joys of riding a bike, which can lead to increased self-esteem and confidence; and two, Marshall students who volunteer as spotters for the riders get to see firsthand the important role of physical activity in human well-being and culture," said Twietmeyer, an associate professor in the College of Health Professions.
Twietmeyer said the college's School of Kinesiology is honored to host the Lose the Training Wheels Camp for the fifth summer in a row.
"We're hoping to have the maximum 35 riders this year.  The more riders enrolled the more people we can help discover the joys of riding a bike," Twietmeyer said.
iCanShine is a national organization that works with local organizations to host camps in individual communities. Staff members travel the country conducting the camps, and have an average success rate of more than 80 percent. Participants attend one 75-minute session each day for five consecutive days.
To be eligible to register for the camp, participants must be at least 8 years old and have a diagnosed disability. They must have a minimum inseam of 20 inches, weigh less than 220 pounds and be able to walk without assistive devices. Teens and adults may participate as well.
The registration fee is $100, but scholarships are available. For more information on registration or volunteering, visit For more information on Marshall's School of Kinesiology, visit online.
For more information on the camp or to inquire about scholarships, contact Twietmeyer at or call 304-696-2938.
Individuals interested in helping to defray the costs of the camp through financial donations may contact Rick Robinson, Director of Development with the Marshall University College of Health Professions, at 304-696-7081.
Photos: (Above) Leon Hart (left) of Ashland, Ky., has volunteered for the Lose the Training Wheels summer camp since 2010. Hart is shown working with 11-year old Abbi Lockard (right) as she learns to ride her bicycle on her own during the 2014 LTTW program. (Below) Marshall staff member, Megan Archer (far right) poses for a photo with other camp volunteers after 10-year old Garrett Howard (center) received his camp medal during the 2014 Lose the Training Wheels Camp. For more information on this year's camp, visit

Direct Link to This Release
Tuesday June 30, 2015
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Statement on the death of Bob Brammer

Marshall University Interim President Gary G. White issued the following statement today:

The tragic death of Bob Brammer this past weekend stunned the Marshall University family. Bob was a loyal supporter of the Yeager Scholars program, having served on its board of directors for many years, and currently was serving as vice president.

He was a quiet, modest, giving man, and he loved the Yeager program and Marshall University.

The Marshall family extends thoughts and prayers to the Brammer family during this incredibly sad time. Bob left us much too soon, and he certainly will be missed.

Direct Link to This Release
Monday June 29, 2015
Contact: Sheanna M. Spence, Asst. Director of Alumni Affairs & Community Relations/School of Medicine, (304) 691-1639

Colorado doctor establishes Marshall endowment for addiction research

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Robert W. Schrier, M.D., and Barbara L. Schrier of Englewood, Colo., have established a research endowment with the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine to study the effects of drugs on infants.
Schrier, professor emeritus of medicine and former chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine for 26 years and head of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension for 20 years, delivered the keynote address at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine's graduation and investiture ceremony on May 8.
"The Schriers enjoyed their visit to Huntington, but were so discouraged by the infestation of drugs in our community that they felt compelled to help," said Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the Marshall School of Medicine and longtime friend and colleague of Schrier.
The Dr. Robert W. and Barbara L. Schrier Research Endowment  will support School of Medicine research in pediatrics, with an emphasis on, but not limited to, prenatal assessment of drug-addicted mothers, treatment modalities of the drug-exposed infant, long-term neurologic outcomes, postnatal parental interventions and institutional versus residential treatment.
Schrier is well-known for his research in acute kidney failure and other facets of kidney disease. He has authored more than 1,000 scientific papers and edited numerous books.  Marshall University recognized Schrier with an honorary doctor of science degree at the spring ceremony.
For more information or to make a gift to the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, please contact Linda Holmes at 304-691-1711 or go to 
Direct Link to This Release
Friday June 26, 2015
Contact: Mary Thomasson, Marshall University Forensic Science Center, 304-691-8961

Forensic Science Center director addresses W.Va. prosecutors with information on advances in DNA technology

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University Forensic Science Center Director Dr. Terry W. Fenger delivered a presentation to West Virginia prosecutors Thursday about the latest advances in DNA technologies to gain more data from evidence.

The West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute sponsored the annual 2015 Summer Meeting at the Stonewall Jackson Resort in Roanoke, W.Va., June 24-26. Prosecuting attorneys from around the state attended.

