D&E honoring alumni for achievements

Davis & Elkins College will honor two of its alumni, along with a group of alumni who spearheaded a fundraising campaign, during the annual Homecoming Banquet and Alumni Awards Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Benedum Hall Dining Room.

Honorees include Dr. Virginia “Ginger” Bowman Rich, Class of ’74, Distinguished Alumna Award; Finish the Field Campaign Committee, Tower Award; and Joel J. Richardson, ’10, Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.

The Distinguished Alumna Award is the highest award given to a D&E alumnus or alumna who has made significant contributions to society in his or her career. The criteria for selection include career advancement and related service to others, significant honors in one’s field, and commitment to Davis & Elkins College.

Rich’s lifelong love for horses led her to a successful teaching and business career. After graduating cum laude from D&E with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1974, Rich went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Animal Science (Equine Nutrition) in 1977 and a Ph.D. in Animal Science (Equine Nutrition) in 1980 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.

She is the president and owner of Rich Equine Nutritional Consulting, a company that specializes in working with private breeding farms, boarding facilities and horses in race training. The company also develops rations and feed formulas, both on a private scale and branded for regional, national and international commercial feed companies.

Her client list has included the Queen of England, the ruling family of Dubai, the State Breeding Farm of Japan and numerous CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and celebrities. Client horses have won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont in the United States, and the 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas, The Oaks, The Derby and Royal Ascot in Europe.

Prior to establishing her business, Rich served from 1980 to 1990 as Extension Horse Specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Co. She also was involved in the development of the Equine Sciences Program at CSU by playing an integral part in course development for the first four-year undergraduate Equine Sciences major in the United States.

In addition, Rich is a frequent contributor to equine publications including QH Journal, Western Horseman, TB Times, Blood Horse and Equus. She served as the editor of the Colorado State University Equine Sciences Newsletter from 1980 to 1990.

Rich has received numerous awards including Directory of Distinguished Americans and Personalities of the West in 1981, Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in the West and Who’s Who in Colorado in 1982, the FA Anderson Extension Award from Colorado State University in 1988, Colorado Horseman of the Year in 1989, and National Western Stock Show Leadership Award and American Youth Horse Council Leadership Award in 1990.

Rich also is committed to community service projects. She is a founding member, volunteer, fund raiser and president of the board of directors for Friends of Faith, a non-denominational ministry for adults with special needs in Bartlett, TN. In 1995, she was the volunteer coordinator and assisted in funding a Special Olympics team competing in The International World Games in New Haven, CT. She also helped raise $7.5 million for the establishment of the Horse Center at CSU dedicated to the advancement of teaching and research in horses, and initiated a handicapped riding program which became a model for the state of Colorado and was then adopted on a national level.

She is a member of the Society of Animal Science, Society of Equine Science, Equine Nutrition & Physiology Society, American Youth Horse Council, Nutrition Institute, Sigma Xi and Epsilon Sigma Phi.

Rich and her husband, Steve, and her sister, Jeanie, share a farm with several dogs, cats, horses and donkeys in Eads, Tenn.

The Tower Award is presented to a D&E alumnus or alumna for outstanding commitment and service to the College and its alumni programs. The criteria for selection include volunteering of time, talent and/or funds in support of the numerous student and alumni programs the College offers.

This year’s recipient is a group of soccer alumni who expressed their devotion to the college by forming the Finish the Field Campaign Committee.

When college administrators decided in February 2013 to proceed with a new Astroturf soccer/lacrosse field, Trustees Bill Nuttall, ’70, and Hank Steinbrecher, ’71, convened a committee of soccer alumni to raise the $600,000 necessary. The result is a field that was once muddy, now transformed into the highest quality synthetic surface with the D&E logo emblazoned proudly in the center.

Under the leadership, the Finish the Field Campaign Committee grew to include J. Adam Baumgardner, ’06; Erik D. Christie, ’88; Nicole “Cole” Dant, ’11; Craig “Rudy” Eppright, ’73; William D. Glenn, ’69; Nils A. Heinke, ’73; Douglas “Doug” A. Homer, ’93; Gary Horvath, ’62; Ray K. LaMora Jr., ’74; Kathleen “Kate” M. McArthur, ’09; William “Scotty” Smyth, ’72; Paul S. Stirrup, ’60; Charles A. Straw, ’70; and Sean E. Walle, ’94. For the past seven months, the group committed to meeting by conference call every Monday evening. Thanks to two large anonymous gifts received in May, the Committee had a strong foundation of support and has continued to raise the balance. As of this week, officials are within $68,000 of the final amount needed.

The field dedication will take place at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The state-of-the-art, all-season soccer/lacrosse field will serve generations of Senator teammates, their fans and the community.

The Outstanding Young Alumna/us Award is presented to a young alumna/us who graduated within the last 10 years and shows promise in his or her profession, including professional achievements and honors, community service/service to others, and commitment to the college.

Richardson is the platoon leader and officer candidate for school support staff for the 197th Regional Training Institute of the West Virginia Army National Guard in Kingwood.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from D&E in 2010. He received the SIFE Leadership Award and International Student Award, and was a member of the Senator Soccer team, SIFE and Student Assembly. He continues to foster his relationship with the college as a member of Friends of Senator Soccer and the D&E LinkedIn Group.

Upon graduation, he enrolled in the Masters in Business Administration program at West Virginia University. However, he took a break from his education a few months later when his National Guard Unit, the 1-201st Field Artillery Battalion, was activated to support Operation New Dawn. During his military duty, Richardson was awarded the Army Achievement Medal in 2011.

He returned nearly a year later to complete his education. He received first place in the Association for Corporate Growth Premier MBA Competition at WVU and second place in the regional competition in 2012. During his last semester in 2012, he was selected as a Technical Operations Intern for Mylan Pharmaceuticals and was then offered a full-time position as new Product Portfolio Management Specialist.

However, in early 2013, he earned his commission as an Army officer and decided to follow his passion for the Army as a full-time career.

Richardson volunteers for United Way service projects in Morgantown and Monongahela County, and helps with fundraising for the Morgantown Church of the Nazarene 2014 mission trip to Costa Rica. He and his wife, Debra, are the parents of a son, Joel Jace Richardson.

For more information, please visit the D&E website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.