WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Feb. 16, 2023 — West Liberty University will welcome Attorney and Pastor David M. Fryson as its keynote speaker for the conclusion of Black History Month on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
The noon – 2 p.m. event is open to the public and will be held in College Hall.
Also appearing at the celebration will be the WLU Choir and the WLU African Drum and Dance Ensemble.
Fryson is the senior pastor of the New First Baptist Church of Kanawha City and also serves as a national diversity consultant. His last national assignment was as the interim vice president and chief diversity officer for Brandeis University in Boston. Prior to that, Fryson retired as the senior advisor to West Virginia University (WVU) President E. Gordon Gee for Diversity Community Outreach. He previously served as founding vice president for the WVU Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and inaugural chief diversity officer. He also previously served as the deputy general counsel for WVU.
Fryson’s young life was defined by being a musician and he started playing professionally as a drummer from the age of 11. During his school years he played in the King Kurtis Band, the Soul Explosion and was a founding member of Ebony and the Greek. With these bands he played on shows with the O’Jays, Percy Sledge, Dennis Coffee and the Detroit Guitar Band, along with other national acts.
Pastor Fryson graduated from West Virginia State College (now University) in 1979. In 1988, he was awarded the Doctor of Jurisprudence from West Virginia University School of Law.
In addition to heading Fryson Law Offices for many years, he served as staff attorney for the Honorable Randolph Baxter, chief bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland, Ohio, as a senior attorney for the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner and was an associate with Preiser Law Offices and McQueen and Brown Law Offices. He was the attorney in successful and historic civil rights cases and other major litigation.
He served as the first African American Chief Legal Official for two municipalities, South Charleston and Dunbar, W.Va. and, before becoming an attorney, served on the Governor’s Economic Development staff for two West Virginia governors.
He also served on the Board of Governors for the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
He has been involved with the state and local NAACP, the Charleston Job Corps Centers, and the Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of America.
In 2014 he was recognized as a West Virginia Bar Fellow which is awarded to lawyers whose professions, public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding and honorable service to the legal profession. Fryson also received the 2015 Certificate of Recognition from the West Virginia Governor’s Office and the West Virginia Human Rights Commission. In 2016 he received a national Role Model Award from Minority Access Incorporated in Washington, DC. In January 2018 he received the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from the St. Albans Ministerial Association.
Fryson is an ordained pastor and has served as an elder and pastor for over 35 years.
Known for his understanding of African American political and cultural history, Fryson has written over 150 articles on African American political and social issues. He has often appeared as political commentator on local and national radio and television programs such as Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval and West Virginia Public Radio’s Front Porch.
He has a published book entitled Bitter or Better: The Seven Principles of Adversity in a Believer’s Life and is working on an introspective tentatively entitled Hill Williams; The story of Educated African Americans in Appalachian West Virginia.
Pastor Fryson has been married to Joy Morris Fryson 46 years and they have three children.
Activities for Black History Month were planned by a subcommittee of WLU’s Diversity Committee consisting of: Dr. Eveldora Wheeler, Dr. Martin White, Dr. Stuart Cantlay, Dr. Cecilia Konchar Farr and employee Ryan Glanville.
For more information on the activities of Black History Month or the Diversity Committee, please visit westliberty.edu/diversity.