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The Marshall University Foundation encourages faculty and staff to consider “giving today and every pay” by enrolling in payroll deduction throughout the month of April with the Marshall University Family Campaign.

During the month of April, faculty and staff can sign up for payroll deduction, offering them the opportunity to create a lasting impact through consistent, automated contributions. They can opt to allocate their contributions to a particular scholarship, program fund or the Annual Fund. The Annual Fund is vital for various university initiatives, particularly addressing its most pressing needs. Every commitment, regardless of amount, plays a pivotal role in shaping Marshall University’s future.

“The decision when and where to make a charitable donation is a very personal decision. A payroll deduction allows you to spread your gift out over the course of a year, so it’s automatic and easier on your budget,” said Griffin Talbott, senior director of the annual fund for the Marshall Foundation.

Enrolling this month will also count gifts as contributions to the university’s third annual Day of Giving. Scheduled for April 24 and 25, the Day of Giving invites the Marshall community to unite in creating a lasting impact on students and shaping the institution’s future. Last year, donations exceeded $62,000, and this year’s objective is to surpass that amount.

During the Marshall Foundation’s Gratitude Week last fall, Dr. Ed Bingham, professor of saxophone and jazz studies, had this to say about his years of giving through payroll deductions:

“I think it’s important to invest in your own career and the school you are working in. 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.”

For questions regarding the Family Campaign or Day of Giving, please contact Talbott at or 304-696-6214. To enroll online, visit

Marshall University has announced that its 2024 Homecoming contest will be Marshall Football’s Saturday, Oct. 5, contest against Sun Belt Conference rival Appalachian State University at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

The pageantry and excitement of Homecoming returns to Marshall University beginning Monday, Sept. 30, and culminating with the crowning of Marshall Royalty at halftime during the Appalachian State game.

This will be the fourth time in Marshall Football history that Appalachian State has served as the Homecoming opponent, but the first since the 1993 season when the Thundering Herd earned a 35-3 win over the Mountaineers. Marshall is 2-1 in Homecoming games between the teams.

“One of the best things about joining the Sun Belt was rekindling some of our historic rivalries,” said Christian Spears, Marshall University’s director of athletics. “No doubt, there’s mutual respect but also a sincere desire to get the win – not just because of talent, but because of heart and passion that goes with winning Homecoming for your school and community. There is tons of change happening in college athletics, but not with this rivalry. When it comes to App State and Marshall, spot the ball and let’s get after it!”

Homecoming weekend also serves as Parents and Family Weekend and there will be an Alumni and Family tailgate for the game.

A full schedule of events for Homecoming week, including information on the Homecoming Parade, will be shared as it becomes finalized.

“We are gearing up for one of the most exciting times of the year for our Marshall family,” said Matt James, executive director of Marshall University’s alumni relations. “This is a special time for us to celebrate with one another, cherish the Marshall moments that shaped us and ignite a flame of support for future generations. We welcome all alumni, students, community members and supporters to join us in October for another memorable Herd Homecoming!”

Marshall is coming off a season in which the team earned a bid to the 2023 Frisco Bowl, which established a new program record for consecutive years making it to a bowl game (7). The 2023 season also included a victory over Virginia Tech – the team’s second Power Five win in as many years (Notre Dame, 2022).

Since the opening of Joan C. Edwards Stadium in 1991, Marshall is 28-5 in Homecoming games and 9-1 over its past 10 games. Marshall’s all-time record in Homecoming games is 68-46-8.

For more information about Marshall’s 2024 Homecoming celebration and surrounding events, contact the Marshall University Alumni Association at (304) 696-3424. Also, follow the Marshall Foundation and Alumni Association on Facebook, X and Instagram by using @ForMarshallU for updates on Marshall events.

For all the latest information about Marshall Athletics, follow @HerdZone on X and Instagram.

To follow all Thundering Herd sports and get live stats, schedules and free live audio, download the Marshall Athletics App for iOS and Android.

The Marshall University Foundation has announced the establishment of the Alpha-Tech Scholarship. This scholarship is generously endowed for $100,000 by Alpha Technologies and will serve students studying cybersecurity. 

In August of 2023, Marshall received $45 million from the state of West Virginia to establish a state-of-the-art Institute for Cyber Security, which will position the university at the forefront of cyber defense and research. 