Fenger's presentation was titled, "Process Improvement in a Changing Landscape." It addressed the latest technologies and developments in the area of DNA analysis and its value as an investigative tool for criminal justice purposes.

"In support of the continuing education process, it is important to provide prosecutors with updates on new technological advances as well as how these advances relate to privacy issues," Fenger said.

"New technologies are still in the developmental stages and may allow DNA found at crime scenes to yield information on traits, revealing how the perpetrator looked in appearance, such as ethnicity and overall facial features."

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday June 25, 2015
Contact: Leah Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, 304-691-1713

New light-curable bone stabilization system used on first U.S. patients

Felix Cheung, M.D., and team utilize world's first minimally invasive, patient-conforming implant to treat impending humerus fractures

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.- The first two United States patients have been successfully treated with an innovative medical device through a clinical trial underway at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, in collaboration with the Marshall Clinical Research Center and Cabell Huntington Hospital.

The institutions are working in conjunction with IlluminOss Medical, a commercial-stage medical device company focused on minimally invasive orthopedic fracture repair, as part of its U.S. Lightfix clinical trial for the treatment of impending and pathologic fractures in the humerus due to metastatic carcinoma.

The surgeries were performed by Felix Cheung, M.D., associate professor and chief of the division of orthopaedic oncology at the School of Medicine.  Cheung is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in tumors of the musculoskeletal system and joint replacement surgery.

Gene DiPoto, senior vice president of research and development at IlluminOss Medical, worked closely with Cheung and his team to facilitate the successful surgeries.  Assisting Cheung was Franklin D. Shuler, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and vice chair of research in the department of orthopaedic surgery.

"We are excited for the opportunity to be the first clinical site in the U.S. to apply IlluminOss' technology to the treatment of a patient with a complex fracture and the results have been remarkable," said Cheung. "The patients were completely stable following the procedure and reported little to no discomfort. Having seen firsthand how effective the IlluminOss System is, I believe the benefits it provides to both the surgeon and the patient have the potential to make it a true game-changer in the way fracture repair can be approached."

Both patients were diagnosed with metastatic cancer and had a pathologic fracture of the humerus.

The IlluminOss System has proven successful in the treatment of over a thousand patients in Europe, where it is commercially available and has been in clinical use since 2010.  Benefits observed from the use of the IlluminOss product in patients include smaller incisions, shorter procedure times, and more rapid post-procedure patient mobility with reduced hospital stays and lower complication rates. Once cured, the implant provides longitudinal strength and rotational stability over the length of the implant and the small diameter of the flexible catheter gives the surgeon greater freedom of surgical approach. In many cases it allows the patient to get back to daily activities more quickly without the hindrance of a hard cast.

"We have had tremendously successful results treating complex fractures with the IlluminOss System internationally and are excited to now begin applying it to the treatment of patients with impending and pathologic fractures in our first U.S. trial," said Robert Rabiner, president of IlluminOss Medical. "The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is renowned for its commitment to providing excellence in both medical education and patient care and we are appreciative for the opportunity to work with such a well-respected team - led by Dr. Cheung - to help validate the effectiveness of our technology in the U.S."

This clinical trial is underway at surgical centers across the country and is currently enrolling patients.  For additional information, please refer to NCT 02338492

Direct Link to This Release
Wednesday June 24, 2015
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Board of Governors approves budget, sets tuition and fees

