The West Virginia University Division of Student Life is proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Hall of Fame and Outstanding Achievement Awards at the induction ceremony Monday (Oct. 12) at 5:30 p.m. at the Erickson Alumni Center.
The Student Life Outstanding Achievement Award will be presented to Stephen L. Douglas. The 2015 Student Life Hall of Fame Award will be presented to Melanie J. Cook, Ph.D., Jan Palmer, M.D. and David H. Taylor.
Student Life Outstanding Achievement Award
Stephen L. Douglas is president and chief executive officer of the West Virginia University Alumni Association, Inc. Douglas holds a master’s degree from the West Virginia University School of Physical Education in sports administration (‘79) and he was awarded a bachelor’s degree from the West Virginia University School of Journalism in 1974. Since being named executive director in 1988, Douglas has led the West Virginia University Alumni Association to unprecedented growth. During his tenure, the annual operating budget of the WVU Alumni Association has more than tripled. At the same time, investments and assets of the Alumni Association have increased by 500 percent. Under his guidance, the WVU Alumni Association completed the construction of the Erickson Alumni Center. The “Gateway” location represents a project cost of more than $20 million. Douglas has been committed to furthering the cause of alumni relations on both a state and national level. He served as Chairman of the Big East Conference Alumni Professionals Organization comprising of 16 college and university Alumni Associations. He was a founding member and first president of the West Virginia Alumni Directors Association comprised of all public and private institutions in West Virginia. He also has served as a regional trustee for the Council of Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Among many other awards, he is also a charter member of the Council of Alumni Association Executives (CAAE).
Student Life Hall of Fame
Melanie J. Cook, Ed.D. has served in various administrative capacities at West Virginia University throughout her 36-year career. After starting as a part-time student employee on the housing maintenance crew, her next position was as a resident assistant while in graduate school. In 1978, she acquired her first full-time position in the Office of Admissions as a recruiter for prospective students. In 1981, she was appointed as assistant director for Residence Life. This exper�ience served as the backbone for the remainder of her career as she served as an assistant to the dean of students; coordinator of Student Engagement and Leadership; and, eventually as assistant dean in the Office of Student Conduct. Some of Melanie’s career highlights include the naming of the individual Towers’ residence halls; developing foreign language living-learning floors; advising student government; implementing online student government elections; assisting in the revisions of the University Student Conduct Code; as well as serving on the design committee for the Student Recreation Center. She has received the Ken Gray Award for Leadership; the Fannie Lou Hamer Award from the Center for Black Culture and Research; and her former residence hall staff, through the WVU Foundation, endowed the Dr. Melanie J. Cook Student Affairs Professional Development Endowment in her honor. Melanie holds a bachelor’s degree from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania in secondary education and social studies; and a master’s degree in physical education and a doctorate in educational leadership studies from West Virginia University.
Jan Palmer, MD, born and raised in Upstate New York, graduated from Cornell University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. He later graduated from medical school at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York in 1977. In 1977, Jan started his work with WVU during his family medicine residency at West Virginia University Hospital. After his residency, Jan began his work at WVU Student Health as a staff physician. While working at Student Health, Jan also worked part time as WVU Family Medicine associate professor, and staff physician, as well as WVUH Emergency Room physician. Of his many roles at WVU, he was also the assistant director of WVU Student Health from 1988-1993, associate director of WVU Student Health 1993-2003, and then the director of both WVU Student Health and WELLWVU Student Health from 2003-2014. Among his many accolades, Jan was the president of the Mid-Atlantic College Health Association from 2008-2009, and a member of the American College Health Association from 1990-2014. He is a board-certified family physician and diplomat in the American Board of Family Practice. He worked with the Fiji Medical Mission throughout the past five years. Jan almer also gives back as a volunteer physician through Doctors of the World, and from 1994-2012 was a health care provider with Barbuda Council, Barbuda, British West Indies. He is currently a volunteer physician with Loloma Foundation and the medical advisor for Adventure West Virginia.
David H. Taylor received his bachelor’s degree in 1968 and his graduate degree in1970 from West Virginia University in the School of Physical Education (now CPASS). He started his employment in 1970 as a program manager for Intramural Sports under Student Education Services. In 1973, he was named coordinator for the Campus Recreation Program. Dave served for a number of years as the assistant director and associate director of Student Activities, and in 1988, was named director of Student Activities. In that same year, he was named director of the West Virginia University Student Recreation Center and helped to oversee the planning, design, and construction of the Center. He also provided leadership for the Evansdale Recreation Project and the Mylan Park Project to increase outdoor playing opportunities for club sports, intramural sports, and recreational play. Dave served as an adjunct professor in the CPASS Program teaching an undergraduate class and a graduate class in facility planning and management. Dave’s employment at WVU spanned 43 years and in 2013 he retired.
The recipients of the 2015 Herman L. Moses Scholarship will also be recognized during this event. This scholarship was established by Susan Adkins and Jonathan Adkins in honor of former Associate Vice President and Dean of Students for Student Life Herman L. Moses. One male and one female student are awarded $750 each this year. This year’s winners are Anna Royek who works for Residential Education in Stalnaker/Dadisman Halls and Kyle Haugh who also works for Residential Education in Boreman Hall.
Entertainment will include a piano prelude by WVU student Louis Falbo; a musical performance by Chelsea Malone, 2011 Mountaineer Idol and 2015 Miss West Virginia; and a dance performance by Demiah Edwards, Dancing With our Mountaineer Stars Champion accompanied by Lindsey Watkins.
For more information about the program or the recipients of the 2015 Student Life Hall of Fame and Outstanding Achievement Award Program, contact Sonja Wilson, event coordinator, at Sonja.Wilson@mail.wvu.edu or call 304.293.2702.
CONTACT: Sonja Wilson, Hall of Fame Event Coordinator
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