Judge Irene Berger, the recently named 2006 outstanding alumna of West Virginia University, will deliver the keynote address at the universitys December Convocation.

Berger, a judge for the 13th Judicial Circuit in Kanawha County, will address graduates at the ceremony set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at the WVU Coliseum.

A McDowell County native, Berger graduated from WVU with a degree in mathematics in 1976 and received her law degree from the WVU College of Law in 1979.

It was an unexpected honor to be asked. Im very excited about having the opportunity to speak to the graduates,she said.As the years have passed, our expectations of the graduates have grown. I believe students get an excellent education at WVU . Im excited to have the opportunity to talk to a group of people with that much potential.

Through the years, Berger has maintained close ties to WVU , serving as a member of the Student Affairs Visiting Committee and previously serving as the 102nd president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

She also was a member of the College of Law and Social Justice Visiting Committees and the former Institutional Board of Advisors.

Judge Irene Berger has displayed unselfish dedication to the state, to the country and to West Virginia University across her professional career and throughout her life,said Chris Martin, vice president for university advancement&marketing.I cannot think of a person who better exemplifies the wisdom, work ethic, compassion and a passion for public service �all hallmarks of this state, this university �better than Judge Berger.

Berger has received numerous awards and honors. In 2004, then Gov. Bob Wise presented her with the Distinguished West Virginia award, and she received the Community Champion Award from the Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action.

In 2003, Berger was named a fellow of the American Bar Association and was given the Mountain State Bar Association Merit Award. She received the Distinguished Woman in Law Award by the WVU College of Law Womens Law Caucus, the West Virginia African-American Woman of Distinction by the West Virginia Womans Commission and was named a Foundation Fellow by the West Virginia State Bar.

She was also honored with the 2000 Outstanding Woman of Achievement Award by the Charleston YWCA .

In 1997, Berger was honored with the Celebrate Woman Award for the West Virginia Womans Commission. She also received the 1996 Woman of the Year Award by the Charleston Area Business and Professional Womens Club and ranked first in overall qualifications in the 1996 Judicial Evaluation Poll conducted by the West Virginia State Bar.

Berger and her husband David Howell reside in Cross Lanes.

Information for graduates and guests

  • Each year, approximately 1,000 WVU seniors graduate in December. While not a formal commencement, convocation honors those students who complete their degree requirements in midyear. Degrees are conferred during May commencement.
  • Degree candidates will wear traditional caps and gowns. These items are available for purchase at the WVU Bookstore, 304-293-7467.
  • To participate in the ceremony, graduates are required to register online atwww.wvu.edu/dec_convocation/registration.htm. Although reservations for December graduates are required, no actual tickets will be distributed for Convocation.
  • Coliseum gates open for students and their guests at noon. All university parking lots will be open to the public during the weekend of December Convocation. Parking is available at the WVU Coliseum. Early arrival is recommended.
  • Degree candidates must report to the upper level lobby of the coliseum (above the Red Gate) no later than 12:30 p.m. University marshals will line up the schools and colleges in assigned areas. Graduates will be part of a formal processional and will be seated in a reserve area of the Coliseum.
  • Special seating is available for guests with disabilities and those requiring services of interpreters on the platform. To reserve special seating, call the Office of Disability Services at 304-293-6700 by noon Friday, Dec. 8.
  • For details about individual school and college events, graduates and their guests should contact the deans office of the respective school or college.
  • For more information about the university-wide ceremony, e-mail decemberconvocation@mail.wvu.edu or call the Office of University Advancement and Marketing at 304-293-7132.