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Advancement & Alumni

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Welcome to the Office of Advancement at Concord University

The Concord University Office of Advancement works to seek out and develop ways to engage individuals, groups, organizations, the business community and others by encouraging partnerships and worthwhile channels between those who wish to contribute to Concord through gifts of time, talent and/or finances.  Either through the receipt of a gift or through involvement, supporting the University provides a return on investment for our donors, creating deep and lasting ties to the University – as well as to the students we serve.

Our goal is to communicate efficiently with the more than 23,000 alums across our country and around the globe.  The Office of Advancement is responsible for the Concord University quarterly magazine, all interaction with media, including press releases, online publications, social media and the general management of the University’s image.

We strive to highlight the accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff as well as the successes of our alumni.  We truly believe the Mountain Lion family is the foundation to Concord’s 150 year history and the lifeline to everything our University has in store for its future.

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Alumni Spotlight Nomination

November 2022: Delnora Reed ’96

Delnora, a native of Princeton, WV, is a singer/songwriter in Nashville, TN who has been excelling in her music career throughout the year. She was recently nominated for Album and Vocalist of the Year by the Josie Music Awards held at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on October 23. Over the summer, she won the Inspirational Country Music Awards New Artist of the Year and Inspirational Song of the Year. Delnora was also on the cover of Christian Power Source magazine for the September 2022 issue.

October 2022: Pamela Fink ’03

Pamela “LeeAnn” Fink has been named the 2022 Administrator of the Year by the West Virginia Health Care Association (WVHCA) while serving as the Executive Director of Mercer Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, in Bluefield, WV. Pamela’s dedication to her community, residents, and profession has spanned across several years. Congratulations to Pamela on this well-deserved award, thank you for making a difference in the lives of many in our region!

September 2022: Henrietta Skeens ’88

Henrietta Skeens

As a 1988 Business Administration graduate of Concord and a CPA, Henrietta Skeens was recently appointed as Chief Financial Officer of UP Health System – Marquette. Henrietta’s experience in multiple accounting firms and serving in a number of CFO roles has prepared her for this new appointment. Congratulations, Henrietta!

August 2022: Ashley Wheeler ’17

Ashley Wheeler

The month of August brings the highly anticipated West Virginia State Fair and this year Ashley Wheeler ’17 was announced as the winner of the First Annual State Fair of WV Official Art Contest. Ashley’s artwork ‘Lucky Duck’ which showcases a young boy holding a duck with the scenery of the fair in the background is featured as the official print of the State Fair. Congratulations to Ashley on this achievement!

July 2022: Dr. Jason Gardner ’01

Jason Gardner

Congratulations to Dr. Jason Gardner on being named as the new superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District in Mooresville, NC! Since graduating from Concord in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Dr. Gardner has served in a variety of roles across the span of 20 years in public education that has prepared him to lead Mooresville Graded School District. We wish Jason the best of luck in this new role!

June 2022: Norma Acord ’10

Norma Acord

Congratulations to Norma Acord on being named Teacher of the Year for Wyoming County Schools for the 2021-2022 school year! Norma is a 2010 graduate of Concord with a degree in Studio Art and has taught at Wyoming East High School for the past three years. The one ceramics class at Concord that influenced her decision to pursue art has now touched the lives of many students in Wyoming County. We are Concord Proud of the many educators making a difference in their communities!

May 2022: Riley Fitzwater ’21, ’22

Riley Fitzwater

Fellow Mountain Lion, Riley Fitzwater, will be pursuing a professional basketball career after signing with BC Triple Threat in the Netherlands. The team competes in the highest level in the Netherlands as part of the Women’s Basketball League. Riley becomes the first Concord women’s basketball player to sign a professional contract once exhausting eligibility in the Maroon and Gray. Congratulations Riley, we look forward to cheering you on from Athens!

April 2022: Jennifer Polk ’10

Jennifer Polk

Congratulations to Jennifer Polk on being sworn in as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Mercer County. She says she could start by working in magistrate court, and possibly doing abuse and neglect cases. The past six years Jennifer served as a law clerk for Judge Wills. We wish Jennifer the best of luck in this new role as she serves the citizens in our local area!

March 2022: Chance Raso ’15

Chance Raso

The March alumni spotlight features Chance Raso ’15 on his recent appointment as a Special Projects Coordinator with the NRGRDA. Raso was a former park ranger at the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and has joined the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) to bolster its outdoor recreation capabilities and support coordination of gateway community projects.

February 2022: Erin Ellis-Reid ’15

Erin Ellis-Reid

Congratulations to Erin on her recent appointment as Oak Hill’s new Community and Economic Development Coordinator! In this role Erin will be seeking grants, engaging the community, and identifying ways to further promote and grow the city of Oak Hill. We wish Erin the best of luck in this new adventure!

January 2022: Robby Moore ’03

Robby Moore

January’s alumni spotlight features Robby Moore ’03 for his recent exhibit at Carnegie Hall celebrating February’s Black History Month. Robby is one of three artists who is featured in the exhibits that run through March 25. Robby is the Executive Director of the Beckley Arts Center and co-founded Treehouse Arts Ensemble in WV where he currently serves on the Board of Directors.

To read more about Robby and the Carnegie Hall exhibits, click here!

December 2021: Ashley Stover ’14

Ashley Stover

Congratulations to Ashley Stover ’14 on being promoted to Director of Internal Audit at First Community Bank! Ashley is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and holds a Certificate in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) through the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). In addition to her professional duties she also serves as the Membership Officer for the IIA’s Southwest Virginia Chapter. Ashley is a Mercer County native, graduating as valedictorian of her class at Concord. Congratulations Ashley, we wish you the best in this new role!

