Kim Weaver, one of West Virginia University’s most successful graduates of the last 30 years, has been named to the Board of Governors by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The appointment is effective today (Aug. 27).
Weaver, who received her bachelor’s degree in physics from WVU in 1987, is a renowned astrophysicist who currently works at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and is a noted international expert in the field of X-ray astronomy.
Also Thursday, Tomblin reappointed Thomas Flaherty and David Alvarez to second terms on the Board. Flaherty, a Charleston attorney, is currently serving as chair of the board. Alvarez is president of Energy Transportation LLC in Bridgeport. Both of their terms will end June 30, 2018.
“I am delighted with Gov. Tomblin’s two re-appointments and the naming of the newest member to our Board of Governors,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “Tom Flaherty and David Alvarez have been loyal and dedicated members of this Board, helping us think through and make important decisions that are in the best interest of WVU and our three divisional campuses.
“With the addition of WVU alumna Kim Weaver and her rich science and research background, she adds an additional layer of knowledge and experience to this outstanding group of dedicated men and women.”
In appointing Weaver, Tomblin said, “With her prior education and work experience, Kim exemplifies a life of learning and is committed to sharing her knowledge by teaching our youth in various roles. I’m pleased she has accepted this opportunity to serve on WVU’s Board of Governors, and I’m confident her experience and expertise will help prepare the leaders of our future generation.”
Weaver attributes much of her success to WVU.
“So much of who I am today is because of the things I learned, the teachers who guided me, and all the remarkable people I met at WVU,” she said. “My time there set me on a path that led to a career of public service and scientific endeavor.
“For nearly 150 years, West Virginia University has been an engine of learning, progress and discovery. Our graduates make a positive impact on the state, our country, and the world. It is a privilege to have the chance to help chart the course of WVU as it embarks on its next 150 years.”
After graduating from WVU, Weaver received a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Maryland in 1993 and did postgraduate work at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She mentors graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and many of her students continue on to successful careers in both astronomy and education and public outreach.
Among Weaver’s many academic, professional and service accolades is a Presidential Early Career Award in 1996 for her work in X-Ray astrophysics. The award is given annually to recognize and honor outstanding scientists and engineers at the outset of their research careers. Since then she has held several key positions at Goddard and at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
She has been a strong advocate for the field of science, and served as the science liaison to NASA headquarters public affairs for the Astrophysics Division.
She is also a frequent public commentator on science issues and has appeared on many documentaries and serves as an expert on black holes, galaxy clusters and dark energy. In addition to authoring popular science articles, she also wrote a well-received book – The Violent Universe: Joyrides Through the X-ray Cosmos.
She was inducted into WVU’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2011, and has received the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Alumni Recognition award acknowledging graduates who have made significant contributions to their field and whose lives and careers exemplify the best traditions of a liberal arts and sciences education. The University of Maryland Astronomy Department has also presented her its Distinguished Alumna award. In 2009, she received the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award for her work in public relations and public outreach. She is a member of the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society and the International Astronomical Union.
During her time at WVU, Weaver was a university honors scholar while also serving two seasons as the field commander for the Pride of West Virginia Mountaineer Marching Band. She was selected Ms. Mountaineer in 1986.
“I am delighted to welcome Morgantown native, WVU grad and astrophysicist Dr. Kim Weaver to the Board of Governors,” Flaherty said. Her unique skill set and point of view will be invaluable as we continue to work with President Gee to move our great university forward. Governor Tomblin has chosen wisely in appointing Dr. Weaver.”
WVU’s Board comprises 17 members, 12 of whom are appointed by the governor and can serve two consecutive four-year terms. The remaining members represent students, faculty and staff of the University as well as West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
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