WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Jan. 9, 2017 — The New Year will see a void in the English Department at West Liberty University as longtime professor, Dr. David J. Thomas officially retires on Jan. 17, 2017.
“We are grateful to Dave for all his years of teaching and supporting West Liberty University’s mission. His excellence in teaching and service to students is a legacy that will long be remembered,” said Dr. Stephen Greiner, WLU president. His retirement was announced at WLU’s Dec. 10, 2016 commencement.
Thomas began teaching at WLU in 1985 and served for two years as the interim chair of the Department of Humanities, teaching mostly American literature, freshman composition, creative writing and poetry.
The students voted him WLU’s Professor of the Year four times over his tenure. He also received the Faculty Development Achievement Award for publications and presentations during 1993-1994 and received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000-2001.
“I feel honored to have taught and enjoyed interacting with so many students over the years, both in the classroom and in the many extracurricular activities that we took part in together. I will miss them and thank everyone for their good wishes on my retirement,” he said. Dr. Thomas was known for his humor and approachability in his style of teaching.
“I plan to do some traveling, to continue writing, to do some home renovating, and to do some antique selling at my wife’s shop–Peggy’s Posies in Moundsville,” he added. “I also plan to run the bulls in Pamplona now that I’m retired.”
Thomas extracurricular duties included serving as chairman of the Green Initiatives Committee and as president of the Council of Sustainability, which support West Liberty University’s annual observation of Earth Day and ongoing campus wide recycling efforts.
In addition, Thomas wrote a Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) grant through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for $24,700 in 2013 to fuel the new recycling program.
Thomas also published a book of poetry, “. . . only the trying . . .,” in 1998 and remains active in the poetry world, often reading for guests at the Lunch with Books program of Ohio County Public Library and participating in the annual Wheeling Arts Fest. He also is an instructor with the People’s University program, held at the library.
An alumnus of West Liberty, he graduated in 1975 with two bachelor degrees, one in English and one in history. Thomas then went on to earn a master’s in American Literature from Marshall University in 1977 and a doctoral degree in Modern American Literature from West Virginia University in 1992.
He formerly taught at Eastern Kentucky University, Marshall University, Glenville State College, Wheeling College (now known as Wheeling Jesuit University) and Ohio University.
In November 2012, he graduated from the Master Naturalist Program, co-sponsored by the Good Zoo and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.
A native of Burgettstown, Pa., he resides in Wheeling with his wife, Edye, and dog, Cerby.
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 and the online MBA degrees. For more information on WLU, please call 1.866.WESTLIB.