November 2021: Samuel Lusk ’20

Samuel Lusk

This month’s Alumni Spotlight is Samuel Lusk for recently being named at the beginning of the semester the first Director of the newly formed Princeton Economic Development Authority! Samuel is a former member of Rep. Carol Miller’s staff and 2020 graduate of Concord. In his role he is working to help with economic development in Princeton alongside the PEDA Board of Directors. To read the full release on Samuel’s position, please click here.

We wish Samuel the best of luck in this position and look forward to seeing all the great things he accomplishes for the area in this role!

September 2021: Fumika Nakamura ‘05

Fumika Nakamura

This month we wanted to spotlight Concord alum Fumika Nakamura for her participation in the Tokyo Olympics! Not only did she get to represent her home country of Japan on the tennis courts during the Summer Games, but she was also selected to carry the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremonies.

Congratulations to Fumika on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

August 2021: Charity Holman ‘99

Charity Holman

Congratulations to Concord grad Charity Yates Holman on being promoted to General Manager of WVVA in Bluefield, WV! Charity has held a number of sales positions for the station since she joined WVVA in 2006. She has served as the station’s General Sales Manager since 2014, and she added the position of Station Manager to her responsibilities in January 2019. In her new role, Charity will maintain her role as General Sales Manager.

Charity has long been active in the local community. She has served as an Executive Board member on the Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias for the last five years. Charity also serves on the Board of Directors for the Mercer County Child Protect. She received the “Volunteer of the Year” award from the Princeton Mercer County Chamber of Commerce in 2011.

We wish Charity the best of luck in this new role!

July 2021: Jina Belcher ’09

Jina Belcher

Congratulations to Jina Belcher on being recognized by the state business journal as one of its 2021 Generation Next “40 Under 40” recipients! Each year the WV News and The State Journal honor 40 West Virginians under the age of 40 who are “making a difference in their business and communities.” This year’s awards ceremony was held June 17 at the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center in downtown Clarksburg. Belcher currently serves as the executive director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority.

June 2021: Kevin Garay ’97

Kevin Garay

Congratulations to Concord alum Kevin Garay on his recent promotion to Superintendent of Kannapolis City Schools in North Carolina! Kevin has a more than 20-year career in education and has been serving as the Assistant Superintendent in that district since 2019. He has been named Principal of the Year for KCS and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in the past. He also led the creation of a strategic plan for the district and coordinated their pandemic instruction methods.

We wish Kevin the best of luck as he transitions to this new role this summer!

May 2021: Michelle Keeney Martin ’04

Michelle Martin

Congratulations to Concord alum Michelle Martin on being selected as the 2022 Teacher of the Year for Mercer County Schools! Michelle teaches a 4th and 5th grade split at Athens Elementary School and was selected for the county award after being named Teacher of the Year at her school.

To read more about Michelle’s recognition please visit:
Mercer County Schools announces 2022 Teacher of the Year (wvva.com)

As we celebrate teachers everywhere during Teacher Appreciation Week in May, we are proud of all the outstanding teachers out there, like Michelle, who call themselves Concord alums!

April 2021: Candace Justice ’05

Candace Justice

Congratulations to Candace Daniel Justice ’05 on recently being named the Community College Faculty Member of the Year by the Tennessee Board of Regents! Justice is the director of instructional design and associate professor of English at Walters State Community College, located in Morristown, TN. She is the first Walters State faculty member to receive this honor which was presented during a virtual ceremony on March 25.

To read the full release about her recognition please visit: https://www.greenevillesun.com/features/education/wsccs-justice-receives-soar-award-from-tbr/article_e6edbfde-1649-5d9f-8fba-24e8327808a2.html

March 2021: Lindsey Reed Byars ’03

Lindsey Byars

This month we wanted to feature Concord alum and employee Lindsey Byars for recently having not one but two books published in which she is a contributing writer! “Unmasked: Reflections on Virus-time” is available on Amazon in Kindle format and “Humans in the Wild: Reactions to a Gun Loving Country” is also available in Kindle and paperback format on Amazon. Both books were released this past fall and have pieces written by Lindsey in them. Lindsey has worked on campus in the President’s office since December 2018 and is currently working on a Master’s degree through Harvard University.

Congratulations to Lindsey on having her first pieces published!

February 2021: Scott Noble ’13

Scott Noble

Congratulations to Concord alum Scott Noble for starring in a film that was featured during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival! Noble plays the role of Dennis in the film “First Date”, a comedy directed by Manuel Crosby and Darren Knapp.

We are proud of Scott for such an outstanding accomplishment!

January 2021: Becky Payton ‘96

Becky Payton

Congratulations to Concord alum and Athens native Becky Payton ’96 on recently being selected as the winner of the 2020 Joan E. D. Kushnir Teacher of the Year Award for Adult Education by the Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education (VAACE)! Becky is a teacher and career coach at the Thomas Jefferson Adult Career Education Center of Piedmont Virginia Community College, located in Charlottesville.

To find out more about Becky’s work in the adult education field and her journey from Athens to Charlottesville please visit: https://www.bdtonline.com/news/athens-native-becky-payton-wins-virginia-teacher-award/article_cbcdecaa-32aa-11eb-88fc-5b1df5fb0c0f.html

We are proud of alums like Becky who are truly making a difference in the lives of others!