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Spring 2015

We asked for your thoughts on the stories in the magazine, and you didn’t disappoint. Here are a few of the letters that we received. We really appreciate hearing your point of view on the stories and news about our University. Keep ’em coming.

When my children came along, I instilled in them the fact that wherever they were, whatever they were doing, however difficult or embarrassing a situation it might have been, I was a phone call away with a free taxi service for as many as were needed with no questions asked. I only had to use that service a couple times because they were infinitely more responsible than I was. 

A few years ago, I did some research on how the narrative/study was written about the biggest party schools in the country. I found out that one of the major contributors to the survey happened to be the number of DUI infractions that occurred in Morgantown during a given year. 

Drinking and partying in Morgantown is going to be around for a long time. The fact that we are in the top-five party schools in the country to a number of people is a huge plus. There are folks that realize how great a school we have and how great of education can be obtained, but also they want to be a part of the party environment at the college and in the town. 

It is my humble opinion that if the University took steps to eradicate the drinking and driving from the whole situation by implementing a much larger free ride home taxi service for anyone who would care to partake of it, the DUI infractions would go down markedly. Without this vital statistic, we would still be a party school, but they wouldn’t really know how to rate us using quantifiable data. 

Jonathan P. Cavendish
BM ’70, Music
Charleston, W.Va.

Your piece on the post-game riots was reasoned, well-informed and merits further comment.

It seems absurd to me that the University has the audacity to set up alcohol education classes. This from the same University that sells beer at football games, all in the name of the mighty dollar. That practice has certainly degraded the fan atmosphere at Mountaineer Field and needs to stop.

Also I would not put too much faith in the effectiveness of these Twitter hashtag campaigns. That is merely a way for a student to take a few seconds of cell phone time to make an entry and then deceive themselves into thinking they have actually done something to help solve the problem. They have not. In fact social media often fuels the fire of these anti-social outbreaks.

In the end though it is neither the beer sales nor social media that caused this embarrassment; it all comes down to personal conduct. Expel those at fault and don’t let them back. Standards of conduct work every time.

David Long
BS ’77, Agriculture and Forestry
Keyser, W.Va.

I sincerely commend WVU for bringing alcohol to the forefront of campus conversations. It is in this direction that positive change will occur. There is no place for blame and no time for shame. Moving forward with open conversations about where alcohol has taken our youth and how adults can help them be safe will certainly continue to improve the situation. In my conversations with my son, I at least felt as though my son was receiving a more unbiased opinion about alcohol and what it was really capable of doing to his brain, his health and his life. 

Because alcohol is here to stay, let’s make sure we give our kids a balanced view. Our kids are getting the message loud and clear from the alcohol industry. It’s up to us to provide the other message. If you are not sure how to start the conversation or how to keep it going, seek out help from local agencies that specialize in prevention work. It may seem difficult at first, but kids usually appreciate the truth. They don’t like it when they are being taken in, used or fooled. Give them the facts about alcohol and current brain science and they’ll sort out the rest. But, definitely give them the facts. It can’t hurt. In my case it has only helped.

Annmarie Shafer
Mountaineer parent of ’15
speech pathology major
Branchville, N.J.

I loved seeing the old photo of Mountaineer Field. I was in the marching band in 1979 – the last year we used the field. I’m so glad I was able to experience the tunnel run and the excitement of being in that stadium. I remember my very first tunnel run. I stood there listening to the roar of the fans right before we ran and then “Pow!” We were off! The sound of the fans cheering us as we made our beautiful shapes was something I’ll never forget. 

Jennifer Lehman
BS ’83, Journalism
Bristow, Va.

You asked for comments, so here goes: Good photography, good writing, but the new design is not my cup of tea. The cover, in fact, is the worst I have ever seen. Absolutely atrocious. Take another look at it. Does it invite you inside? Make you want to read the rest of the publication? When the magazine arrived, I thought the mail carrier had dropped it onto my rain-soaked driveway. 

Bennett Smith
BS ’53, Journalism
Wilmington, Del.

I love this magazine. When it arrives, I read it cover to cover. I especially like the new format – the little vignettes are small but very informative. I really enjoy reading about how WVU is helping small towns rebuilding. Several years ago, I was in tears driving through downtown Shinnston – there was almost nothing there. Then I read a story about how the University was helping small businesses get established there. It made me very proud that money I contribute to the Foundation is helping do that.

Susan Sharpe Higginbotham
BS ’61, Home Economics
Bolingbrook, Ill.

WVU is extremely fortunate to have President Gee as their president. I was at OSU when he was their president. Everyone liked him and admired him for his hard work and dedication. He is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He will probably go down in history as being the most successful president at WVU. For being 70, President Gee is really amazing for endurance. I can only wish that he continue his good work at WVU.

Edward Lee Smith
BS ’66, Physical Education and Biological Sciences, MS ’67, Recreation Fort Pierce, Fla.

Great story about Gee [Returning with Pride]. I first ran into him many years ago when he was in his first tenure at Ohio State. I was part of an accreditation visit, and the team generally met with the president or provost of the University. As you might imagine, he made the appearance, did not delegate and regaled us with this and that. He has not changed and maybe has gotten better.

