Former WVU football captain shares professional experience at Leadership Studies Symposium

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In 1983, Jonathan M. Holifield entered Mountaineer Field as a walk on straight out of high school, knowing that if he wanted to play football at West Virginia University he would have to prove he deserved a scholarship. Three years later, he achieved victory on the field as senior captain, gaining leadership skills that he would later translate into his professional career.

Today, Holifield has an understanding of athletics, law, economic development, education and government reform. He will share his knowledge of best leadership practices with WVU student leaders in a talk, titled “Trim Tab Leadership: 10 Principals to Maximize Your Leadership,” on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. The event is free and open to the public.

Holifield’s lecture will stem from his experiences in a variety of positions, including president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland; president and CEO of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy; founding executive director of CincyTechUSA; vice president of the Cincinnati NAACP; vice president of the Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce; assistant prosecuting attorney and civil litigation attorney.

“I am proud to be a part of the Leadership Studies Program’s efforts to promote student development and leadership that will not only benefit WVU, but also the state of West Virginia, our nation and perhaps the world,” said Holifield.

Holifield’s visit to WVU is part of the third annual West Virginia Student Leadership Symposium held the same day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is organized by the WVU Leadership Studies Program, Milan Puskar Leadership Scholars, Student Government Association and Leadership Studies Student Association.

This year’s theme, “Transforming Student Leaders,” will help campus leaders develop skills and tools to help their organizations and their peers excel. WVU professors and Morgantown community members will present a variety of topics ranging from ethical leadership to team building.

Interested attendees can register until Feb. 10. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms the day of the symposium. To learn more about the event, or to register, visit

Holifield received his master’s degree in education and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. After playing at WVU, he played for the Cincinnati Bengals. He is a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the West Virginia University Alumni Association and the University of Cincinnati Alumni Association.

Holifield serves as a member of the Eberly College’s Advisory Board. He was the 2004 recipient of the WVU Department of Political Science Distinguished Alumnus Award. He and his wife Antoinette, a 1986 alumna of WVU with a master’s degree in public administration, live in Cleveland.

For more information, contact Rose Cole, Leadership Studies Program Coordinator, at (304) 293-8781 or



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