A distinguished life of service is Dr. Vivian Crane’s hallmark.
As a teacher and administrator, she has helped countless individuals receive an education. Her efforts in disaster relief have brought hope, help and comfort to many. Living a life of Christian faith, she touches those around her with care and concern. A willing volunteer, she is always ready to assist her neighbors.
For her devoted and tireless work, Dr. Crane has received a number of prestigious honors.
Especially notable are recognition as a Distinguished Mountaineer by West Virginia’s governor and the Governor’s Service Award for Lifetime Achievement.
A native and current resident of Rupert, W.Va. in Greenbrier County, Vivian graduated from Rupert High School in 1948. A summer job as a camp counselor and lifeguard at a Campfire Girls camp near Huntington, W.Va. provided her with a valuable learning experience.
“This was for a short period of time – some 21 weeks spread over four summers – but the camp director who was also the executive director of the Campfire program in Huntington taught me many principles of administration for running a successful and productive program within a structured environment that provided freedom and opportunities for achievement. I am sure that many of those teachings have contributed to my success throughout my professional and personal life,” she said.
Vivian graduated from Concord in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in education with teaching fields in mathematics and physical education. While she was a student at Concord, she participated in intra-mural sports and served as president of the Women’s Hall Council for a one year term. She was elected to various honorary organizations including Cardinal Key, Kappa Delta Pi and Chi Beta Phi.
Dr. Crane said her Concord education has served her well. “I think it helped solidify the foundation that my parents and community had made during my growing up years and gave me even more knowledge and skills to use in living my life,” she said.
Giving back to her alma mater in her characteristic way, Dr. Crane has served Concord in various capacities. A member of the Concord College Alumni Association Executive Council, she was president of the organization from 1992-1995. During her tenure, the Alumni Association organized a reunion in 1993 for cadets serving with the U.S. Army Air Corp’s 15th College Training Detachment who arrived on campus in 1943. Dr. Crane also served for one year on the Concord College Board of Advisors.
She was the recipient of the Alumni Association’s Golden Alumnus Award in 1994 and the Linda Fink Service Award in 1998.
After graduating from Concord, Vivian began her teaching career with a 13-year stint in Virginia and West Virginia high schools. She served as a high school principal for three years.
She received a master’s degree in mathematics education from the University of Virginia while enrolled as a National Science Foundation Fellow. She continued her education at the University of Virginia earning a doctorate in Educational Administration. Dr. Crane attended Purdue University in a summer program for math and science teachers as a General Electric Fellow. She also participated in extension classes through West Virginia University.
Dr. Crane served as coordinator of the Greenbrier Valley Extension Center of WVU, dean of the Greenbrier Community College Center of Bluefield State College, part-time instructor for WVU’s graduate education program, and as an educator and consultant in the nursing department of the Appalachian Regional Hospital in Beckley.
Following more than 30 years in public education, Dr. Crane retired and set out on what she describes as “a long desired adventure.”
She became a volunteer member of the National Disaster Services Human Resources System of the American Red Cross. Her duties included teaching others to be disaster responders, acting in an administrative capacity and personally providing service to victims of disaster. As a disaster responder, she provided assistance in the southeastern portion of the United States, the Midwest, California, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia and Puerto Rico.
For her extensive involvement with the American Red Cross, Dr. Crane has received special honors. The West Virginia State Service Council of the American Red Cross presented her with the Award for Commitment to Excellence in 1997. She has also received the American Red Cross Service Award from the Greenbrier Valley Chapter.
A major focus of her current volunteer work is with the Shepherd’s Center of Greenbrier Valley. “This is an organization of various churches providing service to elderly people so they can lead more active and enjoyable lives,” she said.
The center provides hot meals to seniors and transportation to medical appointments along with other services and educational opportunities. Dr. Crane works with various projects sponsored by the center including the Adventures in Learning classes.
“Adventures in Learning is a group of classes offered just for fun and enjoyment,” she said.
She is both a student and an instructor in the six-week courses. Recently, she and a friend taught a course entitled “Appalachian Lore.” She was also recently an eager pupil in a class that headed out on mountain treks and learned about fly fishing.
Dr. Crane is an active member of the United Methodist Church serving in her local congregation and on parish, district and conference levels. She is also a certified lay speaker.
An act of faith she considers especially meaningful is completion of the Walk to Emmaus. A ministry of The Upper Room, the Walk to Emmaus is an inspirational journey and time of spiritual renewal for Christians.
“It was a very significant experience,” she said. “I made the walk in 1990 and afterward worked on various Emmaus teams and helped establish additional Emmaus communities.”