Millions in savings identified through Marshall 20/20 initiative
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University Board of Governors Wednesday afternoon approved the institution's operating budget for fiscal year 2016 and set new tuition and fees.
The budget includes a tuition and fee increase of approximately three to four percent, depending on a student's class and residency.
Interim President Gary G. White said he was pleased to present the board a balanced budget, particularly in the face of several straight years of declining state funding.
"When you compare our tuition and fees with those of other state institutions and our peers across the country, Marshall University remains one of the very best values in higher education and we are positioned to be extremely competitive in the market this fall and beyond. By really rolling up our sleeves, we balanced the operating budget and will have only what I would term a reasonable, inflationary tuition increase," White said. "Nobody likes to raise tuition but, just like a household, the university's utilities and other fixed costs continue to climb every year. The face of public higher education funding is changing not only in our state but across the nation, and we are doing everything we can to keep expenses as low as possible and to increase other revenue streams so students and families are not unduly burdened."
White pointed out that the budget approved by the board today sets aside an additional $1 million to provide scholarship assistance to students, and noted that the Marshall University Foundation Inc. also provides another $3 million in private support for scholarships each year.
In another effort to help offset increasing costs to students, White last week announced at his State of the University address in Washington, D.C., that Marshall and the Marshall University Foundation Inc. are teaming up for a Strategic Scholarship Growth Initiative focused on raising money to fund more scholarships.
"We are wholly cognizant of the challenges our families face in financing their educations, and are dedicated to continuing to find ways to help them meet those challenges," he added.
Beginning in the fall, tuition and fees for full-time resident undergraduate students will increase $144 per semester. Undergraduate students who live in the metro counties* of Kentucky and Ohio will pay $226 more, while non-resident undergraduate students will pay $288 more. Tuition for most resident graduate students will go up $101 per semester, with metro graduate students paying $177 more and non-resident graduate students paying $250 more.
In accordance with a simplified fee structure approved by the board at its April meeting, most course and lab fees, as well as all off-campus and regional campus fees have been eliminated. Instead, additional college and/or program fees will be assessed based on the college in which a student's major is housed and his or her specific program of study. Some program fees will not apply until after a student's freshman year, when he or she is accepted into a specific program.
Full-time distance learning students, who previously paid a flat per credit hour rate plus course fees, will now pay a set tuition ($2,580 for undergraduates and $2,790 for graduate students) plus a $40 per credit hour e-delivery course fee.
Chief Financial Officer Mary Ellen Heuton emphasized that the change in fee structure was undertaken as part of an effort to revamp the university's budget model and to make it easier for students to understand their educational costs.
"Most importantly, this new fee schedule is more equitable and less complicated, so it's more transparent," she said. "We think it will help our students and their families plan for the cost of college because they will be better able to predict the amount they will pay. It also will allow them to quickly and easily compare the cost of a Marshall degree program with that of other higher education institutions."
Heuton said housing rates will increase about $95 per semester and board will go up approximately $50 per semester, depending on the housing and meal plans selected.
White credited the ongoing Marshall 20/20 strategic planning process for helping to balance the university's budget, saying teams from across the university have worked for more than a year to identify and implement opportunities to save money, identify new revenue sources and improve services.
"Thanks to the work of dozens of committed faculty and staff, these teams were able to identify $3.4 million in savings for the coming fiscal year alone," he said. "A parallel effort to analyze our management structure and lines of reporting will result in additional savings of more than $2.7 million over the next several years, largely through attrition and retirements, reassignments and efficiency improvements.
"With the projected savings identified by these teams, not only were we able to minimize the financial burden on our students and their families, we also will be able to avoid layoffs and furloughs this year, keep our commitment to salary increases for qualifying faculty and staff, and invest in strategic priorities--all without dipping into our reserves."
He continued, "As a university community, we collectively have recognized the changing nature of public higher education funding and have taken charge of our own destiny in the face of declining state funding. We are ahead of the curve in higher education across the country and are truly setting a state and national example."
White added that the Marshall 20/20 process will become part of the university's ongoing continuous improvement efforts, noting that to continue to prosper and serve students, Marshall will need to find ways to save millions of dollars each year for the foreseeable future.
"We have to constantly look for ways to become more efficient by doing what we do better, easier, cheaper and faster, so we can keep our costs as reasonable as possible for students and have funds to invest in university priorities," he said.
In other action at today's meeting, the board approved three new degree programs, including a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, a master of science in mechanical engineering and a master of science in biomechanics. The board also voted to eliminate the bachelor of business administration in risk management and insurance degree program due to lack of interest, and approved a capital expenditure projects list for 2016-21 as required by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
Michael McGuffey, director of institutional research and planning, gave the board an enrollment update for fall. He said it is too early to tell definitively but that new student enrollment is trending upward, including a nine percent jump in transfer students and a nearly six percent increase in new, full-time freshmen compared to the same time last spring.
The group also heard a report from Amy Saunders, director of student health education programs, regarding recommended updates to the university's vaccination policy for incoming students. A university committee is drafting a revised policy and will present it to the board for consideration at an upcoming meeting.
Marshall's new tuition and fee rates for fiscal year 2016 are available at  

*Metro tuition/fees apply to students who reside in Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pike or Scioto counties in Ohio, and Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Lawrence, Martin and Pike counties in Kentucky.
Direct Link to This Release
Tuesday June 23, 2015
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Laura Christopher named Marshall's Employee of the Year

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Laura Christopher, program coordinator with Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine's Office of Student Affairs, today was named Marshall's 2014-15 Employee of the Year at the 31st annual Service Awards Luncheon.

