Concord University Foundation Raises Funds for Student Scholarships at Charleston Dinner

For Immediate Release: 
Oct 16 2005

Concord University Foundation Raises Funds for Student Scholarships at Charleston Dinner

Athens, W.Va. - The Embassy Suites in Charleston, W.Va., was the setting for the seventh annual Fund for Concord University Dinner on Tuesday, October 11.

David Kirby, chair for the Fund for Concord dinner, welcomed guests.

Sandi Davison, a member of the planning committee, provided the invocation.

Before dinner, the seventeenth president of Concord University, Dr. Jerry L. Beasley provided a state of the University report. He discussed how enrollment and alumni support is up and noted that the University has two new building projects—University Point, which will house the Wilkes Family Interfaith Chapel and Museum and the Erickson Alumni Center and the Rahall Technology Center.

Next, he touched on the spectacular season many of the sports teams have had including women’s soccer, golf, and cross-country.

Beasley updated the audience on students who had spoken at previous dinners. “We are proud of them but we are also all the more grateful for what you did to make the way for them,” Beasley said.

Student speaker for the evening was David Lewis from Chapmanville, W.Va. Lewis is preparing for a pre-med degree with majors in biology and chemistry, stated Dr. Beasley in his introduction of Lewis.

“When I was told that I would be able to express my thanks to the supporters of Concord,” stated Lewis, “I sought an appropriate analogy to convey the role Concord has had in my life and in my personal growth from youth to adulthood. Immediately, the image of a catalyst came to mind. Now, while this may be expected from a chemistry major, it is nonetheless still applicable. For those unfamiliar with the term, a catalyst is a substance that influences a chemical reaction. However, the word ‘influence’ is not capable of truly conveying what is occurring. For without the catalyst, the reaction would be so slow as to not occur. The catalyst supports and nurtures the reaction, thereby allowing it to come to fruition in the full realization of its potential. This is exactly what Concord does for its students. I say this with authority, for I am a product of this reaction.

“Concord University had blessed me. And you, through your generosity have blessed me. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart,” Mr. Lewis said. “I pray you will understand that you are not just supporting an institution, you are touching souls, you are saving lives.”

David A. Barnette, chair of Concord University Foundation, Inc., introduced the keynote speaker Steven F. Leer, president and chief executive officer of Arch Coal, Inc.

Leer focused on why America is facing an energy crisis. “The demand for energy is growing dramatically.” He discussed how we saw human tragedy through hurricane Katrina and an energy tragedy with hurricane Rita. “When you get into the energy infrastructure, particularly the off-shore production region which produced 25 percent of our oil and gas in the United States, the numbers are devastating.

“Here is the message for an energy rich state like W.Va. “Coal prices are up, service taxes and revenues for the state are up, wages are up, payments to vendors and businesses are up, taxes, income taxes are up ... for a state like W.Va., I think we do have an energy boom.”

Leer next discussed how the coal industry is becoming friendlier to the environment. “It’s increasingly clean, today the air is cleaner than it was yesterday, and it was cleaner yesterday than it was a year ago, the clean air act has worked.... Coal will be and must be an integral part of the energy solution for our nation and our state.”

“The new-found face of the coal industry is much different than it was in the past, still we can do things better, but to do things better we have got to have the bright young men and women of Concord and every other university,” Leer stated.

In closing Leer said, “As sure as I am standing here, America will beat this energy crisis. We will overcome it. The economy will absorb it.”

Members of the Charleston Fund Dinner Planning Committee are David Barnette, Sandi Davison, Lou Ann Johnson, David Kirby, Melinda Ashworth Kiss, William H. McKee Jr., Doug Maddy, Betty Jo Moore, Sharon Murphy, Andre Nabors, Daniel Palausky, Forrest Roles, Sue Sergie, and Loretta Young.


CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Stephanie Harmon, a senior majoring in communication arts wrote this news release. Her hometown is Princeton, W.Va.