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The Gratitude in Giving Back

For the second year in a row, the Marshall University Foundation surprised Marshall University employees with balloons, certificates and an entourage of special guests to thank them for their years of giving to the Foundation.

The surprises were part of the Foundation’s Gratitude Week, a newly revamped spin on what was previously Thank A Donor Days. Though the name may have changed, the premise is the same – to express gratitude to those who make the Foundation’s mission possible by helping students, faculty and staff, and advancing the goals of the university.

Michael McGuffey, senior director of institutional research, has 37 years of experience working for Marshall. He began his relationship with Marshall as a student, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1983 and his master’s degree in 1986, both in mathematics. McGuffey’s wife and three daughters all attended Marshall, with the youngest daughter set to graduate soon.

“We are a Marshall family,” McGuffey said. “We bleed green.”

McGuffey has given to the Foundation for 27 years. A move, he said, he felt compelled to do in the 1990s when then-President J. Wade Gilley started the fundraising campaign for the construction of John Deaver Drinko Library.

“I think it’s something you feel you need to do within yourself,” McGuffey said. “When President Gilley started the campaign for the library, that was important to me as there’s nothing more oriented toward education than a library.”

Since then, McGuffey has given to the Foundation’s annual fund, as well as the Institutional Research Special Needs Fund, among others. Of his various areas of support, he said others must understand what is important to them and how they can help give.

“It’s not something you can convince someone else to do, but you can probably convince them why and how much they’ve gained from being here.”

Over in Smith Hall, three College of Arts and Media employees were recognized for their support to the university.

Rachel Williamson, current business manager for CAM and previously accounts payable for the Foundation, has made charitable contributions for nearly 26 years.

Of those 26 years, Williamson has given to multiple scholarships, including the Patricia Sadler Graham Endowed Scholarship for the College of Education, the Donald L. Van Horn Scholarship and the Gene R. Bargerhuff Memorial Scholarship for Engineering.

“I started giving when I worked at the Foundation and I gave to the Bargerhuff Scholarship because I used to babysit their little grandkids, who are now grown adults,” Williamson said. “Then I switched but kept giving to scholarships so a student can get help from my donations.

“I try to give back when I can, and it’s not the monetary amount. After 25 plus years, it adds up. Every little bit helps.”

Dr. Ed Bingham, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, The Julliard School and the University of Kentucky, joined the Marshall family in 1990 as a professor of saxophone and jazz studies. Of his 33 years with the university, Bingham has made contributions to the Foundation for 29 years.

The majority of Bingham’s gifts have been made directly to the College of Arts and Media’s annual fund and said his primary goal is to help the students.

“I think it’s important to invest in your own career and the school you are working in,” Bingham said. “I dearly love Marshall and have been very happy working at this institution. I’d like to help any way I can and help support the programs that benefit the students.”

“There have also been a lot of faculty opportunities,” he continued. “In 2009, I was selected as one of the Drinko Fellows and was afforded time off to do some research and ended up doing a very important part of my work here and I’m proud to be part of that program. As part of that research, I did a trip to Cuba, which was very exciting and a wonderful opportunity.”

Dr. Charles G. Bailey has a long-standing history with the university. He received his bachelor’s degree in broadcasting in 1974 and his master’s degree in mass communications in 1985. He also has an Ed.D. in education from what was previously the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies and is now Marshall’s Graduate College.

Bailey has served as faculty manager of WMUL-FM and professor of radio-television production and management since the 1980s. Instead of looking around to try to find the best college radio station, he said he believed he could build it here. Under Bailey’s guidance, WMUL-FM has received 2,444 awards and counting, often competing against professional radio stations.

“I have always believed that when students are motivated to learn, afforded adequate training, delivered concise instruction and provided an obtainable set of goals, their success is an anticipated result and not a surprising development,” he said.

Bailey’s contributions to the Foundation crossed the 40-year mark this year and include areas pertaining to the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications, including the Dr. Charles G. Bailey Scholarship, which was generously established by former students.

“You have to make the decision that you’re willing to give,” Bailey said. “You got to say, ‘I’m trying to help.’ And this is how I help.”

For questions about payroll deductions or how to make contributions to the Foundation’s annual fund, contact Griffin Talbott, senior director of the annual fund, at 304-696-6214 or