West Liberty, W.Va., Dec. 5, 2020 — West Liberty University celebrated its Fall Commencement in a virtual ceremony at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, streamed on Topper Station. This marked the second time that the university had to resort to a taped broadcast instead of in-seat ceremony due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
“We are extremely proud of our graduates and wish them the best in their futures. This is your day and we celebrate it in your honor. You have worked hard during unforeseeable circumstances and I congratulate you and thank you for selecting West Liberty University,” said Dr. Stephen Greiner, WLU’s outgoing president who is retiring.
Greiner also took time to congratulate all family members and friends who helped WLU’s graduates earn this honor and made special mention of faculty and staff for extraordinary service during COVID-19.
WLU’s virtual choir opened the prerecorded program with the National Anthem and Alma Mater as they performed outdoors on the porch of Colonial Heights.
One-hundred and thirty-three students are expected to complete their degree requirements during the fall semester and 35 summer graduates also joined the fall ceremony.
Board of Governors Chairperson and alumnus Rich Lucas spoke to graduates and offered his best wishes. Lucas encouraged all graduates to return to campus in the future.
Samantha Pearl of Wheeling was the student speaker. Graduating from the College of Liberal Arts, Pearl majored in Interdisciplinary Studies and a completed a minor in Psychology. The daughter of Darlene Cooke, who passed away in 2019 and Chris Cooke of Pennsylvania, Pearl plans to enter law school after graduation.
Pearl described her journey through college and the support that she found from faculty and friends on the Hilltop as she arrived as a transfer student, dealt with the unexpected loss of her mother, changed majors and began to study philosophy.
She ended by paraphrasing the writings of philosopher and writer Leo Tolstoy: “Without the darkest days, we cannot fully appreciate the light; without the suffering, without the challenges, without the days when we have no hope, we cannot find meaning or purpose, and we truly would not know ourselves.”
Additional remarks and best wishes were made by distinguished guests including:
- WLU Board of Governor Jack Adams
- Mayor Glenn Elliott
- Delegate Shawn Fluharty
- Delegate Erikka Storch
- Rev. Darrell Cummings
- Oglebay Institute President Danielle McCracken
- YWCA Community Outreach Director Ron Scott Jr.
- Wheeling Symphony Maestro John Devlin
Other graduating seniors with the highest GPA in each respective college are selected as the college banner carrier, these include:
- College of Arts & Communications Katherine Stamper, Glen Dale, W.Va.
- College of Sciences Abbey Cusick, Shadyside, Ohio
- West College of Business Clay McDonald, Valley Grove, W.Va.
- College of Education & Human Performance Larrin Shriver, Lost Creek, W.Va.
- College of Liberal Arts Katarina Donzella, Wheeling, W.Va.
- School of Professional Studies Donna Schuler, St. Clairsville, Ohio
The ceremony was live on WLU’s streaming platform Topper Station (topperstation.com) and on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube LIVE.
The virtual ceremony will also air live on WLU-TV14 (Comcast Channel 14) and will be replayed throughout the day.
West Liberty University is a forward-looking, four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution. For more information, please call 1.866.937.8542 (WESTLIB) or visit westliberty.edu, follow WLU on social media or view westliberty.edu/youtube.