There are Mountaineers. And then there are Mountaineers with an extra dose of gold-and-blue shooting through their veins.
For the 2015 class, four people with a lasting influence on WVU have been selected. They are:
• “J. William “Bill Douglas, former dean of the School of Physical Education;
• John Fisher II, former dean of the College of Law
• Kenneth D. Gray, former vice president of Student Affairs; and
• Arthur I. Jacknowitz, professor and former chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy.
The Order of Vandalia has been presented annually since 1961.
Beyond their time at the University, each honoree has shown boundless support by serving various roles and/or providing financial support.
J. William “Bill” Douglas
Douglas, a Morgantown native, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WVU, in addition to a doctorate from The Ohio State University.
In 1972, he was named chair of the WVU Department of Physical Education. He later served as dean of the College and professor in the Sport Management program.
Since his retirement, Douglas has been a member of the College of Physical Activity and Sport Science’s Visiting Committee and has chaired both the Hall of Fame and Outstanding Alumni committees. In recognition of his service to the College, he is a member of its Hall of Fame and is a recipient of its Outstanding Alumnus award. His service to WVU includes chairing the campus-wide United Way drive, serving as a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame Selection Committee and being named to search committees for hiring athletic directors, college deans and vice presidents.
In addition, he has been an active member of the University’s Alumni Association, where he has served on its board of directors and has been president of the Emeritus Club. Douglas has also been active in the Morgantown community where he served on numerous boards of directors and was a member of the Morgantown Rotary Club for 33 years.
Douglas is a member of Phi Sigma Kappa and was active with planning the fraternity’s centennial celebration in 2001. He also assisted with fundraising activities that resulted in an addition that was built onto the house and, later, a complete renovation of the original 1927 structure. For his efforts, he has twice been selected the fraternity’s Outstanding Alumnus. In recognition of his contributions to the local chapter, the national chapter selected him to receive the Stewart W. Herman Award.
He has been recognized for the development of physical education throughout the state and nation. In recognition of his service, scholarly publications, presentations and leadership offices held in professional organizations, he has received meritorious service, honor and distinguished achievement awards. Dean Dana Brooks noted, “Bill’s life has been dedicated to paying it forward to the next generation of West Virginia students, faculty, alumni and students.”
Douglas and his wife Karen, professor emeritus, WVU’s School of Public Health, reside in Sun City, Indian Land, South Carolina.
John W. Fisher II
Fisher is the William J. Maier Jr. Dean Emeritus and Robert M. Steptoe and James D. Steptoe Professor of Property Law Emeritus in the WVU College of Law. He has served WVU for 43 years. A Moorefield native, he received a bachelor’s degree in history WVU in 1964, and a law degree from the College of Law in 1967.
He clerked for The Honorable Robert E. Maxwell upon graduation, then spent three years as a lecturer at the College of Law prior to his joining the faculty as a full-time assistant professor in 1971. During the 1980s, he served a four-year term as WVU chief of staff and advisor to the Office of the President under Gordon Gee.
This was the beginning of a legendary career that spanned the roles of teacher, scholar and administrator. Roles he held have included: member of both University Senate and Board of Advisors, faculty advisor to Mountain Honorary, faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and both the College of Law’s interim dean and associate dean for academic affairs.
His most defining role, however, was serving as the 15th dean of the College of Law from 1998-2008. His stalwart leadership, mentorship and wise counsel benefitted countless WVU students, faculty and administrators. A respected behind-the-scenes advisor and mentor to young faculty members, he has helped the University to become one of higher education’s modern leaders. In recognition, the College of Law Class of 1996 awarded him Professor of the Year, WVU named him the 1994 Most Loyal Faculty and Staff Mountaineer Award, and he was given the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1997.
His legal scholarship has led The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to refer to him as the “the state’s foremost authority in the field of property law,” and generations of lawyers know him as one of West Virginia’s finest. In recognition of his contributions, he received the Distinguished West Virginian Award twice, in 2008 from Gov. Joe Manchin and in 2014 from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Both the West Virginia State Bar and the West Virginia Bar Association have recognized him for his service to legal education and his development of West Virginia’s robust property law.
Kenneth D. Gray
Gray joined WVU as vice president for Student Affairs in 1997, after retiring as major general and as the assistant judge advocate general of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He served in a variety of assignments during his Army career. When he was promoted to brigadier general in 1991, he became the first African-American general in the history of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps since its inception in 1775. He has received several military awards and commendations including the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal.
A native of Excelsior, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia State College and his law degree from the WVU College of Law. He is a member of the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni and a recipient of the Justicia Officium Award, the highest award given by the College of Law. The Kenneth D. Gray Leadership Award was created by the WVU Student Organization’s office in his honor and is awarded on an annual basis to an outstanding student leader who exhibits exemplary leadership skills. He has also received the WVU Outstanding Alumni Award, the Richard T. Feller Outstanding Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to Students, and the 2011 NAACP Administrator of the Year Award from the WVU Collegiate Chapter of the NAACP.
