Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong Is Grand Groundhog Watcher for the 31st Annual Groundhog Celebration at CU

For Immediate Release: 
Jan 13 2009

CONTACT:  Kati Whittaker, Director of Alumni Affairs
1-304-384-6056, 1-800-344-6679, extension 6056, or 

Athens, W.Va. - The 2009 Grand Groundhog Watcher will be Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAF (Ret.).
Robert H. Foglesong is the president and CEO of the Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation (ALEF), a non-profit organization tasked with identifying our next generation of leaders in Appalachia and supporting their journey toward academic, leadership, and character excellence. 
Prior to serving as president of The Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation, he was nominated by the president of the United States, confirmed by the U.S. Senate and served as a four-star general in the U.S. Air Force. 
Foglesong has been designated by the president of the United States to be co-chairman of the Joint US – Russia Commission on POWs/MIAs.  He is a member of the board of directors of Massey Energy, the Michael Baker Corporation and Stark Aerospace. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of Trustees for 4-H. 
He is author of over 50 publications with topics such as leadership and character development, management, and national affairs.
Previously, Foglesong served as the 18th president of Mississippi State University (MSU). 
He has received numerous awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.  He earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from West Virginia University. 
The “Concord Charlie” tradition was begun in 1978 by Professor R.T. “Tom” Hill, a resident of Athens, West Virginia.  (He passed away in 2003.)  As chairman of both the geography department and the Appalachian studies program, he thought the breakfast would be a means to celebrate a piece of Appalachian heritage—and draw attention to the fact that Concord had such a program. 
Former groundhog watchers have included politicians, retired Concord employees, entertainers, military heroes, pastors, writers and others.  A. James Manchin (now deceased), former secretary of state and state treasurer of West Virginia was the first Grand Groundhog Watcher.
The prognostication is now part of the Concord University president’s job description.  Concord University President, Dr. Gregory Aloia, will abandon the ivory towers of academia and ignore presidential protocol to share the secrets of Concord’s very special friend, Concord Charlie.  Will Concord Charlie see his shadow this Groundhog Day to add six more weeks of winter weather?  Only Concord Charlie knows, and Dr. Aloia will share the weather details.
The public is invited to attend the “ham and eggs” breakfast.  The cost is $7.50, payable at the door or in advance.  The breakfast will be held in the Student Center Ballroom, Monday, February 2 at 8 a.m.
Reservations are recommended.  For more information or to make reservations, call 1-304-384-6056, 1-800-344-6679, extension 6056, or e-mail
CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES:  Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679, extension 6086 if special assistance or help is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.
PHOTO:  Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAF (Ret.)
To access photo, go to News & Events > Editor’s FTP Access
(High resolution version attached to the end of this page)
2009, Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAF (Ret.)
United States Air Force General (Retired); Executive Director, Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation (ALEF)
2008, Mr. Everett Lilly
West Virginia bluegrass artist and inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor
2007, Ms. Barbara Hawkins
Political correspondent, columnist, investigative reporter
2006, Ms. Kate Long
Writer, bluegrass musician
2005, Mr. Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams
Congressional Medal of Honor recipient
2004, Dr. Ancella Bickley
West Virginian and African American educator, historian and author
2003, Dr. Jay Banks
Retired physician and author, lives in Union, W.Va., with his wife, “Marty”
2002, Dr. J. Douglas Machesney
Concord’s Vice President for Development from 1986 through 2002
2001, Mr. Andy Ridenour, Mr. Larry Groce
Ridenour is originally from Washington, D.C.; Groce is originally from Texas; and both are with West Virginia Public Radio
2000, Mr. Andrew Paterno
President and Chief Executive Officer of Acordia Mid-Atlantic, a Concord alumnus and Kanawha County native
1999, Mr. Jerry Jarrell
Retired Director of the National Hurricane Center, a Concord alumnus and Raleigh County native
1998, Recent Concord Retirees
Harold Bailey, John Seago, Paul Morgan (deceased), Bill Ryan, Bill Wells, Beryle Santon, Violet Martin (deceased), Kevin O’Sullivan, Ed Lowe, Dale Geiger, Carl Chapman, Shelva Rarick, Bernard Keirnan, Karl Fezer, Kenneth Baker
1997, Dr. J. Elliott Blaydes Jr.
Retired Bluefield eye specialist and philanthropist
1996, Mr. Frankie Ferrante (deceased)
Owned Mercer County restaurant, Frankie’s La Salute, and was an active civic and community leader
1995, Mr. Thomas Conlin
Former West Virginia Symphony Artistic Director and Conductor
1994, Ms. Denise Giardina
McDowell County native, successful novelist focusing on the vibrant culture of the coalfields
1993, Ms. Katharine Tierney (deceased)
Mrs. Tierney was a Bluefield civic leader and longtime friend of Concord
1992, Ms. Jean Battlo
Published poet and playwright from McDowell County
1991, Ms. Nelrose Richards Price
Retired Registrar of Concord, 41 years of service
1990, Dr. James Bailey (deceased)
Co-founder of Veterinary Associates of Princeton and a Mercer County civic leader
1989, Reverend Harry Christie (deceased)
Former pastor of Princeton Presbyterian Church
1988, Mr. R. T. Hill (deceased)
Father of the Concord Groundhog Day Breakfast and former Professor of Geography at Concord
1987, Mr. Edward J. Cabbell
Appalachian scholar, founder of the John Henry Foundation
1986, Mr. Ken Hechler
Former W.Va. Secretary of State and former Congressman
1985, George A. Daugherty
“The Earl of Elkview,” a prominent Charleston attorney
1984, Dr. Charles Kenneth Sullivan
Executive Director of the West Virginia Humanities Council
1983, Mr. James Dent (deceased)
Humor columnist and cartoonist for The Charleston Gazette
1982, Mr. Don West (deceased)
Director of the Appalachian South Folklife Center, Pipestem, W.Va.
1981, Dr. E. Meade McNeill (deceased)
Professor of Biology at Concord
1980, Ms. Shirley Donnelly (deceased)
Historian and columnist for Beckley Newspapers Inc.
1979, Mr. Jim Comstock (deceased)
Editor of The West Virginia Hillbilly
1978, Mr. A. James Manchin (deceased)
Former Secretary of State and State Treasurer of West Virginia