“The Alpha-Tech Scholarship is more than a donation; it’s an investment in the next generation of cybersecurity experts. We look forward to seeing the impact these students will make, both at Marshall University and in the broader field of cybersecurity,” said Doug Tate, CEO and owner of Alpha Technologies. 

Alpha Technologies is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business and information technology service company headquartered in Hurricane, West Virginia, with a global datacenter located in South Charleston, West Virginia. Alpha Technologies is a business technology company focused on IT services such as system security and maintenance, internet connectivity, Alpha-Voice services, cloud computing, data storage and backup, and more. 

Alpha Technologies’ investment in the Institute for Cyber Security at Marshall aims to create cybersecurity practitioners and buyers, bridging the gap between West Virginia and larger markets in technology, said Rich O’Brien, president of Alpha Technologies. With a 20-year history in the state, Alpha Technologies highlights its commitment to networking services and cybersecurity, while hiring students from Marshall as well as local community colleges. 

“Education is a key driver of progress, and our collaboration with Marshall University underscores our belief in the transformative power of knowledge,” O’Brien said. “The Alpha-Tech Scholarship aims to empower students by providing not just financial support but also valuable opportunities for practical experience.”  

The scholarship recipients shall be full-time undergraduate or graduate students from West Virginia majoring in a cybersecurity-related field, who are in good academic standing with a 2.5 GPA, and have financial need per the standards of the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Student recipients will be encouraged to apply for internships at Alpha Technologies, translating their academic knowledge into real-world practice. 

The scholarship may be awarded to up to four students a year. The award shall be renewable up to four years, or eight semesters, if the recipient maintains good academic standing. The dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, or their designee, shall select the recipient and renew the award in cooperation with the Office of Student Financial Assistance.  

For information regarding the Alpha-Tech Scholarship, please contact Marshall University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance at 304-696-3162. 

The Marshall University Foundation hosted its annual Donor Recognition Dinner Oct. 20 at the Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall on Marshall’s Huntington campus. The event recognizes the generosity of donors with lifetime giving of $100,000 or more to Marshall University.

Over the past fiscal year from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, 37 new members entered the Foundation’s major gift societies and 22 moved into higher giving levels. There are also 495 members in the Foundation’s Old Main Society, which recognizes planned gift intentions.

“We are honored to celebrate our donors during our Donor Recognition Dinner,” said Ron Area, CEO of the Marshall University Foundation. “Their charitable giving toward Marshall University is not merely a financial investment; it is a testament to their belief in the power of education and its ability to shape a brighter future.”

Area began the event by welcoming the donors and their guests, followed by an invocation from Rex Johnson, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. President Brad D. Smith gave remarks about the current status of the university as well as recent developments including the investment of $45 million from the State of West Virginia to build a state-of-the-art institute for cyber security. Smith also shared his excitement for the launch of Marshall For All.

Marshall For All is an initiative announced last year by President Smith to help students earn a bachelor’s degree debt-free. Marshall For All launched this fall with 100 students participating in the program, and Marshall plans to grow the program over the next 10 years. A handful of Marshall For All students were present for the dinner and met with several of the donors.

“Through the steadfast commitment of our generous donors, we are not merely building structures or endowing scholarships; we are sculpting the very foundation of possibility for each student at Marshall University, including those in the Marshall For All program,” President Smith said. “Our donors’ contributions are the catalysts for innovation, the keys to unlocking potential, and the bridge to a future where education transforms lives.”

The Foundation’s Board of Directors meets three times a year, and on those occasions, the Board meets annually in the fall on Huntington’s campus. This year, the Board of Directors’ fall meeting coincided with the event, which returned after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The Foundation calculates lifetime giving totals annually.

The Marshall University Foundation, Inc. is excited to announce the establishment of the Jerry R. Keyser Scholarship for $300,000 designed to support and nurture aspiring biology majors at Marshall University.

Of the $300,000, $250,000 will be put into the Foundation’s endowment, with the remaining $50,000 going toward the expendable to be awarded $10,000 per year for the first five years. The renewable four-year scholarship aims to foster the growth of exceptional talents and empower the next generation of scientific leaders who will make groundbreaking contributions to the field of biology and environmental sciences.

