When alums talk about West Virginia University, inevitably they mention how much they felt at home.

WVU’s Center for Black Culture & Research and student chapter of the NAACP recognize that it’s WVU’s people who make that feeling of home.

To encourage and honor these efforts, they are hosting the University’s first NAACP Image Awards and Gala. Based on the national awards show that honors those in the arts and elsewhere who promote social justice, the WVU ceremony is meant to draw attention to those who have achieved much personally, but who also have elevated the whole community.

The awards ceremony and gala will be held Tuesday, April 19, from 6-9 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. The night will include an awards presentation, music, refreshments and entertainment. The event is free and semi-formal wear is expected.

Chelsea Fuller, vice president of WVU’s NAACP student chapter, said the honorees have contributed in some way to the whole University community and the black community in particular. Organizers expect it to become an annual event.

“We want it to be something that the community anticipates and looks forward to every year,” she said.

About 40 awards are expected to be handed out to students, University staff and others.

One of the most notable awards will be given to a longtime WVU administrator and alumnus. Garrett Ford Sr., who currently serves as an assistant athletic director at WVU, will be recognized with a lifetime achievement award.

Ford began at WVU as a running back at WVU and still holds the record for the most all-purpose yards in a WVU game at 356 yards. He was inducted into the WVU Hall of Fame in 1995 and into the College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences , formally known as the School of Physical Education, Hall of Fame in 2004.

Ford received a bachelor’s degree in physical education and master’s degree in guidance and counseling from WVU. He currently guides the education and monitors academic progress of the hundreds of student athletes at the University.

He joined the Mountaineer staff in 1970 as an assistant football coach and was later named academic counselor and most recently assistant athletic director in 1985.

“He’s been a fixture in the community here as a whole, and he’s really done a lot for students of color at WVU,” Fuller said.

Aside from Ford, recipients will be announced for athletes of the year, professor of the year, outstanding achievement, administrator of the year and student leader, among others.


CONTACT: Marjorie Fuller, Center for Black Culture and Research
304-293-7029, Marjorie.Fuller@mail.wvu.edu