Media Advisory: WVU's Commencement set for May 16

May 10th, 2004

Pomp and circumstanceand celebritywill mark West Virginia University’s 135th Commencement at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 16, at the WVU Coliseum.

An estimated 3,000 graduates and their gueststotaling some 12,000are expected to welcome actor, writer and producer David Selby and former NFL player Artie Owens, both WVU grads, to their old stomping grounds.

Selby, famous for his starring roles inFalcon CrestandDark Shadows,earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration (‘63) and a master of art’s degree (‘64) from the University.

On Sunday, the Morgantown native will address graduates and receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Owens, who received a bachelor of arts degree in education and child psychology in 1976, will don a cap and gown and march in the Commencement processionalan experience he missed because he was drafted by the NFL . He is now a high school teacher and coach.

In addition to Selby, other honorary degree recipients include retired motor sports executive H. Leo Mehl and critically-acclaimed author Meredith Sue Willis.

WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. will preside over the ceremony and honor Eugene L. Staples, the first administrator of WVU Hospitals and a national leader in health care and medical education, with the President’s Distinguished Service Award.

Other dignitaries in Sunday’s Commencement program include Kay Huffman Goodwin, cabinet secretary of education and the arts, who will offer remarks on behalf of the state of West Virginia; and Charlie Battleson, 2003-04 Student Government Association president, who will address the Class of 2004.

Keeping a close connection with WVU after graduation, Battleson said, is one common theme of his speech.

Many students have made some great memories at WVU , but it is my opinion that the best memories are yet to be made,he added.

Also on Sunday, new inductees into the Order of Vandalia will be introduced. These are individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary, long-time service to WVU . They are: NationalBuilding GreatnessCampaign Chairman and venture capitalist Raymond J. Lane, retired rate corporate executive Glen Hiner, attorney Stanley Hostler and Harrison County businessman John Allen.

Special music will be provided by the University Choir; the WVU Wind Symphony; William Haller, organist and professor in the College of Creative Arts; and Krista Kiefski, soloist, Class of 2004.

A new element to this year’s Commencement: WVU plans to capture the processional and highlights of the ceremony, including the recognition of graduates, on four large video screens.

All entrances to the Coliseum will be open at noon Sunday; tickets are not required for admission.

With heavy traffic anticipated, an early arrival is suggested. For the convenience of students and guests attending, all University parking lots will be open to the public during the weekend.

Candidates for doctoral and professional degrees will receive their diplomas during the ceremony. All other graduates may pick up their diplomas after Commencement at previously announced distribution points.

Special seating may be reserved for people with disabilities, as well as guests requiring the services of the signers on the platform, by calling the Office of Disability Services at 304-293-6700.

At the conclusion of the approximately 2-2hour ceremony, the WVU Alumni Association invites the University’s newest alumni and their families to a post-commencement open house and reception at 4 p.m. at Erickson Alumni Center. For more information, contact Kevin Berry at 304-293-4731.

Graduates can relive all the special moments of the Commencement ceremony by ordering a 2004 special edition video ($23.95, plus $3.50 shipping and handling). Make checks payable to WVU Television Productions and send them to: Lesa Hunter, P.O. Box 6877, Morgantown, WV 26506 -6877. Send with your name and mailing address.