SRO for Rahall Technology Dedication Ceremony
Athens, W.Va. – For the first time since 1972, Concord University was pleased to dedicate a new building on campus, the Nick Rahall Technology Center. The event included tours of the four-floor building and a ceremony. Attendance for the Rahall Technology Center Dedication was “standing room only.”
In his invocation, Mr. Michael Curry referred to the new building as “a vital and promising reality for today and generations of the future.”
Dr. Jerry Beasley welcomed nearly 200 visitors, praising Congressman Rahall with the opening remarks, “If it wouldn’t have been for his endorsement and energetic dedication, we wouldn’t be where we are now.” Rahall arranged for funding from congressional budgets to go toward the construction of the technology center.
Beasley gave special recognition to members of planning and construction committees and to individuals who supported the project, such as R.W. “Buz” Wilkinson, president of the Hugh I. Shott, Jr. Foundation, Inc. Beasley spoke of White Hall, the former men’s residence hall that was replaced by the Rahall Center. It had been unoccupied for nearly 20 years. At first, university officials were considering preserving White Hall and converting it into a technology center, but Todd Boggess, architect of the Rahall Center, persuaded them otherwise. Boggess organized floor plans so that two wings of White Hall could be preserved and connected to the new building.
The building is set to house Concord’s Entrepreneurial Studies Program, the Division of Business, graphic arts studies, and the campus’ radio station. It will serve as an incubator for small businesses and facilitate job creation in the southern West Virginia area.
Ron Basini, director of the Business Incubator and Entrepreneurial Studies Program, said of the program, “This room we are gathered in today will become the incubator for seven companies. Our goal is to employ people in high-paying jobs. We are like ‘the little engine that could.’” Basini acknowledged the importance of the Rahall Center in accomplishing these goals.
Norman Kirkham, executive director of the Connected Technologies Corridor, called the building’s completion “a regional initiative.” He recognized area businesses and civic leaders and congratulated Interim Vice President and Academic Dean, Dr. Stephen Rowe, for “getting through the red tape.”
Mika Pierson a junior business administration student at Concord expressed her gratitude and appreciation for the Rahall Center. She said that the new building will be “a more professional environment” than a simple classroom building. “It will prepare us for interaction in the workplace and encourage students to stay and work in West Virginia.” Dr. Kendra Boggess, Business Chair, noted that business students are excited to settle into the building next semester. One of her students remarked when he entered the building, “This doesn’t even feel like we’re in Athens!”
Dr. Beasley then presented the President’s Award to Bill Baker, Concord alumnus and Distinguished West Virginian. Baker helped secure state funding for the Rahall Technology Center. Baker is a former school teacher in southern West Virginia and the former superintendent of Raleigh and Mercer County schools. Dr. Beasley said to Baker, “Your colleagues have said that you have a record of public service second to none.”
Dr. Beasley then introduced Congressman Nick Rahall for the main address. Beasley praised Rahall for his commitment to higher education over time. In the past, Rahall supported scholarships and “did a lot of things that didn’t make the newspaper,” Beasley said. In 1988, Rahall joined supporters of then Concord College as they walked across southern West Virginia to raise money for the Quest for Scholars program. “He walked six out of nine days with us, even in the places where there was no one to see us but ourselves.” Beasley thanked Rahall for his contributions. “Congressman Rahall said that he would not only stand with us, but would see that resources flow from Washington to see us through,” Beasley said.
Congressman Rahall then addressed the audience: “This Center will serve to stir the budding talents of students, so that no one will be able to stop them from affecting southern West Virginia. This area will become the Athens of tomorrow. By mixing tradition with technology, we will bridge the gap between old and new.” He said the successes that take place in the new building will “put us on the map of global competition.” Rahall also said he hopes that “students would not only take from this opportunity what southern West Virginia means to them, but will also keep their feet here.”
The ceremony ended with the unveiling of two works. The first was a plaque of Nick Rahall, to be mounted on the wall of the Rahall Center. The second was a collage designed for the congressman by Architect Todd Boggess, Instructor in Art Fernando Porras, and graphic design students at Concord.
PHOTO: Dr. Jerry Beasley
PHOTO: Mr. Bill Baker
PHOTO: Mr. Ron Basini
PHOTO: Mrs. Margaret Sayre
PHOTO: Dr. Kendra Boggess
PHOTO: Mr. Norm Kirkham
PHOTO: Congressman Rahall
PHOTO: Ms. Mika Pierson
PHOTO: Dr. Beasley unveils the plaque that will be affixed to the Rahall Technology Building with the Congressman watching.
Corrie McKee a senior majoring in English and journalism wrote this news release. Her hometown is Nitro, W.Va.