“I have heard the inner calling of my faith to give this generous contribution to Marshall University,” Keyser said. “I have been blessed to have had a successful business career enabling me to contribute to the scholarship fund and give back to those residents of West Virginia who wish to work hard to further their education and make a difference.

“It is my intent and hope these scholarships be awarded to those who want to pursue a degree in biological science to develop careers in researching natural and metabolic treatments for cancer and other diseases. Also, environmental science to help preserve our environment.”

The scholarship is generously endowed by Jerry Keyser. Keyser was born and grew up in West Virginia and attended Marshall University where he received his bachelor’s degree in social studies in 1971. After a successful business career, Keyser traveled the country where he developed a love for art and the outdoors. Toward the end of his career, Keyser began to pursue his passion for painting, particularly of the Rocky Mountains and western landscapes.

“I had a great time while attending Marshall and made many long-lasting friends,” Keyser said. “After college, I moved away from West Virginia to other places to pursue my corporate business goals. I am now retired and reside in Montana and Colorado. I often attend Marshall’s Homecoming weekend to see old friends. It always brings back old memories of when I attended school, and how much I miss the people and beautiful places in the Mountain State. Marshall University and West Virginia have a special and deep place in my heart.”

The Jerry R. Keyser Scholarship was established to support undergraduate students in the College of Science. First preference goes to biology majors, and second preference goes to environmental science majors. The award is renewable as long as the recipient maintains a good academic standing.

To donate to this fund or to learn more about philanthropic support of Marshall University, please visit or follow us on social media @ForMarshallU.

Marshall University has announced its 2023 Homecoming activities, promising a week filled with nostalgia, camaraderie and spirited festivities for students and alumni alike. The theme this year is “Super Marco: Level Up,” which celebrates the history of video games throughout the years, as well as celebrating Marshall “leveling up” in stature.

“We are thrilled to announce Marshall University’s Homecoming is just around the corner, and we can’t wait to welcome back our alumni family with open arms,” said Matt James, executive director of alumni relations. “Get ready for an unforgettable week filled with time-honored traditions as we come together to celebrate our beloved alma mater.”

Please see a full list of events and activities below:

Monday, Sept. 25

Activities for the week begin at 5 p.m. with the Unity Walk, an annual event celebrating unity, inclusion and oneness on campus with music, fellowship and fun. Community members are invited and encouraged to participate. The walk begins at the Marshall Rec Center and ends at the Memorial Student Center Plaza. Marshall’s Homecoming Court will also be announced at the event.

Tuesday, Sept. 26

Intercultural and Student Affairs will host Penny Wars from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Memorial Student Center Plaza Monday through Thursday. Chalk the Walk will also take place Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with judging taking place at 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 27

Intercultural and Student Affairs will host a window display contest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second floor of the Memorial Student Center. Judging will take place at 3:30 p.m.

Black United Students Miss Captivating Pageant will take place at 7 p.m. in the Don Morris Room of the Memorial Student Center.

Thursday, Sept. 28

The Marshall University Alumni Association will host its annual Office Decorating Contest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Any department or office is welcome to participate. There will be prizes offered in three categories in each of two divisions, and two grand prizes. Winners will be announced during Party on the Plaza on Friday.

WMUL will host its annual Car Bash from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Buskirk Field. Join us as participants pay $1 to bash the car, painted in Old Dominion’s colors, with a sledgehammer for two minutes. Sledgehammer, gloves and goggles will be provided.

Hoops in Huntington returns at 6 p.m. along Third Avenue across from Pullman Square. Hoops in Huntington event highlights Herd athletics, including introductions from student-athletes and coaches, fun activities for families and more!

Intercultural and Student Affairs will host Herd Pop Trivia at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Student Center.

Wild N’ Out, an annual event full of fun and laughs centered on improvisational comedy, will take place at 9 p.m. in the Don Morris Room of the Memorial Student Center. For more information on this event, contact Corey Cunningham at

Friday, Sept. 29

Party on the Plaza returns from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event, hosted by University Communications, features free food, music, a pep rally and photo booth. The event is free and open to students, alumni and the campus community.

Parent and Family Weekend also returns Friday and concludes Sunday, Oct. 1. Food trucks will be onsite at Joan C. Edwards playhouse from noon to 8 p.m. for students and their families.

