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Alumni Association announces Chapter of the Year, Emerging Chapter of the Year

The Marshall University Alumni Association has announced the recipients of two of its top awards ahead of the 83rd Alumni Awards Banquet on April 9.

The Marshall University Southern Coalfields Alumni and Big Green Chapter, located in Beckley, West Virginia, has been named MUAA’s 2022 Chapter of the Year, while the Emerging Chapter of the Year award will be presented to Marshall University’s Eastern Panhandle Alumni and Big Green Chapter based out of Martinsburg, West Virginia, at the annual awards banquet next month.

“Our network of alumni chapters continues to flourish, and we are thrilled to see one of our newer groups rise to the ranks of MUAA Chapter of the Year,” said Kasey Stevens, assistant director of alumni relations at Marshall University. “The Southern Coalfields Chapter conducts numerous events each year and has raised thousands of dollars in scholarship support for students from southern West Virginia. Their passion for supporting the advancement of Marshall University’s goals and objectives is evident in everything they do. The group in the eastern panhandle is off to a strong start thanks to some high-caliber leadership and we have high hopes to see them rise quickly to contest for chapter of the year honors.”

Chapter of the Year is awarded each year to an outstanding alumni chapter for its contributions in membership growth, activities, fundraising and an overall dedication to Marshall University.

This is the first Chapter of the Year award for the Southern Coalfields Alumni and Big Green Chapter, which was established in 2017 when the Beckley Athletic Club (Big Green) contacted area alumni who had expressed interest in re-establishing an alumni chapter in the southern region. The chapter continues to support the area Coaches Tour Golf Outing, which has a long-standing relationship with the Big Green Scholarship Foundation.

Despite many obstacles faced throughout the pandemic, the Southern Coalfields Alumni and Big Green Chapter had its most successful year in terms of fundraising and event participation. In addition, active membership increased by approximately 25 percent.

In July 2021, the Southern Coalfields Alumni and Big Green Chapter presented the Marshall University Foundation with $13,000 and the Big Green Scholarship Foundation with $21,000 for a total of $34,000. The chapter also established the MU Southern Coalfields Scholarship Endowment, pledging $25,000 over five years. By the end of 2021, the chapter had fulfilled more than $10,000 toward this goal.

The chapter’s events in 2021 included the Beckley Big Green Coaches Tour Golf Outing, which hosted 96 golfers and more than 40 businesses in support of the annual event. The chapter also hosted the Thunder in the Alley Bowling Event, which saw 108 bowlers in attendance and grossed $5,900. In conjunction with the Beckley Golf Outing, the chapter hosted the inaugural Mark Walker Golf Ball Drop. This event was to honor Mark Walker, described as a “true Son of Marshall,” who battled a terminal brain tumor. This event would be Walker’s last public outing as he passed two months later. Nearly 1,000 golf balls were dropped on the putting green to raise $1,800 for the Southern Coalfields Scholarship Endowment.

The Southern Coalfields Alumni and Big Green Chapter is led by Tim Cyrus as president, Doug Leeber as past president, Miranda Arvon as first vice president, Amanda Ashley as second vice president, Larry Foster as treasurer and Kim Arden as secretary.

Members of the Eastern Panhandle Alumni & Big Green Chapter
Emerging Chapter of the Year is awarded to an up-and-coming alumni chapters for its efforts toward fundraising, membership growth, activities and dedication to Marshall University. Due to the pandemic, the award was not given in 2020 or 2021, meaning the Eastern Panhandle Chapter is the second chapter to receive this award.

The Eastern Panhandle Chapter was established in April 2021. The idea for the chapter came from conversations between Adam Stewart and Tim Pownell, two Marshall graduates who work together at United Bank in Martinsburg and Charles Town in West Virginia. Stewart is the chapter’s president with Pownell serving as vice president.

The Eastern Panhandle is one of the fastest growing areas in West Virginia. Members of the Eastern Panhandle Chapter aim to recruit high school students to attend Marshall, with plans to work with guidance counselors at area high schools. In addition to recruitment, the Eastern Panhandle Chapter wants to eventually create scholarships for Eastern Panhandle students.

The chapter has seven members on its board of directors, and close to 20 additional members. In the year since its formation, the chapter has hosted a handful of tailgates and game-watching events with numerous attendees at each.

For more information about the Alumni Awards Banquet visit