Coal Heritage Lecture Series Examines ‘The Impact Of Coal On The Economy’

For Immediate Release: 
Apr 07 2015

CONTACT:  Sarah Dalton

Concord University

Office of Advancement

PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712

(304) 384-6312,         





Event Hosted by Concord University’s Beckley Campus


ATHENS, W.Va. – Concord University will host its third installment of the 2015 Coal Heritage Lecture Series The Impact of Coal on the Economy at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7 in Room E 10 of the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center located on Airport Road in Beaver.

The Coal Heritage Lecture Series is presented by the Concord University Appalachian Studies Program and is co-sponsored by Concord University’s Beckley Center and the National Coal Heritage Authority.

The April lecture features Bill Raney, President of the West Virginia Coal Association and Executive Director of the Friends of Coal. Previous lectures highlighted Music of the Coalfields with singer/songwriters Julie Adams, Coleen Anderson and Josh Barrett, and The Impact of Coal on the Environment with keynote speakers Keely Kernan and Elise Keaton.

Raney will discuss the importance of coal on the economy of West Virginia as well as what the industry will do to respond to the new legislation. He will also address issues of economic growth and employment opportunities in West Virginia.

Karen Vuranch, instructor of communication arts who is also an award-winning storyteller, actress and writer, created the Coal Heritage Lecture Series as a part of a class she teaches entitled Coal Culture in West Virginia.  This is the fifth year for the class and the lecture series. Her most well-known theatrical piece is “Coal Camp Memories,” and features the various life stages of Hallie Marie Jones, a resident of a coal mining camp whose entire life was involved with the mine from her husband’s death to her participation in a miner’s strike.

Vuranch expects the series to generate interest and raise awareness of the coal industry with students - the younger generations and local community.

“First, I hope to provide a broader understanding of the issues surrounding coal history for my students. I also want to provide an opportunity for the community to understand these issues. And, finally, I want to create an opportunity for the community of Beckley and the University to come together,” she said.

 The lectures have been on a variety of topics, from music performances to historic topics to current events – many ways to describe the lives of coal miners. “All have given an overview of how the history of coal affects our community and has brought the local community and the University together,” Vuranch adds. 

This lecture is free and open to public. For more information, contact Concord University’s Beckley Center at (304) 256-0270 or email instructor Karen Vuranch at


Linh Dinh, a public relations major at Concord University, wrote this news release.

She is from Hanoi, Vietnam.


Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086

if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.