WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Sept. 15, 2021 — West Liberty University greeted its newest students today in a Fall Convocation designed to encourage and welcome freshman. All faculty donned academic regalia for the festive occasion.
Presided over by President W. Franklin Evans, the convocation took place at noon in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Center (ASRC), a large space that allowed appropriate social distancing. Approximately 400 freshmen attended.
The Marching Hilltoppers, under the direction of Dr. Gretchen Pohlman, began the program with a rendition of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” This was followed by the Star Spangled Banner by the WLU Singers, under the direction of Dr. Linda Cowan.
Chief Marshal and Associate Professor Ryan McCullough opened the convocation and Campus Minister Diann Nickerson provided an inspiration.
Chairman of the Board of Governors Rich Lucas ‘86 greeted the assembly with words of pride, explaining the value of a WLU degree and the confidence that it builds.
Student Government (SGA) was represented by Alexia Schmader, director of SGA Programming. Both Staff Council Chair Tasha Taylor and Faculty Council Chair Ryan McCullough extended their greetings and explained a bit about their role at WLU.
President Evans took the podium to deliver his official Presidential Charge and offer advice based on what he has learned along the way in his many years in higher education, either as a student or as a college professor and now president.
He shared specific directions of how to succeed in college, consisting of 10 rules of life, such as “life is not fair, get used to it.” He also encouraged the students to go to class rather than skip, be proactive in their studies, make friends, be careful with money, and take care of their health.
A videotaped message from Gov. Jim Justice, accompanied by his English Bulldog, Babydog, entertained the students as the Governor welcomed President Evans and the freshman, focusing on the successes of the university during the pandemic and its historic place in Mountain State higher education as its oldest public college or university.
This was followed by additional video greetings from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Sen. Joe Manchin. Additional videos from alumni and former WLU athletes added to the moment.
The convocation ended with a rendition of the Alma Mater, the WLU Fight Song and a reprise of “Ode to Joy.”
The Fall Convocation can be viewed by clicking on topperstation.com.
To view Governor Justice’s message only, please click here.