WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Nov. 27, 2017 — Northern Panhandle business development leader Patrick Ford will deliver the commencement address at West Liberty University’s Fall 2017 Commencement Ceremony. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex (ASRC). Two-hundred and eight students are expected to graduate and this number includes students who completed requirements over the summer.
President Stephen Greiner will preside at the ceremony and will present Ford with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
“I am grateful that Pat has accepted our invitation to share some of his knowledge and advice with our December graduates. As a businessman and entrepreneur he has his finger on the pulse of West Virginia and has amassed more than 30 years of experience. Our students will value his guidance,” Greiner said.
A native of Hutchinson, Kansas, Ford is the executive director of the Business Development Corporation (BDC) of the Northern Panhandle, the economic development agency for Brooke and Hancock counties, headquartered in Weirton.
As executive director, Ford’s accomplishments include awards and recognition from the United States Small Business Administration and West Virginia Small Business Development Center as the West Virginia Small Business Champion of the Year, West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center for Excellence in Economic Development, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for Land Stewardship in the BDC’s efforts to repurpose environmentally contaminated properties, the United States Environmental Protection Agency for Leveraging USEPA Financial Assistance to attract private investment, the American Planning Association for innovative and Collaborative Community Revitalization Strategies, and the West Virginia Association of Consulting Engineers for Design Excellence.
He also was recognized by the Wall Street Journal for closing the “Deal of the Week,” a public-private partnership whereby the BDC acquired the former Wheeling Corrugating plant in Beech Bottom, which includes 600 acres.
He holds a Bachelor of City Planning and Master of Planning degrees from the University of Virginia, is a graduate of Leadership West Virginia, was selected as one of “Who’s Who Top Entrepreneurs in West Virginia” by The State Journal, and regularly lectures on leadership and team-building.
Appointed by Governor Jim Justice, Ford serves as the vice chairman of the West Liberty University Board of Governors. He also represents the northern district of West Virginia on the West Virginia Public Port Authority and is on the Board of Directors of the WV Hub.
He is a board member of both the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center and the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Regional Planning Commission, serves as the chairman of Campaign Committee of the United Way, sits on the finance committee of the Weirton Medical Center, and is an active volunteer with the Hancock County 4-H.
Doors open for seating at commencement at 9:30 a.m. and tickets are not required for fall commencement.
The Commencement Ceremony will be televised live on WLU-TV 14 (Comcast Channel 14) and online at wltvonline.com.
A reception for graduates, guests and families will be held in the College Union immediately following the ceremony. Parking will be available for guests behind the ASRC.
West Liberty University is a forward-looking, four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution of higher education and offering nearly 70 undergraduate majors and 30 programs. Graduate programs include the Master of Arts in Education, the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, the Master of Professional Studies, the Master of Science in Criminology, the online MBA and the new MA/MS in Biology. For more information on WLU, please call 1.866.WESTLIB.