WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Sept. 8, 2021 — West Liberty University will celebrate both its 2021 and 2020 alumni entering the Wall of Honor at Homecoming this fall.
“Last year we weren’t able to gather as a large group for our usual Homecoming festivities due to the pandemic so this fall, we’ve planned a safe and very special evening that will honor both this year and last year’s Wall of Honor recipients whose names will be added to this prestigious honor roll,” said Ron Witt, executive director of Alumni Affairs.
The ceremony is part of the Impact of Philanthropy and Wall of Honor Recognition Banquet that takes place on Friday, Oct. 15 in the renovated Wall of Honor alcove in the Paul N. Elbin Library and tickets are now available.
The 2021 Wall of Honor inductees are:
- Bill Beatty, Wellsburg, W.Va., naturalist, photographer, writer, educator
- Todd Bullard, deceased former college president and higher education leader
- Davie Jane Gilmour, Williamsport, Pa., college president and higher education leader
Beatty earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at West Liberty and went on to become a distinguished and well-known outdoor education specialist, naturalist and educator.
As Interpretive Naturalist for Oglebay Institute from 1972 – 1990, Beatty served at the A.B. Brooks Nature Center (now the Schrader Center), where he taught countless people of all ages about nature and natural history and led the Mountain Nature Camp for 12 years.
After he retired from the Oglebay position, he founded his consulting company, “Wild & Natural,” which specializes in nature and environmental programs, nature writing and nature photography. He has thousands of photos published in text books, magazines and other media.
From 1993 – 2008, Beatty was an instructor for the West Virginia Center for Professional Development where he taught innovative techniques to West Virginia teachers. Beatty also taught at West Liberty University for 16 years and guest lectured for many years and presented nature programs throughout the West Virginia State Park system.
He holds a Master Personal Bird Banding permit and has studied the breeding biology of Eastern Screech-Owls and the migration patterns of songbirds and Northern Saw-whet Owls. He is the author of “Bill and Bev Beatty’s Wild Plant Cookbook,” “Rainbows, Bluebirds and Buffleheads” and “Project Boys.”
Bullard earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at West Liberty in 1953, prior to serving in the U.S. Army. While at West Liberty, he founded the Chi Nu fraternity and served as student body president.
He then went on to earn a master’s at West Virginia University and a doctoral degree at University of Pittsburgh, all in political science.
He built a career in higher education, serving as the first director of the Parkersburg branch of West Virginia University, then as president of WVU Potomac State College, Keyser, W.Va. He served as the first provost of Rochester Institute of Technology, N.Y. from 1970 – 1980.
He served as Bethany College President from 1980 – 88 and after that role, he was scholar-in-residence at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., from 1988 – 1991.
Bullard served as president of West Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges and president of the West Virginia Association of College and University Presidents.
He was commissioner-at-large of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, chairman of the Council of Chief Academic Officers (Rochester Area Colleges) and a member and chair of evaluation teams of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
He passed away on Jan. 1, 2009.
Gilmour earned an associate degree in dental hygiene and a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene education at West Liberty. She went on to earn both a master’s and doctoral degree in health education from Penn State.
She then joined the Pennsylvania College of Technology (affiliated with Penn State) in 1977 as an instructor and curriculum developer in the Dental Hygiene Program.
Advancing through the administrative ranks, she became president in 1998 and has guided the institution through a period of robust growth and dynamic innovation, while overseeing its development into a national leader in applied technology education.
She directed an expansion of the main campus including construction of a new main entrance, administrative building, expanded library and student housing. During her tenure, Penn College also increased its baccalaureate degree offerings and established its first graduate-level programs.
While she has served as president, Penn College’s state appropriation funding rose along with fundraising and student scholarship assistance. A recognized leader in apprenticeship development, she worked with business and industry to address skills-gap shortages in fields like manufacturing, health care, plastics and polymers and transportation.