At 4 p.m. Friday, the Marshall University Foundation and Alumni Association will celebrate the 25th and 50th classes on the patio of Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall. The 1998 and 1973 class members are also invited to participate in Marshall’s Homecoming parade at 6 p.m.

The Homecoming parade will march down the streets of Huntington, featuring Gary G. and Jo Ann White as grand marshals. Gary White served as interim president of Marshall University from December 2014 to January 2016. A Marshall graduate, White is a former member and past chair of the Marshall University Board of Governors, as well as an accomplished businessman and leader in the coal mining industry.

The parade will begin on Fourth Avenue at 10th Street and travel east to Hal Greer Boulevard, where it will move up to Fifth Avenue and continue east to 17th Street at Harless Dining Hall. For those who are unable to attend the Homecoming parade in person, a livestream of the event may be viewed at

The annual bonfire is scheduled to take place immediately following the parade on Harless Field (located between Harless Dining Hall and City National Bank). Music will be played onsite by Kindred Communications. There will be special appearances by coaches, players, cheerleaders and more.

From 6:30-11 p.m., the Marshall University Alumni Association Board of Directors will host Homecoming StamFEED. Experience downtown Huntington as alumni, family and friends will tour the city’s best drinks and eats. Tickets are $60 and include a commemorative Homecoming 2023 glass. To purchase tickets, visit

At 7 p.m., Marshall University Black Alumni will host its inaugural Hall of Fame ceremony in Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall. Honorees include Mr. Roy Goines, Mr. Joseph Williams, Mr. and Mrs. William Redd, Dr. Kimberly Austin, Mr. Edward Starling Jr., Mr. and Mrs. William Smith, Mrs. Katherine Dooley and Mr. Sean Hornbuckle.

From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., The Glow Up Sneaker Ball, an event that encourages guests to wear their best fashions and coolest sneakers, will take place in the lobby of the Memorial Student Center. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For more information on this event, contact Corey Cunningham at

Saturday, Sept. 30

At 12:30 p.m., the annual Marshall Alumni and Family Tailgate will take place in the Joan C. Edwards Stadium East Lot, beside the Chris Cline Indoor Athletic Complex. The tailgate is hosted jointly by the Marshall University Alumni Association and Marshall University Black Alumni, and presented by Woodlands Retirement Community. The tailgate features food, drinks, music and special guest appearances. Tickets to attend are $20. For tickets, visit

A tailgate accompanying Parent and Family Weekend will take place on the Memorial Student Center Plaza at 12:30 p.m.. Intercultural Affairs will have a family gathering at 12:30 p.m. on the East Lawn.

The Thundering Herd will take on Old Dominion University at 3:30 p.m. at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. During halftime, the Homecoming Court will be crowned on the field.

Greek life at Marshall will compete in the Greek Stroll-Off Competition at 8 p.m. in the Don Morris Room of the Memorial Student Center. A stroll-off competition showcases a team’s agility, creativity and understanding of rhythm and dance as they show precision, synchronization, originality and showmanship. For more information on this event, contact Corey Cunningham at

Marshall University Black Alumni will host its annual Black Out Alumni Party from 8-11 p.m. in BE-5 of the Memorial Student Center. There will be a DJ, food and more!

To learn more about the week’s calendar of events, visit

Marshall University and the Marshall University Alumni Association (MUAA) are set to host the 84th annual Alumni Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 1, beginning at 6 p.m. with a reception followed by dinner and awards at 7 p.m. at the Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall.

The Marshall University Alumni Awards Banquet recognizes outstanding alumni, university supporters and students during an evening of celebration and reverence of the great things being accomplished by the Marshall University alumni community.

Highlighting the list of more than a dozen honorees at the 2023 awards banquet are Bill Noe and Dr. Randi D. Ward as the recipients of the Marshall University Distinguished Alumnus and Alumna award. Randy Dunfee has been selected as the recipient of the Distinguished Service to Marshall University award. Mendy Aluise has been selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Community Achievement award, and Christopher Taylor will receive the Distinguished Young Alumnus award.

Other awards scheduled for the evening will include the MUAA Chapter of the Year, this year being a tie and awarded to the Marshall University Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley and the Southern Coalfields Alumni and Big Green Chapter located in Parkersburg and Beckley, West Virginia, respectively.

