The Greenbrier Is Host for Concord College Fundraiser

For Immediate Release: 
Apr 07 2003

The Greenbrier Is Host for Concord College Fundraiser

Athens, W.Va. - Polished brass and sweeping staircases set the scene for the fourth annual Southern West Virginia Fund for Concord College at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Saturday, March 15.

The dinner at The Greenbrier brings in much-needed funding for scholarships for students at Concord College.

P. Bruce Sparks, chair of the Concord College Foundation, welcomed the guests. “We’re here to celebrate Concord College and one of the most successful businessmen in West Virginia,” he stated. He also thanked the Concord College Commanders and the staff of The Greenbrier for their efforts in making the dinner a success.

Larry Mazey, chief financial officer at The Greenbrier, and alumnus of the College, noted that, “Concord College … and The Greenbrier … are two great institutions.”

Suellen Ferrell Hodges, member of the Planning Committee, provided the invocation, and Concord President Jerry Beasley introduced the student speaker, Emily Plass.

“Emily is from Princeton, West Virginia,” noted Dr. Beasley, “and, she has worked for local veterinarian and Concord alumnus Dr. Jim Bailey. She wants to be a genetic engineer!”

Emily thanked Dr. Beasley, guests and friends of the College, and said, in part: “While the scholarships are incredibly appreciated (just ask my mom and dad), the fact remains that the scholarships empower a much more significant enterprise. If we were only trying to pay tuition bills - that would be nice, but it would not be equal to the larger effort to which we need to be dedicated tonight. There’s a bigger cause at stake - one more meaningful than mere tuition and fees.

“When I was just a young girl in middle school, I knew I’d like to go into some aspect of health care, but my sights were set on less challenging goals like x-ray technology or maybe nursing - both honorable options, but certainly not equivalent to high-tech genetic research in a major medical center where cutting-edge breakthroughs are a daily reality. My dream to pursue such a career was born of my encounters with people like Dr. Darla Wise, Dr. Wilbur Jones, and Dr. Charles Brichford who have taught me that I could compete and succeed on higher levels than I had previously believed possible. Concord pushes me and others like me to dream big dreams rather than to settle for merely the attainable.”

Lawson Hamilton introduced featured speaker, James H. “Buck” Harless, by saying, “This man’s success is a shining example for all of West Virginia. He is a West Virginia treasure. He has given more back to this community than anyone can ever know.”

Harless is one of the most noted philanthropists in the State of West Virginia.

From the humble beginnings of Gilbert Lumber Company, Mr. Harless built a multi-million dollar corporation, the internationally-acclaimed International Industries, Inc., of which he is chairman of the board. During this century Buck Harless has used his resources and influence to make the entire state, particularly his hometown of Gilbert, a better place to live.

Mr. Harless was named “West Virginian of the Year – 1983” by the Charleston Gazette; “Coal Man of the Year – 1976” by the West Virginia Mining and Reclamation Association, and received the City of Hope “Spirit of Life” Award in 1984. Mr. Harless was inducted into the Marshall University Business Hall of Fame in April 1994 and received the John Marshall Medal of Civic Responsibility in October 1994. The West Virginia Bar Association named him “Public Citizen of the Year” in 2000. Mr. Harless was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame in 2002 by Junior Achievement of West Virginia, Inc.

Mr. Harless noted that: “Young people choose Concord College because it is the best and most affordable college in the state. I know many teachers—graduates of Concord—who are living testimonies to the College.”

Mr. Harless pointed out the importance of profits for business by saying that managers must make enterprises successful. “Keeping a business profitable in today’s society is a creative endeavor.”

Loretta Young, associate vice president for development, presented a letter from President George W. Bush to Mr. Harless. In the letter, President Bush commended Mr. Harless for his dedication and hard work.

President Beasley thanked the guests and friends of the College and closed by saying that, “We are no better than what we choose to be next year.”

Organizations or individuals providing $5,000 sponsorships included: Conn Weld Industries, Inc., Cranberry Hardwoods, The Greenbrier, The Harvey Family, Hugh I. Shott Foundation, Inc., International Industries, Inc., Jean and Lawson W. Hamilton, Jr., Joseph F. Marsh Jr. and Skip Powell.

Organizations or individuals providing $2,500 sponsorships included: Acordia of West Virginia, Inc., Aramark Dining Services, Inc., Gillespie Floral, Inc., Jackson & Kelly PLLC, Dan and Betty Moore and the Pace Family Foundation.

Organizations or individuals providing $1,000 sponsorships included: BB&T, E.T. Boggess & Associates, Dinsmore & Shohl, First Community Bank, Jim and Suellen Hodges, Marquee Cinemas, Inc., MCNB, Marshall Miller & Associates, Pocahontas Land Corporation/Norfolk Southern Corporation, Charles "Chuck" Richner, R. T. Rogers Oil Company, Rollins, Cleavanger & Rollins, Robert and Margaret Sayre, Seaver Funeral Services, Inc., Jack and Carol Stafford, United Bank and Kathleen Wooldridge.

For more information, contact the Concord College Office of Development, at 1-304-384-5317 or



James H. “Buck” Harless

Emily Plass