Gilmour served as director and past chair of Little League International, vice chair of UPMC Susquehanna and vice chair of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The 2020 inductees are:
- Gerald R. Crabtree, Woodside, Ca., a medical doctor and renowned professor
- Carol Spadafore Frum, Wheeling, W.Va., a dental hygienist and educator
- Barbara J. Laifer, Nashville, Tenn., an entertainer and educator
- Aaron J. “A.J.” Monseau, Morgantown, W.Va., a physician and educator
Gerald Crabtree grew up outside of Wellsburg, W.Va. and graduated from West Liberty in 1968. He went on to earn his medical degree from Temple Medical School in Philadelphia. Crabtree completed his residency at Dartmouth College in 1985 and shortly thereafter, joined the faculty of Stanford Medical School.
He was named the David Korn Professor in 2008 and was named Faculty Mentor of the Year that same year. He teaches and directs a laboratory investigating fundamental mechanisms underlying cancer and human neurodevelopment. His scientific accomplishments include discoveries related to the coding capacity of the human genome, the molecules involved in the immune response and the development of the nervous system.
Based on work in his Stanford laboratory, he cofounded three companies and is on the board of several charitable foundations.
Carol Spadafore Frum graduated from WLU’s Sarah Whitaker Glass School of Dental Hygiene in 1960. She was employed as a hygienist for 16 years before returning to the Hilltop and joining the Dental Hygiene Department as an adjunct clinical laboratory assistant in 1975.
In 1980, she was appointed a full-time course instructor and the clinical supervisor, a position she held for 16 years. She then went on to earn a master’s degree from West Virginia University in 1983.
As a WLU associate professor, she served as the program director for six years and on her retirement, she was named associate professor emeritus for her service to West Liberty.
She is a past member and chairperson of the WLU Alumni Association Board of Directors and continues to support the university and the dental hygiene program through an annually awarded scholarship.
A native of Wheeling, Barbara “Barb” Laifer is a 1975 graduate of West Liberty with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in music, speech and theatre with a minor in speech therapy. She earned a master’s in vocal performance from Austin Peay State University and a master’s of education in speech-language pathology from Tennessee State University.
She earned the Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech Language Pathologists (CCC-SLP) accreditation from the American Speech and Hearing Association and is an Actors’ Equity member.
She performed on stages from Wheeling to Europe and toured nationally as part of the New Seekers pop group. She has been featured as a soloist in diverse musical styles, including Mendelssohn Choir, Pittsburgh Opera, Nashville Symphony Chorus, Nashville Opera, and at Opryland, Nashville, Tenn. She is the founder of Barbara Laifer and Ye Olde Carolers.
As a teacher, her students were consistently recognized for excellence, including selection to sing at Carnegie Hall, and with a letter of recognition from former First Lady Michelle Obama. Her therapy work ranged from children to military veterans.
Laifer initiated the Vernon D. “Mike” Riemer Scholarship Fund to honor WLU’s now deceased speech professor.
Aaron Joel “AJ” Monseau grew up in West Liberty and was frequently on campus as his father Vince was a professor and coach and his mother an administrative secretary.
After completing his bachelor’s as an Elbin Scholar at West Liberty with a double major in biology and chemistry in 2003, Monseau earned his medical degree at West Virginia University. He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine followed by a Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of Michigan.
He is certified in both fields and currently serves at WVU as associate professor in emergency medicine, Head Team Physician and Medical Director for Athletics, and Fellowship Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine (a program he founded).
Monseau wrestled and ran cross country on the hilltop where he was an NCAA Division II Wrestling All-American, a 4-time NWCA Scholar All-American, 2-time team captain and NCAA Post-Graduate scholarship recipient.
In addition to clinical and administrative duties, Monseau is involved in research. He served as team physician for USA Wrestling for national and international competitions including the 2016 Rio Olympics. In 2017, the WVSSAC appointed him to their Sports Medicine Committee.
With other WLU wrestling alums, he established the Wrestling Legacy Gift to support the WLU wrestling program in 2018.
For more information, please visit westliberty.edu/alumni.