Individual Awards of Distinction will also be presented during the event to honorees from each of Marshall’s schools and colleges. This year’s Awards of Distinction will go to Sassa Wilkes (College of Arts and Media), C. Zachary Meyers (College of Business), Lucianne Call (College of Education and Professional Development), Adam Weibel (College of Engineering and Computer Sciences), Denise Hogsett (College of Health Professions), Dr. Janine Janosky (College of Liberal Arts), Jody Ogle (College of Science), Dr. Robert J. Cure (Marshall University School of Medicine), and Dr. Sarah Dunaway (Marshall University School of Pharmacy).

“We’re so excited to welcome alumni back to campus for our annual awards banquet” said Matt James, executive director of alumni relations. “This event is an opportunity to recognize the remarkable achievements of our awardees while also highlighting the important work our alumni chapters are doing across the country. I can’t wait to honor some of the very best members of our Marshall Family.”

Born in Ashland, Kentucky, and raised in Huntington, Bill Noe is the chief aviation officer for the division of aviation at Marshall. Noe, an accomplished pilot and business executive, is the former president and chief operations officer for NetJets, a global private jet company based in Columbus, Ohio.

Before Noe reached for the skies, he dove below the waters of the Huntington Olympic Pool at the tender age of 4. He was noticed by Huntington YMCA swim team coach, Bob Shaw, who approached him about competitive swimming. Noe began breaking local and state records at a young age, which led him to attending Marshall and joining its swim team. One of Noe’s biggest accomplishments while at Marshall was the 1983 Southern Conference Swimming Championship, where he set six pool, six school and six conference records while leading Marshall to the championship. He also won the “Most Valuable Swimmer” award. Noe was inducted into the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020.

Noe left Marshall his junior year, though he returned and earned his Regents Bachelor of Arts degree in 2005, to work for an industrial contractor. The owner of the company was a pilot who invited Noe on his plane one day, which led to his decision two years later to attend the FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach, Florida. Noe later worked for American Flyers, a well-known training academy, but had his eye on a bigger prize – working for NetJets – which he ultimately achieved. He climbed the NetJets ladder, eventually becoming president and COO in 2006.

Before becoming chief aviation officer at Marshall, Noe served on the university’s board of governors. Marshall’s flight school is named in his honor.

Dr. Randi D. Ward is an educator, chancellor of World University of Leadership and Management, best-selling author, editor and entrepreneur. She graduated from Marshall in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in language arts, setting forth her 37 years as an educator in West Virginia and Georgia.

In 2011, Ward taught English as a second language in Cairo, Egypt. Her time in Egypt had a profound impact on her, and as such wrote her memoir “Because I Believed in Me (My Egyptian Fantasy Came True).” In 2013, Ward founded Rise Up, an adult English language center, with Ahmed Mohamed and Ehab Mohamed, as well as 6 October English Institute with Samar Farouk, which opened in 2014.

Ward has many varied interests and passions. She is a world traveler and has toured and visited 61 countries on four continents, including four trips to Egypt. She penned a second book, “Dream Bigger,” and is working on a new novel “Random Wanderings.” She is also a writer and the chief editor for Morocco Pens, an online Moroccan magazine featuring educational articles and essays in English.  She is a professional motivational speaker and dreams of having her own interview platform to feature talented people around the world and plans to pursue these goals in the near future.

In addition to receiving the Distinguished Alumna award, Ward is the recipient of many other awards and accolades, most recently being recognized as Strathmore’s Who’s Who 2022 Lifetime Achievement award and Hoinser Group’s 2022 Inspirational Leader of Excellence.

In other categories, Randy Dunfee is the recipient of the Distinguished Service to Marshall University award, Mendy Aluise is the recipient of the Outstanding Community Achievement award, and Christopher Taylor is the recipient of the Young Alumnus award.

Dunfee is a Huntington native, entrepreneur and businessman. He graduated from Huntington East High School while working in the afternoons and evenings. His ambition led him from being a stock boy at Fabric Town Interiors to purchasing the company when he was just 21 years old. He is still president of the company and fully active in the day-to-day operations. What began as a business specializing in fabrics has grown to include flooring, carpet, window treatments, upholstery and more. Dunfee has worked with notable clients, including Jay Rockefeller when he was governor of West Virginia and Warner Bros. where he provided set décor for “We Are Marshall.” The famous green carpet at the movie’s premiere in 2006? That was all Dunfee.