The luncheon, which honored employees who are celebrating milestones in years served at MU, took place in the Don Morris Room, located in the Memorial Student Center on the Huntington campus. About 450 people attended.

Christopher has been employed at Marshall for almost 10 years. She became eligible for Employee of the Year by being named Employee of the Month for December 2014. She was nominated for the monthly honor by Amy Smith, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Clinical Skills for the School of Medicine, and medical students Aaron Dom and Jonathan Seibert, who nominated her on behalf of the MUSOM Class of 2015.

Interim Marshall President Gary White announced Christopher's selection as Employee of the Year.

"This year's Employee of the Year is a lady who I met for the first time when I gave her the (Employee of the Month) award," White said. "As soon as I met her, as soon as I felt the atmosphere in the room when I was there to make the presentation, I certainly understood what I had read about her, and agreed with everything that had been said."

White described Christopher as "an outstanding professional in her job," and he praised her family for its support of her and involvement "in whatever activity" she is involved in.

Christopher said, "I'm just very lucky that I see our students (from) day one, and I'm just very lucky that I get to see them for four years. Knowing that I might play a little part in them becoming the good doctors that they've become is very humbling to me. I'm very proud to say that my doctor, my husband's doctor and my children's doctor are all School of Medicine graduates and I'd have it no other way."

In her nomination, Smith wrote, "Mrs. Christopher is the stable force and support for student affairs in the School of Medicine.� Her outstanding performance on many large projects � often goes unnoticed.� However, her daily efforts and interactions with students and families go beyond the call of duty � she rises to the top by demonstrating dedication and attentiveness to many details involving the lives of medical students. She often involves her own family in going the extra mile by attending off-hours functions �. or serving holiday breakfasts on the weekends.

"Her infectious laugh and smile bring a positive impact on those around her. Her support, dedication, and loyalty to her role are indescribable.� She is dependable and willing to step up and help whatever the needs may be."

Photo: Laura Christopher, left, expresses her joy after Marshall Interim President Gary White, right, announced her as Marshall's Employee of the Year.

Direct Link to This Release
Tuesday June 23, 2015
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall to host Olympic-style opening ceremony for soccer championships

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University will host an Olympic-style opening ceremony Thursday, June 25, for the U.S. Youth Soccer Region I Championships that get underway Friday at the Barboursville Soccer Complex and on fields in Huntington.

The festive opening ceremony will take place at Marshall's Joan C. Edwards Stadium on the Huntington campus, beginning at 3:45 p.m., when the Team Fastrax Professional Skydiving Team parachutes into the stadium.

Gates open to the public at 2 p.m. and admission is free. Free parking will be available on all Marshall University surface lots.

Pre-opening ceremony activities at the stadium are planned as well. From 2 to 3 p.m. near Gate B at the stadium, Marco - the Marshall mascot - will be available for photos with the athletes or members of their families. Crossbar competition starts at 3 p.m., a tug of war among mascots and coaches begins at 3:20 p.m., and a five-on-five soccer game featuring the mascots starts at 3:30 p.m.

Approximately 5,000 soccer players, ages 11-18, will participate in the tournament and the Olympic-style parade, which is expected to last about an hour. The players, who will make up about 260 boys' and girls' teams, will first be seated in designated areas and will then parade onto the field beginning at 4:14 p.m.

The official start of the ceremony is right after the skydivers complete their jumps. At that time West Virginia Soccer Association President Len Rogers will deliver greetings to a crowd that is expected to number around 20,000. The singing and playing of the National Anthem follows, and then West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will greet the crowd.

Natalie Schwoeble, U.S. Youth Soccer Region 1 director, will bring greetings as well.

Marshall, in addition to serving as host of the opening ceremony, is providing housing for players, their families, guests and referees in several residence halls, including Twin Towers, Buskirk Hall, all four of the Marshall Commons halls and the First Year Freshman North hall.

Many of Marshall's dining facilities, including Starbucks, will be open at selected times throughout the tournament. For the exact hours of service, visit

"Our Marshall University soccer committee has been working very hard to make sure that their stay is welcoming, positive and memorable," said William "Tootie" Carter, Memorial Student Center business manager.

