Wesleyan alums honored for service

Homecoming Weekend at West Virginia Wesleyan College is a time for alumni, faculty, staff and students to rekindle old friendships and celebrate achievements. On Friday, Oct. 11, the college will recognize nine individuals who, through their personal and professional accomplishments and commitments, exemplify the spirit, service and excellence that Wesleyan seeks to instill in those who pass through the college’s hallowed halls.

– Nicholas Hamisevicz ’04, recipient of the Young Alumni Service Award, graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in international communication from American University in Washington, D.C., and a Masters of Arts degree in international studies from Korea University in Seoul, South Korea.

Hamisevicz is the director of research and academic affairs at the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI) and is responsible for issues affecting the U.S.-South Korea alliance, especially issues related to North Korea. Hamisevicz lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife, Virginia Gum Hamisevicz, a 2004 WVWC graduate and a 2009 WVWC Young Alumni Achievement Award winner.

– Amy Thornton Jones ’98 is the Young Alumni Achievement Award winner. A dietitian, speaker and author on celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, Jones facilitates the Logan County Celiac Support Group in Bellefontaine which she founded in May 2010 and also consults one-on-one with those with Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. She is also the chief clinical dietitian at Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine, Ohio.

In 2011, Jones was honored to be named one of “10 Dedicated Dietitians Who are Making a Difference” by Today’s Dietitian magazine. She is a popular speaker on the topics of celiac disease and weight management, recently appearing as a panelist for two nationally broadcast webinars for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Jones graduated from Wesleyan in 1998, where she was active in nutrition activities and also the music department as a member of the jazz band and concert chorale. She also holds a master’s degree from Ball State University and has completed additional training at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.

– Chaplain Bruce Reed ’76 is the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award. Reed is a 1973 graduate of Parkersburg Community College, a 1976 graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College, a 1979 graduate of United Theological Seminary with both a Master of Divinity degree and Doctorate of Ministry degree.

He holds degrees in church music, theology, counseling and youth ministry and is presently studying in a second Doctor of Ministry program at Wesley Seminary. He has served six different United Methodist Charges in West Virginia and Ohio and is the accompanist for Morris Memorial United Methodist Church, Kanawha City, W.Va. In April 2002, after 29 years of serving local churches, Reed left local church ministry to become the full-time support chaplain of the West Virginia National Guard. With his wife, he provided pastoral support for the over 6,700 members of the West Virginia National Guard and their families. He is presently the State Family Programs Director for the West Virginia National Guard.

– Senator Mike Ross received the Extra Mile/Friend of the College Award. He worked temporarily as a coal miner and heavy equipment operator after his graduation from Coalton High School. In 1971, Ross and business partner, Robert Wharton, started Wharton Gas Company which today provides livelihoods for 20 full-time employees and many other independent contractors throughout West Virginia. Ross has continuously and generously sponsored and supported community events, fairs and festivals, schools, team sports, and charitable activities. In Randolph County alone, he has donated tens of thousands of dollars to nonprofit organizations to enhance the quality of life for our residents.

– Steve ’70 and Carolyn Reneau Shepler ’69 are the recipients of the Alumni Service Award. Steve Shepler is a 1970 graduate and Carolyn Shepler a 1969 graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan. Since graduating from Wesleyan, they have supported their alma mater with their money and their time. They have held alumni gathering in their home and recruited students to the college. Both have been active in the Alumni Council.

– Avah Arbogast Stalnaker ’77 is awarded the Alumni Achievement Award. She has served in the capacity of CEO of Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Weston since January 1, 2012, having been born in the very same hospital in 1953. Stalnaker earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1977 where she was elected W.Va Student Nurse of the Year during her junior year. She earned a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Minnesota. An active member of the Lewis County community, Stalnaker coordinated the annual Weston Rotary Club blood screening for years.

-Leon Thomas III ’05, recipient of the Young Alumni Achievement Award, is currently a student success and retention adviser with the Student Achievement and Success Program at Anne Arundel Community College, where he coordinates mentoring for the Student Achievement and Success Program. Thomas served as assistant director for Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina-Columbia from 2007-2011 and at The American University of Washington, D.C., as student activities advisor from 2006-2007. Thomas has earned a Master of Arts degree from West Virginia University in Higher Educational Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College in educational studies.