Nothing draws the Mountaineer family back together like a football game, and while the century-old rivalry with Pitt is a main magnet, it’s not the only rallying point for West Virginia University alumni. Earlier this year, we visited the WVU Alumni Center and asked graduates: Why is WVU special to you?

The runup to the Backyard Brawl seems a fitting time to hear what they said:

Janet Eckle

Janet Eckle (BS, 1969): As far as the institution, it really prepared me for my career and life experiences. Coming back to WVU – I just feel that it’s home, it’s family. A lot of our friends who have graduated from other universities, they don’t seem to have the connection to their university like WVU does.”

Harry Hatfield

Harry “Burr” Hatfield (BS, 1969, MBA 1970, JD 1973):
“I arrived here in 1965 a scared kid from Madison in Boone County. This was a huge city to me at that time. I hadn’t been too many places. I stayed for eight years, got three degrees it became a huge part of my life. It has remained so since that time. All my children went here, my wife got her master’s here and it’s a part of our life. When you’re at WVU you not only make connections all over the state but all over the eastern seaboard. A lot my friends from college days, I still see and I see them regularly. It’s a lifelong connection that stays with you. The school is big enough that you make those connections but small enough that you don’t get lost in the shuffle. I feel very blessed for having gone here. ”
Nick Hill

Nick Hill (BS 2003, DDS 2007):
“Now that I’ve lived in other places I don’t think there’s any place on earth where people treat you like they do here. The greatness of the people, the education you get here. I’ve told my girlfriend about my education and I like to see how it compares with someone from a different place. I think WVU is just as good as anybody.
Judy Payne

Judy Payne (BS 1963):
“This is where I made a lot of good friends. This is where I met and married my husband. It’s some of the best times you’ll ever have in your life. You walk so much you’re in the best shape you’ll ever be in your life. Some of the nicest people in the world live in West Virginia. And it’s a great education. I had student teachers working under me when I was teaching— I don’t know what their colleges were doing but it was nothing like what I got here. When I came out, I was ready to teach and it was wonderful.”
Jim Ellis

Jim Ellis (BS 1963, MS 1965):
“I got a great education here at WVU. Secondly, I love sports and West Virginia football has always attracted me back. I’ve had season (football) tickets since 1992 and we’ve been coming ever since. The school spirit – I don’t think it can be equaled anywhere else.”
Leslie Rowe Forbes

Lesli Rowe Forbes (BS 2002, MS 2005):
“I think I grew up a lot here in Morgantown and met a lot of really, really great friends. That’s why it’s so important to come back. It’s an opportunity for all of us to get together again. We’re scattered all over the place now so this is the place to come home and have a good time together. I met my husband here and have a lot of special memories.”
Paul Garvin

Paul Garvin (BS 1966, MS 1978):
“I’m in the process of moving back to Morgantown. I love Morgantown. It became my second home when I went to school down here. I’ve always liked the people and loved the University. I got a great education here. I’ve followed the Mountaineers for 50 years, when I was a kid. I’m here to be close to the school I love and the people I really think are the best in the world and to follow my Mountaineers.”
Holly Metz

Holly Metz (BS, 1986):
“We’re a very big school. There are people from all across the nation that attend here. Obviously, we’re very good in sports but there are so many other areas of the university that are recognized nationally. You’re meeting so many people. After you graduate and networking, looking for a job and moving to a new city and building friendships, you’re most likely going to meet somebody from WVU.”

Why is WVU special to you?