The states represented at the tournament are Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia. Hotels are expected to be filled from Ashland, Ky., and Ironton, Ohio, to Charleston.

This tournament was last held here in 2009 and 2010. The official economic impact on the area in 2009 reportedly was $12.1 million.

Some of the games will be played at the Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex, home of Marshall's men's and women's teams. Carter said representatives from the Office of Recruitment and the Marshall Bookstore will be on hand during those games. The bookstore will be open on campus every day except Sunday during the tournament.

Direct Link to This Release
Friday June 19, 2015
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

PR students receive 13 state and regional awards for campaigns work

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Identifying, establishing and maintaining mutually-beneficial relationships with the strongest of ethics, between an organization and its publics on whom its success or failure depends, is the focus of public relations. Two Marshall University public relations classes scored big on those efforts this week for their work on campaigns for two area nonprofit organizations.

Public relations students in the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall won 13 state and regional awards at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)-West Virginia chapter awards held Wednesday, June 17, in the Culture Center at the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston.

The PRSA-East Central District awarded the 2013 Marshall public relations campaign management class Shaver Media Group with its 2014 Diamond Award a first-place award for the students' work on the "Questions" campaign for River Valley Child Development Services, a Huntington early-childhood education nonprofit organization.

Dr. Terry L. Hapney Jr., associate professor of public relations at Marshall, said the award recognizes the top public relations campaigns in a six-state region, which includes West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

"There were only three organizations in West Virginia to attain the prestigious Diamond Award honors," Hapney said. "The other two were professional organizations at the regional and state levels, including a state agency. The fact that my students attained such a level of excellence speaks volumes to the quality of their work as public relations practitioners."

Hapney said his 2013 students also received the 2014 PRSA-East Central District Merit Award for the "Marshall University Living-Learning Communities" campaign for the Department of Housing and Residence Life at Marshal. The students' work on the "MU LLC Smartphone Application" earned them the award, Hapney said. In the same campaign, the students' work earned the "Internal Communications" Merit Award.

In addition, the West Virginia chapter of PRSA recognized two classes of Hapney's 2014 students with Crystal Awards as follows:

  • Crystal Award (first place) for a news release for the River Valley Child Development Services "Questions Trivia" campaign;
  • Crystal Award (first place) for a brochure for the River Valley Child Development Services "Questions Trivia" campaign; and
  • Crystal Award (first place) for the use of social media in the "Herd for Hoops" Campaign, benefitting the Hoops Family Children's Hospital and recognizing Public Relations Student Society of America Marshall University chapter's 35th anniversary on the university's Huntington campus.
PRSA-West Virginia also awarded seven honorable mentions to the Marshall public relations students in the following categories:
  • External Communications Campaign for "Herd for Hoops";
  • Single Issue Publication for "Herd for Hoops" gala program;
  • Invitations for the "Herd for Hoops" gala invitation;
  • Brochures for PRSSA-MU meetings flier;
  • Logo for PRSSA-MU "Herd for Hoops" logo;
  • Single Issue Publication for River Valley Child Development Services "Questions Trivia Night" event program; and
  • News Release for the River Valley Child Development Services "Questions Campaign Turkey Bowling" event.

Hapney said what's remarkable about these awards is the fact that they are judged using the same criteria as those entered by professional public relations firms, state agencies, corporations, nonprofits and other organizations. He said that awards are not given in each category unless the work reaches a certain level, in terms of point value.

Marshall University's offices of Recruitment and University Communications also received Crystal Awards from the West Virginia PRSA chapter, in the following categories:

  • Community Relations Campaign for "Herd Holiday;"
  • Direct Mail for "Best. Decision. Ever." fold-out recruitment piece;
  • Brochure for "Block M recruitment piece;" and
  • Video Commercial for "2014 Institutional Spot."

The university received honorable mentions for the 2015 Winter issue of Marshall Magazine and for a program of student-run social media accounts.

"This is not a student or university awards competition," Hapney said. "This is the public relations discipline's professional and scholarly body. To receive this level of recognition is amazing, to say the least."

"I think the student work honored here tonight speaks well of the quality and dedication of our educators and programs at each of our colleges and universities," said Diane Slaughter, executive director of the West Virginia chapter and East Central District of PRSA. "As a Marshall University graduate, I am especially proud of the students, faculty and staff for exhibiting the highest levels of quality and professionalism in public relations."

