Mountaineers share an unwavering bond.

Since 1867, they’ve come from all walks of life.

There’s the young inventor who wants to erase the pain felt by amputees.

There’s the running back who executed “The Run” against the No. 3-ranked Miami Hurricanes in 2003.

There’s the shy kid who evolved into a Silicon Valley icon.

Some laugh when recalling their moments as Mountaineers. Others choke up and shed tears.

Some haven’t graduated from college yet. Others earned their degrees more than half-a-century ago, though they vividly remember how the ice cream tasted at Oglebay Hall or the amount of cash they spent each semester on textbooks: $20.

Their stories are captured, woven and immortalized in the West Virginia University Heritage Project.

This initiative – a labor of love shared by the WVU Alumni Association, Emeritus Graduates and University Relations – serves as a collection of Mountaineer memories that anyone can access anytime, anywhere.

More than 20 video interviews are now uploaded to the site. Hear the story of Johnathan Holfield, a former WVU and NFL football player, who left a Greyhound bus station in Detroit for Morgantown. His mother asked him if he wanted a round-trip ticket. Holifield’s response to her was his defining Mountaineer moment.

Or you can listen to Ray Lane explain why he contributes to his alma mater four decades after graduating. Initially a shy kid, Lane grew out of his shell and excelled in a career in information technology, serving as Oracle CEO.

If you’re due for a good laugh, a research scientist, of all people, can enlighten you with the tale of a purple cow in Woodburn Hall. Robert Cochrane, who worked as a senior endocrinologist with Eli Lilly and a biologist with the Food and Drug Administration, reveals this classroom prank on a professor.

The Heritage Project is ongoing, and it is more than just videos. Alumni are also invited to send stories via audio, photos or written word.

Maureen Crockett wrote about an alligator that a pre-law student kept in her bathtub in Women’s Hall. She took the gator home for Christmas when he got too big for the bathtub.

Leon Ryan recalled his days as a swimmer in the 1970s. Swimmers at WVU competed in a coal barge that was converted to a swimming pool on the downtown campus. Ryan described it as, “cold, dark and (with) enough chlorine for your skin to absorb that you are marked as a swimmer for life.”

WVU changed these lives forever, and these bleeders of gold-and-blue did not hesitate to share their story.

We hope you share yours with us.

The story of WVU begins with you.

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