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By Emily Salvatori, Contributing Writer
Looking back at the past year, 2016 has been eventful for West Liberty University; a lot has happened on the hilltop.
It has been a year of leadership changes, with the year beginning with welcoming Dr. Stephen Greiner as the new president of WLU and the university’s 36th president. New Student Government Association officers were elected for the fall semester with Reid Boden and David Cullinan becoming the new president and vice president of SGA. Professor Mike Turrentine was named the new dean of the Gary E. West College of Business, and he took over the position on July 1.
Campus-wise, the past year has also seen changes with housing. The dorms experienced some adjustments when Rogers Hall shut down after the 2016 spring semester. More housing options, however, were introduced to students for the fall when the cabins by the Gary E. West Event Center opened up.
Throughout the year, new majors became available to students. New education majors, Early Intervention and Teaching English and Global Education are now offered. WLU partnered with Oglebay Good Zoo to create the Zoo Science major. New graduate programs are also now offered, including a Master of Science in Criminology and an online Master of Business Administration.
In October, the Board of Governors passed Policy 56. The Policy, called “Deadly Weapons/Destructive Devices,” bans the possession of guns and other weapons on West Liberty University’s campus.
A couple days later, WLU had another successful homecoming on the hilltop. After a full week of festivities this year, the homecoming dance was held in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex (ASRC) for the first time. Generations Restaurant and Pub opened a second location on the hilltop known as G-Top also on homecoming weekend in the Gary E. West Center.
West Liberty University also had an impressive year in sports. The men’s basketball team advanced to the Final Four, losing in the semifinals, in March at Frisco, Texas, and the women’s basketball team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
For the first time in West Liberty history, the women’s soccer team made the playoffs this fall season. The women’s volleyball team also had a record season this year, finishing with 23 wins, the most since 1982.
Acrobatics and Tumbling was also announced on Oct. 27 as a new intercollegiate sport. In December, the university named Treasure Fields their new coach.
In the arts, it’s been an eventful year. Unfortunately, budget cuts to the university caused the marching band and pep band to be cut in March. However, the Hilltop Players have put on many successful and exciting productions this year in the Kelly Theater, including “A Christmas Carol,” “The Ramayana,” “She Kills Monsters,” and “Godspell 2012.”
As 2016 ends, it is easy to say that West Liberty University had an outstanding year from all around campus. It will be exciting to see what will happen on the hilltop in 2017, and if it comes close to 2016, it is sure to be another great year.