He has been recognized as a Distinguished West Virginian by Governors Gaston Caperton, Cecil Underwood and Tomblin and is also the recipient of the Strong Men and Women: Excellence in Leadership Award presented by Dominion Energy in Richmond, Virginia. He was recently inducted into The West Virginia All Black Schools Sports & Academic Hall of Fame. In November 2013, The National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest association of African-American lawyers and judges in the United States, named a new and distinguished award in Gray’s honor: The Major General Kenneth D. Gray Excellence in Jurisprudence Award. This award will recognize a leader, jurist or practitioner who has exhibited distinctive and exemplary service to their community and or nation.
He is a member of the West Virginia Bar and Texas Bar. He is an American Bar Association Foundation Fellow, a West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow and a member of the Texas Bar Foundation. He is also past chair of the American Bar Association’s Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division. He is past co-chair of the Association of Public Land Grant University’s Council on Student Affairs and the Council’s Executive Committee.
He is married to the former Carolyn Jane Trice of Glen Jean. They have two sons, Christopher and Michael. Both are graduates of WVU. Chris and his wife, Stephanie, are the parents of two daughters, Amaya and Shayla. Michael and his wife, Faith, are the parents of a daughter, Hannah, and son, Caleb.
Arthur I. Jacknowitz
Jacknowitz is professor and Arthur I. Jacknowitz Distinguished Chair Emeritus in Clinical Pharmacy at WVU. He was chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy for almost 16 years, from 1985-2001. Previously, he was director of the WVU Drug Information Center, his initial faculty appointment in 1974. In 1988 his efforts in drug information dissemination to consumers and health professionals statewide was recognized with the University’s Heebink Award for Outstanding State Service.
Author or coauthor of more than 100 scientific and technical articles and abstracts, and as many presentations, he was a monthly columnist for several years for the U.S. Pharmacist, a recipient of the Merck, Sharp and Dohme Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Profession of Pharmacy, and a member of the editorial board of the Drug Information Journal for more than a quarter of a century. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the Drug Information Association. In 1996, the Drug Information Association recognized his service to the Association by awarding him its Outstanding Service Award.
He was the author of the chapter on musculoskeletal injuries and disorders in four editions of the Handbook of Non-Prescription Drugs. He served two five-year terms, from 2000-2010, as a member of the United States Pharmacopeia Convention’s Gastroenterology Expert Committee. He is one of only 22 healthcare professionals nationwide to serve on the 2010-2015 Medicare Model Guidelines Expert Panel, where he and his colleagues on the panel were the recipients of the 2011 USP’s Award for an Innovative Response to a Public Health Challenge. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy recently reappointed him to a seventh three-year term on its Licensure Test Review Committee. He is one of only 25 pharmacy practitioners and educators nationwide to achieve this recognition. He has served as a member of the editorial advisory board of Rodale Press and Prevention Magazine. In 1996 he was chosen as a Lady Davis Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and spent a semester there as a member in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biopharmaceutics. He has served as academic advisor to more than 260 pre-pharmacy and pharmacy honors students during the past decade, and, in recognition of his sustained efforts, was named the Honors College Faculty Advisor of 2012.
To recognize his teaching, scholarship and service for more than a quarter century to WVU, a former student endowed a Distinguished Chair in his honor in 2001, and he was named the first occupant of the Arthur I. Jacknowitz Chair in Clinical Pharmacy. He was inducted into the WVU Health Sciences Center Academy of Excellence in Teaching and Learning in 2012. In addition, his alma mater has recognized his achievements by naming him a distinguished alumnus of Long Island University’s Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy at their 2002 commencement ceremony. He also served as keynote speaker at the college’s 2012 Rho Chi Induction Ceremony. In 2004, the WVU School of Pharmacy Alumni Association conferred honorary alumnus status on him. In addition, he was named the Most Loyal Faculty Mountaineer. Finally, in 2005, Morgantown’s Dominion Post recognized him as one of the 100 most influential citizens in Morgantown.
He retired at the end of the 2012 academic year after 38 years of service to WVU. He remains connected to the Morgantown community, School of Pharmacy, and the greater University. He volunteers as a pharmacist-provider at Mylan Puskar Health Right, a free community clinic for underinsured low-income area residents. At the School of Pharmacy, he is a student mentor and coordinates its student ambassador program. The program’s goal is to utilize Doctor of Pharmacy students to return to their high schools or college pre-pharmacy programs to encourage the best and brightest students to apply to WVU’s School of Pharmacy. He is a member of the Faculty Senate, representing retired faculty. Additionally, he was selected to serve on the newly formed WVU Retirees Association Steering Committee. In 2014, he was one of the keynote speakers at the Association’s launch. He is one of 12 members of the inaugural class of WVU Art Museum docents.
CONTACT: Liz Dickinson, University Events
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