A prominent state newspaper publisher and philanthropist and three retired West Virginia University administrators whose contributions to student life, special events and creative arts education are well known will be inducted into WVU s Order of Vandalia during May 19 Commencement activities.
The 2002 inductees are: M. Dee Brown, retired assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement; Philip J. Faini, retired dean emeritus of the College of Creative Arts; Gordon R. Thorn, retired assistant vice president for Student Affairs; and G. Ogden Nutting, publisher of Ogden Newspapers Inc.
The Order of Vandalia is reserved for those who have demonstrated extraordinary service, loyalty and dedication to the University, said WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr., who called this years honorees”among our valued state treasures whose enthusiasm, devotion and spirit has never wavered over the years.”
Charleston native and Fairlea resident M. Dee Brown is a 1960 WVU sociology graduate who spent her early career as a public school teacher in Roane County. She also served in state and federal government roles, including district representative for former Congressman Cleve Benedict.
She joined WVU s Office of Institutional Advancement in 1985, overseeing and coordinating University events and ceremonies such as commencement, academic convocations, Parents Weekend, Weekend of Honors, WVU Days, presidential inaugurations and post season Bowl activities, among others. She also oversaw WVU s Trademark Licensing Program and Student Legislative Intern Program and chaired WVU s United Way campaign steering committee.
She retired from WVU in 1997 and is now president of the Westminster Foundation of WV Inc., a campus ministry that serves students, faculty and staff on five West Virginia college campuses, including WVU .
A true public servant, Brown also serves on the Board of Directors of Greenbrier Valley Theatre, forging a strong working relationship with the College of Creative Arts and coordinating a successful capital campaign that will allow for a year-round home for the theater company. She also helped form a WVU alumni chapter in the Greenbrier Valley and was an advisor to Chi Omega Sorority WVU Theta Chapterfor many years.
Awards and honors include Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of 2001 by the West Virginia Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the 2001 James R. McCartney Award for outstanding citizenship and community service.
She is married to Don Brown, also a WVU graduate, and they are the parents of three grown children and seven grandchildren.
Morgantown resident Philip J. Faini , retired dean emeritus of the College of Creative Arts, served WVU for 39 yearsfirst as a faculty member in 1961, then as assistant dean, followed by interim dean and finally as dean from 1993 until his retirement in 2000.
He received his bachelor’s degree in music in 1959 and a master’s in music in 1965, both from WVU .
He was named an outstanding teacher four times, and is perhaps best known for creating the WVU Percussion Ensemble that has toured West Virginia, the United States and several other nations to unanimous acclaim.
He is also well known for creating a World Music Center at WVU and developing exchanges with Africa, China and several Caribbean countries.
He has brought world famous artists into residence at the CCA , including Ellie Mannette, inventor of the modern steel drum. And, through effective fund raising, he regenerated a development program that has led to major funding sources for the college.
He has also provided important leadership for the Clay Center for the Arts, now under construction in Charleston.
In his honor, an endowed deanship has been created along with a Visiting Artists Fund in his and his wife Jeannes honor.
Gordon R. Thorn retired as assistant vice president for Student Affairs in 1997 after 40 years of service to his alma mater. He received his bachelors degree in psychology in 1953 and a masters in 1955, both from WVU . He joined the University in 1957.
Except for two years in the Air Force and three years as director of the YMCA Camp Horseshoe program, Thorns career has been dedicated to improving student life at WVU whether that be in the area of financial aid, residential education, student organizations and programming, student facilities, freshman orientation or student health services.
He was the long-time advisor to Mountain Honorary, an organization that serves others and WVU through a strong union of students with personal integrity and school spirit. Each year, the group selects the Mountaineer mascot and, under Thorns guidance, was instrumental in placing a bronze Mountaineer statue in front of the Mountainlair in the 1970s.
Thorn has been awarded numerous honors, including being named 2001 Most Loyal (Staff) Mountaineer and capturing the Distinguished Service Award from the West Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators. He is a charter member of the WVU Student Affairs Hall of Fame and an honorary member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. He remains active in a number of community activities such as the WV-Ohio YMCA , Salvation Army and local scouting programs.
A native of Mullens, he resides in Morgantown with his wife, Martha Thorn, retired WVU physical education professor and womens tennis coach. They are the parents of three grown children and one granddaughter.
Wheeling resident G. Ogden Nutting , chairman of Ogden Newspapers Inc., got his start in the newspaper business in 1956 as a reporter and news editor for The Martinsburg Journal and later as a reporter and copy desk editor with the Wheeling News-Register. He became general manager of the Ogden newspaper chain in 1968 and president and publisher in 1970.
The company, headquartered in Wheeling, currently owns seven daily newspapers and two weeklies in West Virginia and 29 other daily papers in 10 states.
The company was founded by Ogdens late grandfather, H.C. Ogden, in 1891, and Nuttings sons, Robert and William, are the fourth generation of the family to direct and manage West Virginias largest newspaper company.
Nutting has long been associated with WVU . He is currently a member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors where he serves on the National Campaign Committee of the”Building Greatness”capital campaign effort. He also served on the board in the 1960s.
He is a former member of the P.I. Reed School of Journalism Visiting Committee, and with his family continues to support the school in many wayscreating endowed scholarships for juniors and seniors studying print media; establishing a library endowment fund; and initiating a visiting professorship currently held by George Esper, retired Associated Press special correspondent.
In 1996 he was recognized for his exceptional service to WVU with the Most Loyal West Virginian Award, and also received the WVU Distinguished Service Award in 1998 for leadership in the state and nation. In 2000, he received the first Paul A. Atkins”Friend of the (Journalism) School”award.
He is active in national and state newspaper and journalism associations, including the Southern Newspaper PublishersAssociation, the American Newspaper PublishersAssociation and the West Virginia Press Associationwhich named him a life member in 1994 in appreciation for his many years of outstanding service.
He is part owner and a director of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He serves on the boards of United Bankshares, Bethany College, Linsly School, Wheeling Park Commission and the Stone Foundation.
He is a 1956 magna cum laude graduate of Williams College with a degree in history.
He is married to Betty Woods”Snookie”Nutting.