West Virginia University has named Layne Veneri and Julie Peng the 2016 Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer.

Veneri and Peng were announced as this year’s honorees during halftime of the WVU vs. Kansas football game today (Nov. 5) at Milan Puskar Stadium. The awards are given each year as part of WVU’s Mountaineer Week festivities to recognize students’ exemplary academic achievement and extracurricular involvement.

Veneri from Princeton is a senior biology major and member of the Honors College. He is the recipient of the WVU Eberly College Scholar award and Dean’s Honors Scholar. He serves as a peer mentor in the WVU Honors College, WVU University Relations social media ambassador, and member of Students Optimistic for Curing Kids. He has also made both the President’s List and Dean’s List three times while at WVU. Veneri is sponsored by WVU Students Optimistic for Curing Kids (S.O.C.K.- IT).

Peng from Hurricane is a senior chemical engineering major minoring in leadership studies and member of the Honors College. She is the Society of Women Engineers historian and former vice president, and is a Foundation Scholar. Peng is also a West Virginia University Cru Bible study leader, has traveled to Patagonia with Adventure WV and as served as an undergraduate research scientist in Changchun, China. She is sponsored by Cru at WVU.

Other Mr. Mountaineer finalists were: Jake Byrne of Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania; Dillon Muhly-Alexander of Bridgeport; Andrew Sutherland of Alexandria, Virginia; and Josh Watson of Morgantown.

Other Ms. Mountaineer finalists were: Shelby Boggs of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania; Abby Roberts of Yorktown, Virginia; Samantha Shimer of Parkersburg; and Janelle Vickers of Moundsville.

In addition to the Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer presentation, WVU’s Most Loyals were honored. The 2016 honorees are: Bill and Patty Bright, Most Loyal West Virginians; Dianne Anderson, Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer; Dr. Kristi Wood-Turner, Most Loyal Faculty Mountaineer, and Clifford “Jimmy” Ford, Most Loyal Staff Mountaineer.

The Most Loyal West Virginian and Alumni Mountaineer awards have been presented since 1974, while the Most Loyal Faculty and Staff Mountaineer award was created in 1994 and split into two separate awards in 2001. The award recipients are chosen by a joint committee representing the WVU Foundation, WVU Alumni Association and the Mountaineer Week organizing committee.

Mountaineer Week is an annual celebration of West Virginia’s rich Appalachian heritage and traditions. The activities serve to remind and educate WVU students about the culture that has made West Virginia what it is today. The festival commemorated its 69th year this fall.



Contact: Sonja Wilson, Mountainlair
Sonja.Wilson@mail.wvu.edu; 304.293.2702

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