K. Roger Hornbrook
BS ’58, Pharmacy Oklahoma City, Okla.

I attended WVU for my sophomore through senior years (freshman year at Clemson). My first year there (1966-67) I lived at 17 Grant Ave. in a then just-completed private dorm complex in Sunnyside. It was just across the street from the old stadium. I remember walking around the corner to the Sunnyside Superette to get food. At that time they had a student card that you could purchase at a discount. Each time that you made a purchase, they would punch out the amount, until the card was used up. I was on a tight budget of $2 a day for food and entertainment! I could clear about $900 working full time in the summer. I was also on the WVU Cross Country and Track teams, so I got a lot of free food when we traveled. Junior year, I was on scholarship, so I had it a little easier. Yes everything was cheaper, but it still took me 10 years to pay off my student loans after graduation. I truly enjoyed my years at WVU, but I surely didn't live the wild party life that some students did. I was lucky to be able to afford a beer or two each week! On my last visit to the WVU campus with my brother (also a 1969 graduate of WVU), we could hardly recognize the place! The stadium, where we had run so many miles, was gone and a lot of other changes made things look very different. We did get to ride the PRT to Evansdale. It was being built, along with the Coliseum, while we were there, but wasn't completed yet. The Mountainlair was brand new then as well and I remember protesting to have beer served in there! Thank our class for that! Thanks for the walk down memory lane and the photo of the old stadium where I spent so much time.

Brian D. Wyllie
AB ’69, Economics Fort Myers, Fla.

I received the fall 2014 issue in the mail today – Jan. 5, 2015. I’m noticing that the inside front cover and page 48 are Christmas-themed. What’s up with the delay?

Jeff McDanald
BS ’80, Journalism Nicholasville, Ky.

I just wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed reading the latest issue. The magazine from cover to cover held my attention and interest, especially the article on the returning of E. Gordon Gee. The new format of the magazine made it much easier to follow. Kudos to the entire staff.

Shirley Nichter
WVU retiree Sewickley, Pa.

I recently saw a picture of old Mountaineer Field posted on the WVU Facebook page. It brought back a lot of memories! I went to WVU from 1983-1987 so the old stadium was there the whole time until it was razed in 1987. I remember it being in such disrepair at the end; a real eyesore. But I knew my parents had gone to games in that stadium (they met at the Mountainlair their freshman year) and my grandfather had attended many games there too. I even pledged the same sorority my great aunt did (Pi Beta Phi) in 1921! So even though I'm a Virginia native, I had lots of family history with WVU. Anyway, so even though the old stadium looked awful and needed to be torn down, I enjoyed still being able to see it every day.

When it was finally demolished in 1987 (my senior year at WVU), a bunch of people went there just before it was torn down to grab pieces of AstroTurf and pieces of wood stadium seats as souvenirs. I have my own small piece of wooden stadium seat that I've kept, always hoping one day I'd get WVU carved out of it to hang on my wall.

Anyway, thanks for the memories!

Jamie Wood
BS ’87, Business Administration Mechanicsville, Va.

This guy [Former Sen. Jay Rockefeller] never reflected the views of West Virginia. He voted his left wing, socialistic views more than he voted for West Virginia.

Howard E. Shouffler
BS ’69, Secondary Education/Mathematics Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

Best format ever. Sat down and read from cover to cover, enjoying every word. Thanks for all the work that went into the new format. It's interesting, informative, readable and simply great. Thanks again.

Donna S. Hastings
BS ’71, Elementary Education Charleston, W.Va.

Hello! Wow! I am so excited to have received a copy of the WVU Magazine in its updated format. Everything is so well written, and I spent time reading the whole thing not just 10 minutes skimming over it. Thanks for a job well done. Great magazine! Who do I contact to update my address since I moved recently?

Julie Jessop
BSN ’82, Nursing Sylvania, Ohio

The newly designed magazine arrived yesterday (Jan. 3) and is gorgeous. Great work! It is very inviting, with wonderful photos, graphics and page layout. I also want to compliment the writing of Diana Mazzella. The ending sentence of her article "Messages from Anonymous" gave me goose bumps. 

I do have one request: please consider a slightly larger font size for the body copy of the articles to help those of us over a certain age. It is a shame that the articles are much easier to read online than in paper format since the paper magazine is such a treat visually in all other respects. Thanks for the great work and for considering this suggestion though I have no doubt you considered font size as part of your redesign. Again, congratulations to the team.

Susan Kelley
BA ’74, History Orlando, Fla.

This is the best issue of WVU Magazine I have ever read. I usually would look to see if there was any news or obits of classmates and that was all because the articles were not interesting. Congratulations.

The Sunnyside article was very interesting. My husband's family moved to Grant Avenue when he was in junior high school. We both lived there after we were married. He completed studies for his BS degree and taught a year at Suncrest Junior High. I taught at Wiles Hill Elementary School. The neighborhood was filled with interesting people till they aged and died, and absentee landlords took over ruining the neighborhood.

Mary Lilly
BS ’59, Elementary Education Raleigh, N.C.

We’re listening. You are our greatest voice. So use it. Use this form to send us story ideas, letters to the editor, questions for a future guest on Ask an Expert, memories for the Flashback section or tales for the Alumni Diary.

You Tell Us Archive

Fall 2014

Here’s what our readers have to say about their University and WVU Magazine.

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Fall 2015

Many WVU Magazine readers had plenty to say about our cover story "A Future on the Side of Equality."

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Fall 2016

You shared your memories of the Mountaineer Marching Band and were touched by the story of Margie Mason, a journalist who helped to free more than 2,000 people from slavery.

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Spring 2015

Everyone had a lot to say, from insights about last issue’s cover story “Where We Go From Here” to thoughts on our new design.

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Spring 2016

You had touching stories about your own health after our cover story on stroke and you had lots of fond memories about the Evansdale campus in response to the Flashback photo from the late 1960s.

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Summer 2016

Readers were delighted with the research issue's coverage of art and science, and had some pointed comments on the Volkswagen emissions scandal story.

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