Amber Payne of the Marshall University Forensic Science Program, a 2014 graduate of Marshall's public relations academic program and a former student in the 2014 class that carried out the campaign for Hoops Family Children's Hospital and PRSSA-MU, said she is honored the campaign won the awards.

"Creating a campaign from scratch and attaining the goal we set was amazing, but winning awards is the cherry on top," Payne said. "The class has definitely helped me in my career."

Miranda Eaves, event planner for the Big Sandy Superstore Arena and a 2014 graduate, was co-director of the student public relations firm Shaver Media Group that carried out the 2014 "Questions Trivia" campaign for River Valley Child Development Services. Eaves said being a part of the campaign gave her valuable leadership skills she uses in her job every day.

"It taught me how to stay organized while working on several projects," Eaves said. "I'm very proud of our group for winning several awards. It shows we can do whatever we set our minds to, no matter how crazy the idea may sound!"

Hapney said he is very proud of the students and alumni in Marshall's public relations academic program. To date, the program was honored with 40 state and regional awards from PRSA-WV and PRSA-ECD since 2009. His students have raised nearly $80,000 for local nonprofit causes since then, as well.

"The awards are great," Hapney said. "However, the feedback is even more important. It allows me to see what our program is doing well and any areas in which we need to further strengthen it. It is a major honor for PRSA to recognize my students' work in the manner in which the state and regional bodies did this year."


Photo: From left,  Dr. Terry Hapney, associate professor of public relations at Marshall University, and three alumni from Marshall's public relations academic program--Michael Circle, Amber Payne and Ashley Peach--hold the 13 awards the Public Relations Society of America-West Virginia and East Central District organizations awarded at this week's PRSA-WV Crystal Awards gala at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston. Since 2009, the professional and scholarly organizations have recognized Hapney's students with 40 awards for public relations campaigns and tactics produced in class for local and regional nonprofit causes.

Direct Link to This Release
Thursday June 18, 2015
Contact: Mary Thomasson, Marshall University Forensic Science Center, 304-691-8961

Forensic Science Center DNA analyst delivers training on DNA's role in sexual assault investigations

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University Forensic Science Center DNA Analyst Misty Marra is passionate about providing training and education to professionals who are involved with responding to sexual assault crimes.

A graduate of Marshall's Forensic Science Graduate Program, Marra has been involved with the MU Forensic Science Center's sexual assault initiative since it began in 2001. The center began hosting adult and pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) trainings more than 10 years ago for nurses in West Virginia and later expanded the offering to nurses around the United States. Marra presents a segment about DNA at these trainings.�

Marshall's center also is the host facility for monthly meetings for the Cabell County Sexual Assault Response Team, of which Marra is a member. She also is a member of the West Virginia SANE Advisory Board.

A Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a group of professionals who coordinate high-quality, victim-centered response to sexual violence in the local community. Teams may include SANEs, physicians and other medical personnel, victim advocates, members of law enforcement, prosecutors and crime lab specialists.

Marra expanded her outreach efforts outside of her position at MUFSC in 2013 by using her expertise as a forensic DNA analyst to serve in the role of faculty in the SANE-SART On-line + Clinical Program, delivering training nationwide and internationally.

As part of this program, she has taken the message to Puerto Rico, Japan, El Paso and San Antonio, Texas, Seattle, Washington, and Louisville, Kentucky.

"I want members of [the Sexual Assault Response Team] to understand and be informed about what a crime lab can do for them and the role DNA can play in a sexual assault investigation," she said.

Marra recently received a certificate of appreciation from personnel at the U.S. Army's Fort Buchanan military base in Puerto Rico. The community expressed appreciation and gratitude for her dedication to assist victims of violent crime and for her support of their Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.

The SANE-SART On-line + Clinical Program, sponsored by SANE-SART Resource Service in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is an interactive online and on-site learning resource for professionals who respond to sexual assault, with SANEs being the primary focus.

Marra said she joined the program because of her long-term interaction with Linda Ledray, R.N., Ph.D., SANE-A, FAAN, who is the director of SANE-SART Resource Service. Ledray is a nationally renowned expert who conducted several SANE trainings at Marshall's Forensic Science Center.

Marra is part of a team of subject-matter experts who provide training to SANEs and members of SART participating in the SANE-SART On-line + Clinical Program.

The SANE-SART On-line + Clinical Program provides an online webinar and on-site training. Marra delivers a segment, "DNA in the Crime Lab," for both components. During the webinar, Marra prepares participants for the on-site training with an in-depth lecture.

