With their college years behind them, West Virginia University graduates were charged Sunday to use that education “to make the world a better place.”

“We’re counting on you to provide opportunities for the next generation, greater than you had, to be more successful than you will be, to better their stead, to make the world a better place,” WVU’s Senior Associate Dean of Students Tom Sloane said at the annual December Convocation at the Coliseum.

“As Mountaineers, I know you can do that. We’re counting on you. West Virginia University is counting on you,” Sloane said.

About 800 of the expected 1,300 mid-year graduates attended the convocation; approximately 7,000 friends and family attended the event. Degrees will be officially conferred on Dec. 28.

A life-long resident of Morgantown, Sloane has worn many hats in his 47 years at WVU. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at WVU. Sloane completed his doctorate in student personnel work in higher education at Ohio State University.

Sloane has served the University as a fraternity advisor, adjunct professor, residence hall coordinator, international student advisor, student conduct hearing officer and interim director of the Center for Black Culture and Research, among other roles.

In his current position with the Office of Student Life, Sloane visits students who have been hospitalized, works with families in crisis and travels abroad to represent WVU in recruiting international students.

“Let me speak to you today as a fellow Mountaineer,” Sloane said, as he donned his freshman beanie. “I bleed Old Gold and Blue. I know you do, too. ?

“Today is a scrapbook day, a memory day, a Facebook day, a day to Tweet about. A day I hope you will take time to remember forever,” he said.

Among the many “goose bump” moments Sloane recalled were those seeing WVU grads all over the world.

“I’ve seen our alumni wearing the flying WV Nike coaches shirts in Thailand before they were available at the Morgantown Mall, other alums in Bahrain hold up the horrible hankey, their ‘70s answer to the Terrible Towel, with the flying WV on it,” he said. “They gather in Tokyo for Mountaineer football and basketball at midnight to see the games on satellite. What a thrill it has been to meet people I knew as students, leaders in our student organizations, who are now the captains of industry, the leaders of foreign governments.

“Shun Nakasone served as a translator for former Mets Coach Bobby Valentine in Japan. Tawfiq Al-Zamil and his brothers Fahad and Walid head up one of the most successful business corporations in the entire Middle East; they and another brother are all WVU graduates.

“Mountaineers are all over the world. They have vivid memories of Morgantown; they still love their alma mater. To see the Flying WV flag flying over our Medical College in Oman is another signature moment, a goose bump moment.”

To view the archived webcast of the convocation, go to http://webcast.wvu.edu.

-WVU-

jb/12/13/09

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