Topper Spotlight


Jerry Lucarelli '72Jerry Lucarelli ‘72

Alumnus Jerry Lucarelli, Elizabeth Township, Pa., was recently honored by the city of Pittsburgh when his hometown named the musician to its Jazz Society’s Hall of Fame.

Originally from Carrick, a little town in Pittsburgh, Lucarelli said he considers himself fortunate to be honored by the society.

“The competition in Pittsburgh is just phenomenal. I am grateful that I was selected,” said Lucarelli, who continues to play jazz for Pittsburgh audiences and recently retired from another musical endeavor as his church organist.

He’s been in love with music since he was a child. Known as the “Jazz Cowboy” because of his other interest in horses, Lucarelli is an interesting, talented guy.

He taught music for years in the Clairton and Keystone Oaks school districts where he enjoyed introducing students to jazz and providing musical instruction.

He began playing an instrument at age 4 when he learned the accordion. He studied classical piano during his youth and was about 7 or 8 years old when he composed his first song. After he became a pianist in the U.S. Army, he got into jazz.

It was after leaving the service that Lucarelli went to college.

“I thought West Liberty offered a great education. The music department was exceptional,” he said recently. “I know students that went to bigger schools but didn’t get as good an education as I did.”

Lucarelli returns to campus occasionally to say hello to professors and stay informed about the music program and its many offerings.

Lucarelli and his wife Sally are the parents of one adult son, Gerry Jr., who also lives in the Pittsburgh area.



Alumna Margaret Moninger '28Margaret Isiminger Moninger ’28

Alumna Margaret Isiminger Moninger, New Freeport, Pa., celebrated her 105th birthday on Feb. 4, 2013!

A 1928 graduate of then-West Liberty State Teachers College, Moniger is healthy and happy. Her daughter Shirley Zimmerman reported that Moninger has received more than 200 birthday cards and despite the weather, 100 friends turned out for her recent open house birthday celebration.

Margaret was the fifth out of nine children born to Henry and Lucinda Isiminger and grew up in the Aleppo area.

She graduated in 1927 from Cameron High School, in Cameron, W.Va. After receiving her teaching certificate at West Liberty, she taught in one-room school houses for three years before getting married. In 1929, she married Donley Moninger, of New Freeport. The couple celebrated 66 years of marriage before Don passed away in 1995 at the age of 91. They have four children, Eugene Moninger (Nancy, both deceased), Shirley Zimmerman (Paul, deceased) of New Freeport, Sharron Creighton (David) of Findlay, Ohio, and Calvin Moninger (Lois, deceased) of Cameron, W.Va.; ten grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren (4 deceased); and three great-great-granchildren.

If you’re wondering what her secret to longevity is, she isn’t telling.

“It’s a secret and I’m not telling,” Moninger told WLU director of media relations Maureen Zambito, who called to convey WLU’s best birthday wishes.

To read more about this remarkable alumna, read the article from The Intelligencer.



Robert Price '92Robert Price ’92

Alumnus Robert Price, Carnegie, Pa., earned his Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design degree at West Liberty University in 1992. He is now known as the graphic designer responsible for the National Memorial Logo for Flight 93 that honors the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, who lost their lives when their hijacked plane bound for Washington, D.C., crashed in Shanksville, Pa. on 9-11-01, as part of the coordinated terrorist attach on the United States.

This design will forever be a part of our national history. His other recent design projects include the 2013 Downtown Pittsburgh Light Up Night, the Pittsburgh Steelers Merchandising Catalog, PizzaRev Web Site and Marketing Materials along with others.

In fact, he’s now celebrating 20 years of award-winning graphic design and creative solutions in the Pittsburgh region, where he most recently began his own design firm.

But back to the Friends of Flight 93 logo, which is the pinnacle of his graphic design effort. The meaning behind the design elements in the logo, include meaningful details and serious thought, according to Price.

“The rolling hills in the logo represent the environment and scenic views at the crash site. Stonycreek Township, located in Somerset County, where the plane crashed, is a high tableland between two mountain ridges – the Laurel Mountains to the west and the Allegheny Mountains to the east.

Visitors to the memorial are struck by these mountain vistas, so I wanted to represent that in the logo.

Another important characteristic of the memorial is the wide views of the sky. This is so appropriate since the courageous actions of the passengers and crew on Flight 93 transpired in the sky. The contrails in the sky are probably the most important part of the logo, in my opinion. The presence of this small detail makes it clear that the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial is about remembering and sharing the story about Flight 93—not simply supporting a nature park with beautiful fields and mountain views. The contrails are a way of representing the presence of Flight 93 crossing the sky. While we didn’t want to use a plane image, per say, use of the contrails allows us to represent the plane and, by extension, the passengers and crew who were on-board, in the logo.

The black base of the logo calls to mind the black concrete and black granite benches and walkways at the memorial.”

To view images of the new memorial plaza, visit the website For more information on Price and his graphic design business, visit

Read more here, Huffington Post coverage of the Flight 93 Memorial in a recent article that reflects an increase in visitors.

Author: IA Staff

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