At a later date, the subject matter experts conduct a two-day on-site interactive scenario and mock trial in regional locations to accommodate attendees.

The first day of on-site training involves interaction among the participants, who are given roles for working a mock sexual assault case, start to finish. Marra plays the role of victim. The second day, Marra provides information about DNA and the crime lab's role in a sexual assault case.

At the Marshall center, Marra has analyzed approximately 500 forensic DNA cases, which have included homicides, sexual assaults and property crimes, as well as approximately 9,000 convicted offender samples.


Photo: Marshall University Forensic DNA Analyst Misty Marra delivers her "DNA in the Crime Lab" presentation in Japan.

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Thursday June 18, 2015
Contact: Megan Archer, College of Health Professions, 304-488-8863

Faculty member to train hammer throw athletes for 2015 IAAF Track and Field World Championships

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Suzanne Konz of the Marshall University College of Health Professions will travel to Chiba, Japan, in August to train hammer throw athletes for the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federation Track and Field World Championships.

Konz, an associate professor and director of the college's biomechanics lab, said although she's worked with USA Track and Field since 2003, this is her first invitation to cover training camp for the World Championships.

"I will work with six athletes, three men and three women, during the training camp. Many people don't appreciate the amazing athleticism of a hammer thrower - it is amazing how fast they move while throwing a heavy ball on a cable," Konz said. "The Olympics are coming up next year, so they want to build a lot of momentum and to have success at Worlds."

Dr. Iain Hunter, a professor at Brigham Young University with a research focus on track and field mechanics, served as Konz's advisor at BYU when she was a doctoral student. Hunter said Konz has a great interest in sport biomechanics and has had opportunities to work with some of the best biomechanics professors in the U.S. with her USA Track and Field connections.

"Dr. Konz has earned the respect of many of the best throwers in the U.S.," Hunter said.� "She is well-respected with her knowledge of technology and mechanics.� This has placed her in a position to work with many elite athletes and coaches across the country."

Helping these athletes achieve their best performance is the most exciting part of this experience, according to Konz.

"My work only impacts such a small subset of the athletic population with what I do, but it's still a pretty cool feeling," Konz said. "Growing up in a small farming community with a population of 200, I never thought I would be traveling the globe to work with world-class athletes on their craft.� This has been an amazing, if not surreal, experience for me and I am forever grateful for the opportunity."

Konz will arrive in Japan for the training camp on Aug. 11 and return to the U.S. before the 2015 World Championships take place in Beijing, China, Aug. 22-30.

To learn more about Konz's work with USA Track and Field and the upcoming World Championships, contact her at or by calling 304-696-2926.� To learn more about the 2015 IAAF World Championships, visit For more information about Marshall University's Department of Biomechanics, visit online.


Photos: Dr. Suzanne Konz, biomechanics professor within the Marshall College of Health Professions, is shown working with student athlete Bethany Drury on her hammer throw technique. Konz will attend the training camp in Chiba, Japan, for the 2015 IAAF World Championships later this summer.

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Wednesday June 17, 2015
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

College of Science dean appointed to Environmental Advisory Board

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Charles C. "Chuck" Somerville, a professor of biological sciences and dean of the Marshall University College of Science, has been appointed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board (EAB), Rollin Hotchkiss, chair of the board, has announced.

The advisory board was created by the Chief of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Frederick J. Clarke, in 1970, as a means for the chief to gain outside, expert and independent advice on environmental issues facing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Board membership consists of 5-10 people. Selected members are eminent authorities in the field of natural, social and related sciences. They also are multidisciplinary, with an equitable distribution of fields of interest as well as geographical location.

"I am delighted to be selected as a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board," Somerville said. "I have had a chance to meet with the other board members, and they are all highly qualified and accomplished people.� I am honored to have the opportunity to serve with them, and I am excited to dig into the work of the board, and to do what I can to contribute to the missions of the EAB and the Corps."

Somerville said he was nominated by a person he works with in the Louisville Corps of Engineers, even though he did not seek the nomination.

"When the Louisville District office became aware that there were openings on the board, they asked me if I would be interested in serving, and I said that it would be an honor to serve if I was nominated and selected," he said. "I did submit a vitae and biography, and I assume that they reviewed those and found me to be qualified."

