Commencement Is May 16


  The Honorable Joseph R. Goodwin, featured speaker

West Virginia State University
Spring Commencement Is May 16

West Virginia State University (WVSU) will hold its spring commencement exercises at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 16 in the Charleston Civic Center. Approximately 245 students are expected to receive their diploma for a baccalaureate or a master's degree.

Included will be those will be graduates who earned their degree in August 2009 or December 2009 but did not get the chance to participate in the December ceremony which was canceled due to a power outage. The graduates received their diploma by mail and were given the opportunity to return for the May ceremony. Approximately 50 opted to participate in the celebration.

The featured speaker for the event will be the Honorable Joseph R. Goodwin. Judge Goodwin serves as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of West Virginia. He has been Chief Judge since 2007.

Judge Goodwin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia University in 1965 and served on active duty as a captain in the U.S. Army. He graduated from the WVU College of Law in1970 where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review. After law school, he and his brother, Tom, practiced law together in Ripley and Charleston, WV. In 1971 Judge Goodwin was City Attorney for the City of Ripley and he served as a Municipal Judge. In 1995 he was appointed to his current position with the Southern District by President Bill Clinton.

President Carter will bestow on Judge Goodwin, an Honorary Doctor of Laws. Honorary degrees at West Virginia State University are conferred upon distinguished alumni, or persons who have achieved prominence in education, civic, artistic, business and other professions. The Honorary Doctor of Laws is regarded as an appropriate award for distinguished service to the state, to learning, and to mankind.

Dr. Carter will also present his presidential awards. Individuals are selected to receive the Hazo W. Carter, Jr. Awards for achievement in their chosen profession and for their outstanding contribution in the areas of alumni affairs, business, community service and education They are:

Alumni Afrairs - Mrs. Brenda Howard, WVSU '76. Mrs. Howard taught special education students in Kanawha County schools for 37 years. In retirement, she became a greeter in the WVSU cafeteria. She is being recognized for her ongoing contributions to her alma mater and her services to promote the well being of students, faculty, and staff.

 Business  - Ms. Jennettia Spencer, owner of Jen's Southern Barbeque in Institute and formerly in Nitro, WV, in apprecation of her services to WVSU students, faculty and staff.

Community Service - Mr. Stephen D. Walker, former president and CEO of Walker Machinery and former chair of the WVSU Foundation Board of Directors, in recognition of his commitment to promoting economic development and growth of business in the Kanawha Valley.

Education - Mr. Stephen A. Knighton, Principal, Piedmont Elementary School, for his leadership in enhancing the academic development and success of students.

President Carter will also recognize the 2009 Teacher of the Year who was supposed to have participated in the cancelled December commencement. She is Mrs. Susan Duernburger who recently retired from Dupont Middle School.

Dr. R. Charles Byers, Vice President for Academic Affairs, WVSU '68, will serve as grand marshal. He will be assisted by faculty marshals, all of whom are WVSU graduates.

Musical selections will be provided by the West Virginia State University Concert Band under the leadership of Scott Woodard.

WVSU commencement exercises are open to the public. A reception will follow.

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