Susan Brown Hardesty, former West Virginia University First Lady and alumna of the WVU division of music (B.M. ‘67), will be the guest speaker for the College of Creative Arts graduation convocation on Saturday (May 15) at 5 p.m. in the Creative Arts Center’s Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre.

The daughter of WVU music professor Clifford Brown and his wife Carolyn, Hardesty has had a lifetime affiliation with West Virginia’s flagship institution. She and her husband, David C. Hardesty, Jr., WVU’s 16th Rhodes Scholar and 21st president, met in the 1960s while both were students at the University, and were married on campus in 1968.

A summa cum laude graduate, Hardesty taught music in England, Massachusetts and West Virginia until her career migrated into special education after she earned a master’s degree from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies and worked as an educational diagnostician in Jackson County, West Virginia.

She went on to serve as a charter member and chair of the College of Creative Arts Board of Visitors, where she helped organize the first WVU Marching Band concerts in Charleston. She was also active in Read Aloud West Virginia, a volunteer organization devoted to literacy and improving reading skills.

But Hardesty is most well-known as the volunteer leader of one of the most successful and effective university parent organizations in America, the WVU Mountaineer Parents Club, which she founded in 1995 when her husband became president of WVU.

She is also co-author, with her husband, of “Leading the Public University: Essays, Speeches and Commentaries,” and author of “A Partner in Leadership,” a handbook for spouses of university presidents and chancellors.

In 2007, Hardesty was inducted into the Order of Vandalia, the highest recognition for service awarded by WVU. She has also been honored by the West Virginia Society of Washington D.C., the West Virginia Education Alliance and the WVU College of Education and Human Resources.

She is a member of the board of directors of her local United Way organization, the Metropolitan Theater Foundation Board in Morgantown, the West Virginia Education Alliance and the WVU College of Creative Arts-Pittsburgh Symphony Board.

Doors to the Creative Arts Center will open at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are not required for admission and seating is open except where reserved for degree candidates. The academic procession begins sharply at 5 p.m.
Undergraduate student marshals who have achieved the highest cumulative grade point average in their division will lead the procession. The 2010 Student Marshals are Kathryn Jo Peno, art and design; Colin Andrew Wood, music; and Benjamin David Levesque, theatre and dance.

During the ceremony, the College of Creative Arts will individually recognize approximately 90 graduates, including those who completed graduation requirements in August or December of 2009.

Alison Helm, chair of the division of art and design, Keith Jackson, chair of the division of music, and Joshua Williamson, chair of the division of theatre and dance, will recognize each of the degree candidates by name. Graduates will then receive congratulations from Dean Bernie Schultz and Associate Dean William Winsor.

There will also be several special presentations, including awards to outstanding students in each division, as well as the overall outstanding graduate of the College of Creative Arts. The College of Creative Arts Outstanding Graduating Senior for 2009-2010 will be announced by Dean Bernard Schultz.

A reception in the lobby of the Creative Arts Center for graduates, families, friends, faculty and staff will follow the ceremony.

The Mesaros Galleries, featuring exhibitions by seniors graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree in art, will also be open before and after the convocation.

The event is open to the public. For more information, contact the College of Creative Arts at 304-293-4841 ext. 3109.



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4841 ext. 3108,

Follow @wvutoday on Twitter