From the West Virginia coalfields to the state judiciary, Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Irene Berger has undertaken life’s challenges deliberately while learning from each of them. During the May meeting of the WVU Alumni Association’s board of directors, Judge Berger was elected the 102nd president of the board making her the first person of color to serve in this role. Three new members were also elected to five-year terms.
Judge Berger received an undergraduate degree in mathematics from WVU in 1976 and a law degree from WVU in 1979.
A native of McDowell County, she is the youngest of nine children and the first in her family to attend college. She learned the art of pioneering as a child when she and two friends desegregated their elementary school. In 1994, she became the first African American woman to be appointed circuit court judge in West Virginiaan honor bestowed upon her by former Gov. Gaston Caperton.
As president of the WVU Alumni Association, Judge Berger plans to give special attention to issues of alumni governance, new facilities and diversity.
“These are important issues that we are dealing with and I hope that the board can continue to move forward in these areas,”she explained.
Judge Berger succeeds Glen Adrian. Under his leadership the Association made substantial progress in the areas of facilities and fiscal planning as well as legislative advocacy.
“Many of us didn’t understand how to get involved in writing and communicating with our legislators on behalf of the University. With Glen’s leadership, we now have a network in place to get this done,”explained Steve Douglas, CEO of the Alumni Association.
Douglas added,”We are fortunate to have leaders like Judge Berger and our past presidents who are willing to volunteer their time and energy for the alumni association. It is a very demanding commitment to serve as president or board member, and our 26,000 members benefit immensely from the level of expertise these leaders bring.”
The new members elected to the board include: C. Michael Fulton (B.S.,79), National Capital Area District; Dr. Sheila Price (D.D.S’86, M.A.’89, Ed.D.’96), Multi-cultural representative; Dr. Joy Faini Saab (B.A.’78, M.A.’82, Ed.D.’87) Morgantown District, associate professor in the WVU College of Human Resources and Education; and Douglas R. Van Scoy (B.A.’66, M.S.’68) Southeast U.S. District, retired executive vice president of Salomon Smith Barney in New York, NY.
Michael Fulton is past president of the National Capital Area Chapter of the WVU Alumni Association (Metro Washington, D.C.). He serves as chair of the WVU Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism Visiting Committee, and also serves on the Board of American League of Lobbyists. He joined Golin Harris in 1988 after working 10 years on Capitol Hill.
While in Washington, Fulton worked for two members of Congress as associate counsel, press secretary and projects assistant to the House Appropriations Committee. He played an instrumental role in the federal funding of numerous projects to promote economic development. Since his federal government service, the U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized him twice for his business development contributions.
During his 15 years at Golin Harris, he has assisted companies, academic institutions, hospitals and associations plan and achieve government relations goals. He has utilized grassroots campaigns, media relations, survey research, creative events and videos to achieve successful results for his clients.
A native of Parkersburg, Fulton received an Associate in Arts degree from WVU at Parkersburg before attending the Morgantown campus of WVU . He served as editor of The Daily Athenaeum from 1978-79 and also worked at the Parkersburg Sentinel for two summers. He has worked tirelessly for WVU and has spent hundreds of hours helping fellow alumni get jobs in the nation’s capital and in other areas.
Dr. Sheila Price is the assistant dean for admissions and student affairs and professor of diagnostic sciences at the WVU School of Dentistry. Dr. Price supervises pre-doctoral and post-graduate admissions and dental student services.
She is a native of Boone County, and is committed to rural health issues. Dr. Price directs the WVU School of Dentistry’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pipeline Project. This $1.3 million initiative addresses oral health disparities in the mountain state. Among its expanded community-based dental education efforts, the project focuses on dental student recruitment activities that target under represented minority and low-income West Virginia students.
Dr. Price has been active in dental education initiatives nationally, and currently serves on the American Dental Education Association Minority Affairs Advisory Committee. She has been a fellow in the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program and a Pew National Dental Education Leadership Fellow.
Dr. Joy Faini Saab is an associate professor in the WVU College of Human Resources and Education. She specializes in creative arts and early childhood education. Her expertise in this area has distinguished her as a notable and much sought after presenter at educational conferences throughout the United States. She has published extensively in professional journals such as Dimensions of Early Childhood, and Young Children.
The College of Human Resources and Education honored Dr. Saab with the 2002 Outstanding Teacher Award, and she was recognized as an Outstanding Young Woman of America in 1984. Her hard work and guidance has resulted in thousands of dollars in grants being award to numerous worthy causes. She helped secure $300,000 in grants from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for the WV Process Education Network.
She is a member of several organizations such as Delta Kappa Gamma, the International Education Honorary, the American Educational Research Association and the Association for Childhood Education International among others.
Douglas Van Scoy spent much of his professional life on Wall Street. After 27 years of service, he retired as senior executive vice president of Smith Barney in 2001. In that position he served as deputy director of private client business. His lasting commitment to West Virginia University is exemplary as evident in the Kennedy-Van Scoy Faculty Support Fund. This $500,000 endowment for the WVU College of Business and Economics provides discretionary funds to recruit, retain and develop faculty.
Van Scoy has also endowed two athletic scholarships at WVU , helping the University attract some of the country’s best student-athletes. He co-founded the $50,000 Dale Ramsburg Memorial Baseball Scholarship, and also endowed the Douglas R. and Pamela S. Van Scoy Athletic Scholarship.
He is past chairman of the board of the Galloway School in Atlanta, Ga., and past president of the Georgia Securities Dealers. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of Richmond.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome these loyal alums to our board,”explained Steve Douglas.”They give tirelessly of their time and talents, and we are sure to benefit from their expertise.”
Each of the new board members will serve five-year terms. The person from their class elected as president will serve an additional year.