West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has appointed three leaders to serve on West Liberty University’s Board of Governors in an announcement made today. The appointments are effective immediately.

The appointments include two new members, attorney Sandra Chapman and public relations expert Joe Carey, along with one reappointment, healthcare professional George Couch.

“We are honored to have such experts and distinguished professionals on our Board of Governors and we thank them for their wisdom and energy as we continue to strive to be a great university,” said WLU President Robin C. Capehart.


Joe Carey

For over 20 years, Carey has provided trusted counsel and proven results in both the public and private sectors.

Before he founded Carey Strategic Communications, he served as vice president for Widmeyer Communications, a public relations agency with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Working for the Walt Disney Company, he managed several successful national and international marketing campaigns for one of the world’s most respected and recognizable brands.

Carey also worked for the White House, traveling with President Bill Clinton to over 24 countries and throughout the United States to ensure that his message was communicated in a clear and effective manner. He also was appointed by President Clinton to work for United States Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater.

A West Virginia native, he has proudly served two of the state’s Governors. Under Governor Gaston Caperton, he gained a wealth of experience and knowledge in communications and media relations. He returned to the state 11 years later to serve as Governor Bob Wise’s director of strategic communications.

Carey earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from WLU where he has served as a director on the University’s Foundation Board since 2006.

Throughout his life and business career, his interest in public service and politics has led him to be a trusted advisor in several presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. His years of experience dealing with the national, state and local media, have helped him establish a vast network of invaluable relationships, which serve his clients well in both times of success and crisis.

Originally from the Northern Panhandle of W.Va., Carey lives with his wife and three year old son in New York City. Carey’s term will end on June 30, 2017, and he succeeds Lisa Allen.

Sandra Chapman.

Sandra Chapman

Chapman was born and raised in Rising Sun, Ind. She resides in Wheeling, with her family.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Hanover College (Indiana), graduating magna cum laude, and her master’s degree at West Virginia University. She graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 1983.

She began her career as a law clerk for the Hon. Richard Neely, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Chapman was appointed to the West Virginia Board of Education by Gov. Gaston Caperton and served for nine years. During this time she held all offices, twice serving as president and chairing the search for State Superintendent of Schools. She served on West Virginia School Building Authority, representing West Virginia Board of Education.

Chapman has served on West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission as a representative of the State Superintendent of Schools and  has served on the West Virginia State Bar Board of Governors, where she held all offices during her service and served as president of the West Virginia State Bar, 2009-2010.

By appointment of Gov. Joe Manchin, III, Chapman served on the Independent Commission on Judicial Reform and the advisory committee to the Governor pertaining to judicial appointments.

Additionally, Chapman is a member of the National Conference of Bar Presidents and recently completed a three-year term on its Executive Council. She is a member of the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents and formerly served as a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates, 2010 – 2011. She is a Fellow of the West Virginia Bar Foundation.

Couch Photo 1

George Couch

Chapman’s recent community service includes serving on the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors where she is currently the president-elect. She has served on the Ohio Valley Medical Center Board of Directors. Chapman’s term will end on June 30, 2016, and she succeeds Robert Steptoe.

In addition to serving as vice chair of the WLU Board of Governors, Couch is Vice President of Wheeling Hospital.

He previously served as president and chief executive officer of Ohio Valley Medical Center/East Ohio Regional Hospital, chief executive officer of Wetzel County Hospital as well as was the owner/administrator of New Martinsville Health Care Center.

A lifelong resident of the Ohio Valley, Couch received his bachelor’s degree from Bethany College and MBA from West Virginia University.

He is a fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives and a licensed Nursing Home Administrator.

He is a member of the Wheeling Rotary, Wheeling Symphony Board and has served on the Boards of the West Virginia Hospital Association, West Virginia Health Care Association and Wheeling Health Right.

Couch was first appointed to the WLU Board of Governors in August 2010 by Gov. Joe Manchin III. He served as board secretary beginning in July 2011 and has been board vice chairman until this reappointment, which ends on June 30, 2017.

The Board of Governors is led by Chairman Richard Carter, Wheeling. Also serving on the board are Beverly Burke, WLU Classified Staff representative; Brian E. Joseph, Touchstone Research Laboratory; Patrick D. Kelly, W.V. Health Care Association; Jessica McDonald, WLU student government; Frank Noble, Jr., WLU Faculty representative and B. Ann Thomas, Wheeling.