Somerville joined the Marshall faculty in 1997 as an assistant professor of biological sciences, where he studied the biodegradation of chlorinated solvents in mixed wastes, and microbial community dynamics in large river systems.

He served as head of the Division of Biological Sciences from 2005 to 2009, and has been dean of the College of Science since 2009.� In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.

Somerville has served as the Marshall University Trustee to the Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research & Education (ORBCRE) since 1998, and is currently a member of the ORBCRE Executive Committee. He also serves as a member of the West Virginia Science & Research Council, the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board, the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium Board of Directors, and the Marshall University Research Corporation Board of Directors.

Somerville also has been a member of the Steering Committee for the Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA) since 2010, and is currently serving as the Chair of the ORBA Steering Committee, and as the ORBA representative to the Steering Committee of America's Watershed Initiative (AWI).

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Wednesday June 17, 2015
Contact: Beth Caruthers, College of Arts and Media, 304-696-3296

College of Arts and Media announces Distinguished Professors lineup for fall

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - What do a mixed media artist, a flute and guitar duo and a costume designer have in common? Yes, they're all artists, and in this case, they're the professions of the Marshall University College of Arts and Media's fall 2015 Joan C. Edwards Distinguished Professors in the Arts.

Anila Agha

Mixed media artist and Lahore, Pakistan, native Anila Agha will be the fall's featured artist at the Visual Arts Center Gallery. Her work can be seen free of charge weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from Monday, Aug. 24, through Wednesday, Oct. 28. An artist reception is set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in the gallery, and she will provide an artist's lecture at 5:30 p.m. in Room 209. 

Agha's award-winning artwork explores global politics, cultural multiplicity, mass media, and social and gender roles in our current cultural and global scenario. As a result, she says her artwork is conceptually challenging, producing complicated weaves of thought, artistic action and social experience.

Agha was the 2014 winner of Public and Juried Grand Prizes in the ArtPrize program in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is currently associate professor of drawing at Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. Her work can be seen at

Duo Savoyard

Composed of two northern Italian musicians, flutist Paolo Dalmoro and guitarist Giorgio Signorile, Duo Savoyard will take Huntington by storm in August. Hear the duo perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Smith Recital Hall on Marshall's Huntington campus. Marshall music faculty members Wendell Dobbs and Julio Alves, as well as student performers, will join the duo. Duo Savoyard will also perform at noon Friday, Aug. 28, at First Presbyterian Church in Huntington in the Music Alive series.

Paolo Dalmoro received his artist's diploma with highest honors from the Turin Conservatory. In 1987, he won the Lessona prize, awarded for most accomplished wind instrument graduate. He has performed in many cities in Italy and abroad including Sofia, Wolfsburg, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Cologne and Dusseldorf.

Dalmoro has taught flute at the conservatories in Turin and Benevento and is currently at Saluzzo. In 1996, he became artistic director of the Opera Munifica of Turin, where he also organizes musical events for young musicians.

Born in 1962 in Cuneo, Giorgio Signorile studied guitar at the local conservatory and graduated with honors in 1986. He subsequently worked with Betho Davezac and Leo Brouwer and started appearing as a soloist and in chamber music groups. During this period he was particularly dedicated to contemporary music, performing with L'Assieme Chitarristico Italiano and recording two CDs on the Dynamic e l'Olandese Etcetera label.

Several well-known artists and ensembles, including Giulio Tampalini, Lucio Matarazzo and Giorgio Mirto, have performed his work in recent times. Since 2013 he has served as an official endorser for Aquila Strings Harmonicas.

Annie O. Cleveland, costume designer

In addition to student-only workshops and master classes, costume designer Annie O. Cleveland will speak at a public lecture in mid-October.

Cleveland was a tenured associate professor and the resident costume designer for the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Colorado State University for 17 years before relocating to the Los Angeles area, where she has taught and designed productions at California State University Northridge.

In 2009, Cleveland received a Fulbright grant to teach computer-aided costume design at National Taiwan University. She has conducted digital design workshops across the United States and presented her work in Curitiba, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Pilansburg, South Africa. Learn more about Cleveland's work at

About the Endowment:

In 1992, Joan C. Edwards established the Joan C. Edwards Distinguished Professors in the Arts Endowment to enable the then College of Fine Arts to bring to the Huntington campus preeminent arts educators in an effort to enhance learning opportunities for students, staff, faculty and the community.

For more information about the Joan C. Edwards Distinguished Professors in the Arts, please visit

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