Dunfee is a lifelong Marshall fan, and his support for the university has only grown the more involved he has been through the years. Dunfee has worked extensively with the Big Green Foundation and the Quarterback Club, as well as supporting Marshall through the Vision Campaign. In addition to his support to Marshall, Dunfee also supports Hospice of Huntington, Facing Hunger Foodbank and the Boys and Girls Club.

Aluise is a partner at the Huntington-based accounting firm Somerville & Company PLLC. Aluise began her career with Somerville after she graduated from Marshall in 2004. During her career, she has been involved with several professional organizations, including the Huntington Chapter of the West Virginia Society of CPAs, which she served as president from 2015-2016, and currently serves as treasurer of the West Virginia Society of CPAs and is slated to become president in 2025.

Aluise has also been involved with several local nonprofit organizations, including Hospice of Huntington, Marshall Artists Series, Generation Huntington, which is a subcommittee of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, and she served on the Marshall University Alumni Association board of directors. For many years, Aluise was a long-time board member and vice president of Girls on the Run of Cabell and Wayne County, which aims to empower elementary school-aged girls.

Taylor is the chief technology and information officer at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He graduated from Marshall in 2008 and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer forensics. After leaving Marshall, he worked with the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security. As part of his work, Taylor, who grew up in Keyser, West Virginia, was able to travel to several major cities across the country. At present, Taylor has visited 43 states. He also owns his own company, Melanin Travels LLC, which encourages all people, but specifically people of color, to travel more. Through his company, he has traveled to Aruba, Dubai, Rome, Lisbon, Barcelona, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mexico and Jamaica.

After leaving TSA and DHS, Taylor moved to South Korea and taught English as a second language at Noble Academy. When he returned to the U.S., Taylor moved to Washington, D.C. and worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission as a government contractor. In 2014, he received his Cisco Certification and moved to San Francisco. In 2017, he returned to the East Coast and moved to North Carolina. His ultimate goal is to become the chief technology officer or chief information officer of Google or Samsung, which are his two favorite tech companies.

Other honorees at the annual alumni awards banquet include Tia Wooding (Fran Jackson Scholarship), Jaedyn Harris (Janis Winkfield Scholarship), and Destinee Leggett (Nate Ruffin Scholarship).

For more information visit

According to Jan Haddox, nothing in his life has been planned.

Haddox, a long-time resident of Mason County, West Virginia, built a career as an educator and later as an artist. Haddox graduated from Marshall University in 1970 with degrees in art and language arts.

“I had just gotten out of the service,” Haddox said, of his decision to attend Marshall. “I had always been a Marshall fan, and I have two brothers-in-law who had athletic scholarships to Marshall. I have a brother-in-law who played football for Marshall in the ‘70s. Actually, my mother-in-law wouldn’t have allowed me to go anywhere else.”

Haddox said he always knew how to draw, which is why he chose to major in art, but he double majored in language arts on a bit of a whim.

“Most of what I’ve done in life just happened,” he joked. “Not a lot of planning.”

Nonetheless, Haddox took those majors and ran with them, eventually obtaining a master’s degree from Marshall in vocational education, and certifications in gifted education, elementary education, a principal’s certification, and lastly, a certification in social work.

During his time at Marshall, Haddox taught a class as a graduate assistant on the personalities in West Virginia History, which later inspired the subjects of many of his paintings.

“We talked about the history of West Virginia, and the reasons why they came here,” Haddox said.

After graduating, Haddox worked in the Mason County school system. He started as a reading teacher before becoming a vice principal and principal. He then served as an attendance director overseeing attendance and social work.

“I did get to help a lot of kids,” Haddox said. “I was an advocate, and kids need an advocate more so today than ever.”

Haddox retired in 2000, but taught nights at Marshall’s Mid-Ohio Valley Center from 1999-2016. Once retired from education, Haddox turned his attention to a new passion.

“I didn’t really paint until I retired,” Haddox said. “I’d always done artwork. I did the logo for the Point Pleasant River Museum and other businesses. I did whatever people needed, and if I didn’t know how to do something I learned on the job.”

