Wellman Named Concord University's Grand Groundhog Watcher

For Immediate Release: 
Jan 21 2010

CONTACT: Greg Quick
Concord University
Interim Vice President for Advancement
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
Office: (304) 384-5318 - advancement@concord.edu

Wellman Named Concord University's Grand Groundhog Watcher

ATHENS - Beverly Wellman, recently retired executive director of the Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau, has been named Grand Groundhog Watcher for Concord University’s 32nd Annual Groundhog Day Breakfast. The yearly gathering of food, fellowship, and folklore will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 at 8 a.m. in the Jerry L. Beasley Student Center Ballroom in Athens.

Wellman will share the spotlight with Concord Charlie. The famed groundhog weather prophet has a standing appointment with Concord University’s President each year to offer his predictions and insights on the duration of winter. President Gregory F. Aloia will relay Charlie’s forecast to the breakfast guests.

According to Groundhog Day tradition, if Concord Charlie sees his shadow the morning of Feb. 2, six more weeks of winter can be expected. An early spring will be on the way if he doesn’t see his shadow.

The Grand Groundhog Watcher honor is bestowed on an individual who has positively impacted life and culture in West Virginia. Wellman has been a leader in promoting tourism statewide. She served as executive director of the Mercer County CVB from 1994 to 2009 and is currently executive director of the West Virginia Association of CVB’s.

Wellman was named West Virginia Tourism Professional of the Year in 2005 and Princeton-Mercer County Citizen of the Year in 2005. She served as president of the West Virginia Association of CVB’s from 2004 to 2007.

A graduate of Bluefield College and the Southeast Tourism Marketing College, Wellman is a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow and lifetime member of the West Virginia General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She was coordinator of the I-73/74 Highway Authority in 1993 and is a board member of the Hatfield-McCoy Recreational Trail.

The Concord Charlie tradition was originated in 1978 by the late Professor R.T. “Tom” Hill. As chairman of both the geography department and the Appalachian Studies program at Concord, he started the Groundhog Day Breakfast as a means to celebrate a bit of Appalachian heritage and highlight the program.

Cost for this year’s ham and eggs breakfast is $7 per person payable in advance or at the door. Reservations are requested and may be made by calling the Concord University Advancement Office at (304) 384-6311 or by email at advancement@concord.edu or kwhittaker@concord.edu.


2010, Ms. Beverly Wellman
Executive Director, Retired, Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau
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)
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