Advancement & Alumni

  • An image of the Concord University Magazine with text that reads "Winter 2023 Magazine Available Online Now!"

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.

April 2024: Dr. Iliyana Dobreva ’05

Dr. Iliyana Dobreva has been named as Senior Data Scientist at StormImpact, a leader in weather-related risk assessment. Prior to her role at StormImpact, Dr. Dobreva was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Department of Geography, The Ohio State University, and held positions at Texas A&M AgriLife Research, including Assistant Research Scientist and Senior Research Associate. She graduated from Concord in 2005 with a Bachelors Degree in Geography with minors in Computer Science and Mathematics. Congratulations on your new role, Dr. Iliyana Dobreva!

March 2024: Kara Dense ’95

Kara was recognized at the Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce Dinner on March 8 as the Business Leader of the Year. She is currently the President and CEO of the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Congratulations to Kara on this recognition!

February 2024: Sara Blankenship ’06

Sara has been with the Spirit Program at the University of Tennessee since the fall of 2016 and was recently promoted to the title of Spirit Program Operations Coordinator. On January 12th the UT Cheer Team won the Division IA Game Day division at the UCA/UDA Collegiate National Championship. This is Sara’s 5th National Championship working with the UT Spirit Team.

January 2024: Donnie Mitchem ’91

Donnie Mitchem, Director of Outpatient Therapy for Atrium Hospital in Charlotte, NC, was recently named a Charlottean of the Year for 2023 featured in the December edition of Charlotte Magazine. Her career has covered all ages of therapy, specializing for the past 20 years in school-based therapy for Middle School and High School students. During her time at Concord she was a member of Tri Sigma and worked in the Counseling Center.

December 2023: Justin Willard ’13

Former Concord Baseball player and 2013 graduate, Justin Willard, has been named Director of Pitching for the Boston Red Sox! His previous roles included Pitching Coach and Pitching Coordinator with the Minnesota Twins baseball team. Congratulations to Justin on this new role!

November 2023: Courtney Buchanan ’14

Courtney Buchanan has recently been promoted to Branch Manager of First Community Bank’s Beckley Citizen Drive location! Her career in banking began with the company in 2015 and she remains active in her local community. We wish Courtney the best of luck in this new role!

October 2023: Tyler Coy ’19

Tyler Coy ’19 has been promoted to Senior Lease Analyst on Amazon’s Worldwide Asset Management team. He has managed portfolios in Australia and Singapore in addition to North America. Tyler was also recognized as a 30 Under 30 recipient by the Institute of Real Estate Management for 2023. We wish Tyler the best of luck in this new role!

September 2023: Hannah Morgan ’17

Hannah Morgan recently joined the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and will be leading the Business Capacity Services team of the West Virginia Hive. Previously serving the Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA, her graduate studies increased her motivation to return and serve her home state of West Virginia. Hannah will be managing multiple projects and administering the WV Hive Business Hub along with several other duties in this role. Congratulations, Hannah!

August 2023: Kari Vicars ’05

Kari Vicars ’05 recently began her appointment as principal of Shady Spring High School in Shady Spring, WV. Her career in education has spanned across 18 years in a variety of roles. Roles including the WV Department of Education Coordinator of Social Studies, principal of Summers County High School, and others. Congratulations to Kari on her new role!

July 2023: Lisa Richards ’89

An educator for the past 24 years in a variety of different settings, Lisa Richards ’89 is now a published author. Her children’s book, Follow Your Heart: How Owllen Discovered his True Calling, is set to be released next month. Congratulations Lisa on this accomplishment!

June 2023: Johnathan Frazier ’15

Johnathan Frazier has been named Community Chief Executive Officer of Addiction Recovery Care’s Bellefonte Campus. In this role he will be overseeing the daily operations of the campus. Johnathan joins the ARC with 20 years of experience and looks forward to meeting the needs of the community. We wish Johnathan the best of luck in this new role!

May 2023: Dr. Kevin Siers ’93


The Franklin County School Board has named Dr. Kevin Siers as the school division’s next superintendent. He has served in several leadership positions in education including assistant principal, principal, and superintendent. A Concord graduate and military veteran, Siers will begin this new position effective July 1. We wish Kevin the best of luck in this new position!

April 2023: Morgan Bragg ’07

Morgan Bragg

Sergeant Morgan C. Bragg ’07 with the Beckley Police Department graduated as a member of the 285th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Since 2008 he has held the positions of: patrol officer, domestic violence officer, and detective. Bragg is currently the Chief of Detectives and serves as the agency’s only certified polygraph examiner and as the supervisor of the BPD Crime Scene Unit. Fewer than one percent of officers nationally have the opportunity to attend this prestigious program.

March 2023: Willa Handy ’16

Willa Handy ’16 was recently featured by The Ohio State University’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Global Engagement for her work in education. Nearing completion of a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program, Willa has served students in multiple capacities for over 10 years. Inspiring students with positive relationships, we look forward to seeing the impact Willa continues to make in the lives of our youth!

February 2023: Josh Stephens ’12

Josh Stephens

Dr. Josh Stephens ’12 has recently opened his own practice, Alpha Therapy, in Fort Chiswell, VA. His practice focuses on treating patients for physical therapy, sports rehab, and preventative rehab needs. Prior to opening his own clinic, he worked with Bluefield Regional Medical Center and Princeton Community Hospital in Mercer County, WV. Congratulations to Josh on this achievement!

January 2023: David Woodard ’03

David Woodard

David Woodard ’03 has been named President of the Virginia School Boards Association. He has served on the Tazewell County School Board since 2008 and is the first person from the county to be named president. Participating on various boards and previously serving terms as chairman of the school board, David has committed to providing exceptional service to the area and state of Virginia. Congratulations and best of luck, David!

December 2022: Deirdre Cline ’86

Deidre Cline

Deirdre has been named West Virginia Department of the Arts, Culture and History’s Superintendent of the Year! She became a classroom teacher more than three decades ago, worked as an assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent. Deirdre is the superintendent of Wyoming County and is the county’s first female schools superintendent.

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!