Haddox’s work, which can be found on his website, initially combined his love of history and art when he first began painting regularly. Many of his paintings feature historical figures in West Virginia history, including Mad Anne Bailey, Cornstalk, Simon Kenton and Chief Logan. Haddox has since branched out to feature landscapes and still life, as well as pet portraits and wildlife, affectionately called “Janimals.”

Haddox’s work has been exhibited at the Tamarack’s Fine Arts Gallery in Beckley, West Virginia, as well as the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington, the West Virginia Cultural Center and State Museum in Charleston, and outside the state in Columbus, Ohio, and Chillicothe, Ohio. Haddox also offered historical insight to Robert Griffin, who painted the mural along the floodwall in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Though his work stretches across many counties and cities in the Ohio River Valley and is considered in-demand by those around him, Haddox creates his artwork primarily for the good of the community.

“I do some commissions, but it’s mostly free,” Haddox said. “One of my favorite presents is just to give somebody artwork.”

In addition to Haddox’s well-known career as an educator and artist, he is also heavily engaged in different service projects and giving back to his community.

Haddox has served on the Mason County Public Library board, during which the library board built three new libraries, and he also served on the Mason County Development Authority board. The MCDA focuses on fostering new businesses and a strong economy in the Mason County region.

Perhaps Haddox’s biggest passion project of late is the Mason County Veterans Memorial. The Veterans Memorial will establish a permanent tribute honoring all Mason County, West Virginia, veterans from World War I to present day that have been honorably discharged, all those who currently serve, and those who will serve in the future. Haddox, who is a United States Army veteran and served during the Vietnam War, is the art consultant for the project.

Steve Halstead, president of the Veterans Memorial project, said Haddox is a true asset to their community.

“Jan was the first person I thought of for the project because of his art abilities and history awareness,” Halstead said. “He’s been a staple and is always involved in the community.”

The Veterans Memorial project began in February 2022 and is divided into two phases. The first phase will recognize Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients, including a bronze statue of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jimmy G. Stewart, a recipient and Mason County native who was killed in the Vietnam War. Phase one will also honor the fallen veterans from Mason County who were lost in battle from World War I to present day, as well as list the names of the POW-MIA, and the six branches of service. Phase two will honor all Mason County residents who served in the U.S. military and were honorably discharged.

Haddox and Halstead said they are pleased with the positive response they’ve received regarding the memorial.

“It’s a huge project,” Haddox said. “We’re shocked at how much support we’ve gotten from the community, it’s just super. That’s the kind of community we live in here.”

The committee broke ground on the project in November 2022, and is planning a dedication on Veterans Day 2023. The memorial will be located next to the Bridge of Honor in Mason. More information about the Mason County Veterans Memorial can be found at

The pageantry and excitement of Homecoming will return to Marshall University beginning Monday, Sept. 25 and culminating with the crowning of Mr. and Miss Marshall at halftime during the game against Old Dominion University on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Slotted between early-season matchups against Virginia Tech and North Carolina State, this year’s celebration will mark the earliest Homecoming has come to the Huntington campus since a victory over Toledo in the 1977 Homecoming game on Sept. 24.

“Homecoming is such an integral part of the Marshall University calendar for our alumni, our supporters and our student population,” said Matt James, executive director of the Marshall University Alumni Association. “It is a unique time where the entire Marshall family comes together to celebrate the rich history and proud traditions of our university. And this year we are excited to shake things up a bit with an earlier date right in the heart of the schedule. So, mark your calendars and join us in September for as many events as your schedule will allow as we prepare for another wonderful week of Homecoming activities.”

Several pillar Homecoming events will highlight the week-long celebration, including the annual Unity Walk, Homecoming Parade, Picnic on the Plaza and numerous tailgates and gatherings throughout the day on Sept. 30. The week will conclude with the Thundering Herd taking on the Old Dominion Monarchs in a Sun Belt Conference matchup at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

“We are super-excited to welcome everyone back to Joan C. Edwards Stadium for Homecoming 2023 on Sept. 30,” said Athletic Director Christian Spears. “The Sun Belt schedule has offered us a unique opportunity for a late September Homecoming game against a familiar conference foe in ODU. We look forward to seeing all of Herd Nation join us at The Joan for a beautiful day of football on Sept. 30!”

The Thundering Herd is coming off a 9-4 season, highlighted by a historic win over Notre Dame and a victory in the Myrtle Beach Bowl. Marshall finished third in the East Division during its inaugural season in the Sun Belt Conference.

Since the opening of The Joan in 1990, Marshall is 27-6 in Homecoming games and 9-1 over its past 10 games. This season will mark the third time the Monarchs have come to Huntington as the Homecoming opponent, with the Herd taking victories in 2021 and 2017.

For more information about Marshall’s 2023 Homecoming celebrations, contact the Marshall University Alumni Association at (304) 696-3424 or for ticket information call 1-800-THE-HERD.

Dr. Friday Simpson had an unconventional path to becoming a doctor.

Originally from Biloxi, Mississippi, Simpson flew from Panama City, Florida, to Phoenix, Arizona, as a commercial charter pilot for 14 years. After so long, Simpson decided to pursue what she had always loved – medicine.

With some encouragement from her late husband Ted, a Huntington native, she applied and was accepted at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine with dreams of becoming a physician. The process is a bit different than learning to fly.

“In medical school, it just seems like it never quits. Twenty-nine graduate hours in medical school per semester, that was a lot tougher, much, much tougher than an undergraduate course. So yeah, the discipline was different,” Simpson said.

Simpson now has a scholarship for medical students who commit to practicing in rural West Virginia. She hopes to be a small part of keeping talented physicians in towns where they are needed the most.

Simpson knows the battle of completing medical school firsthand. She was diagnosed with lymphoma during her time in medical school, which forced her to put a pause on her studies. She believes her experience with cancer has given her compassion for her patients that she could have never had otherwise.

“That gives me a new perspective on compassion for people who are ill because nobody really knows what’s that’s like unless you’ve been there,” she said. “You know you go to a doctor; you’re having a checkup and they say you have cancer. That didn’t happen to me like that, but I know what happens to my patients a lot. And when they hear that word it is very devastating. It was devastating to me.”

Simpson now aims to give back in more ways than one, with compassion for her patients, and financial assistance that will empower the next generation of healers.

“You know, I could leave here today and not take a thing with me or whatever and make three times as much money working 40 hours a week and let everybody else take care of all the rest of it and not have a thought about it. But it doesn’t help our medical community if I do that.”

Simpson knows the financial strain placed on medical students after they graduate often makes them more likely to be forced to leave West Virginia or other rural communities. She believes scholarships will help more students say yes to staying where many want to be all along – home.

“So it may not be a whole lot, but every time that you lower $1,000 for them, it’s more likely that they might stay in this area to practice,” Simpson said.

Simpson now practices privately in Huntington and prefers the advantages, including the unconventional aspects she is allowed to bring into her office. Upon walking into her office, one will quickly see a few feline friends roaming the halls, and her reception area is less like a traditional doctor’s waiting area, but more like a living room in a home. Across the walls are photos of her and her husband taken on their many cruise trips. She says patients prefer the less intimidating feel of her office, and that private practice gives her more time to spend with each patient.

Simpson said she prefers working this way, even if she could make more money elsewhere. She knows where she is needed, and where she will make the most impact.

Simpson, like any doctor, knows the ups and downs that accompany the territory. Being a doctor comes with hard work and often having to give bad news.

“I’ve known when some of them are leaving here that it will be the last time I will see them. And we’ve told them that. That’s the hard part,” she said. “I’ve said, ‘This will probably be the last time that I see you as a patient.’ And then some of my patients have spouses that are ill that aren’t even my patients. And you can help them along to understand what they’re going through a little bit more.”

Although being a doctor has its heavy moments, there are also moments of success, healing and fun. Simpson’s personality and style have become a part of her everyday work.

“I think my patients see me a little bit differently, as more of a friend-kind of a doctor,” she said “In fact, they tell people this is my friend…I’m a family doctor. I enjoy joking…In fact, we were talking yesterday, if somebody comes in and I’m not joking, or laughing with them, or some sarcasm, that they think I’m ill, because they expect that after a while.”

Simpson doesn’t expect future students to follow in her exact footsteps but hopes some will be inspired to stay in the Mountain State. A little can go a long way, and it might be the difference for someone else.