West Virginia University’s Office of Student Affairs is proud to announce the recipients of the 2009 Hall of Fame and Outstanding Achievement awards. The winners will be honored at an induction ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8 at the Erickson Alumni Center.

The Student Affairs Outstanding Achievement Award will be presented to Carolyn Peluso Atkins. The 2009 Student Affairs Hall of Fame awards will be presented to Joyce L. Aitken, Shirley A. Daft and Margaret E. Kovac (posthumously).

Student Affairs Outstanding Achievement Award
Carolyn Peluso Atkins

Carolyn Peluso Atkins is a professor in the department of Speech Pathology & Audiology at WVU. Atkins received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in rhetoric and public address, a master’s degree in speech-language pathology and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from WVU.

Atkins was the 2005 West Virginia CASE Professor of the Year. This national teaching award, sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, is based on dedication to teaching, commitment to students and innovative instructional methods.

Atkins has received numerous honors and awards. Most notably, she received the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teacher; was selected as Most Loyal Faculty Mountaineer; received the College of Human Resources and Education Laddie Bell Award for Distinguished Service; was inducted into Mountain Honorary; and was named Italian-American Woman of the Year by the Clarksburg Italian Heritage Festival.

Having served on more than 100 committees at WVU, Atkins was elected chair of the Faculty Senate in 1992 and in 1997 was named WVU Faculty Advocate for the Class of 2001. Currently, she serves on the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Advisory Council for Alcohol and Other Drugs and the Outstanding Senior/Order of Augusta Selection Committee.

Atkins is most recognized as the creator of “Student Athletes Speak Out,” a service-based program that prepares WVU student-athletes for public speaking through development of communication skills and self-confidence.

Student Affairs Hall of Fame
Joyce Aitken photo

Joyce Aitken began working at WVU in 1966 in the Student Loan Office, formerly under Financial Aid. Of her 44 years of service to WVU, 32 years were spent working for the Division of Student Affairs. Although her reporting structure changed in the 1990s, Aitken’s work ethics were guided by the values of Student Affairs: absolute integrity, commitment to excellence, wisdom, respect for human dignity and cultural diversity, compassion and humility and clear and concise communication.

Aitken graduated from the Morgantown Business College with an associate’s degree in business administration. While at WVU, Aitken received several awards from the Center for Black Culture and Research.

While working in the Financial Aid Office, Aitken worked with student loans, advised students on dispersing monies and how to sign up for promissory notes, held exit interviews with students and explained the importance of repayment of their loans. Aitken was also instrumental in developing a solid relationship with ESCI, WVU’s institutional loan servicer.

Aitken’s favorite part of working at WVU was working with the students. More than 100 students still keep in touch with her by e-mail, telephone, mail or personal visits. Aitken is an avid Mountaineer fan and rarely misses a football or basketball game.

Aitken and her husband, Eugene, have been married for 37 years and have two children and one grandson.
Shirley Daft
Shirley Daft began working for WVU in 1982 in the Technology Education Doctoral Program. In 1985, she transferred to the Division of Family Resources. In 1992, she moved to the Financial Aid Office, where she remained until her retirement in 2008.

During her time with Financial Aid, Daft worked with various University departments in reference to scholarships, grants, stipends, etc.

Daft served as campaign coordinator for the United Way for 20 years and also served on WVU’s Staff Council. She was the primary contact for the scholarships awarded to employees and their children.

Daft also enjoyed volunteering with the Special Olympics for the six years that the program came to Morgantown.

Daft has been recognized as Employee of the Quarter and was an Employee of the Year nominee. She also received the First Annual Eagle Award given to an outstanding liaison for the Student Affairs Business Operation.

Daft and her husband, Robert, have been married for 38 years. They have one daughter, two sons, one adopted niece and eight grandchildren.
Peggy Kovac photo
Margaret E. Kovac (posthumously), better known as Peggy, was born and raised in the Morgantown area and dedicated her life to helping others. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in community health education and secondary education and a master’s degree in community health education.

Kovac began her employment with the University at the Campus Ministry Center in 1980. In 1985, she became an administrative assistant at the Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services and in 1988, Kovac became the University’s Inaugural Health Educator. As the coordinator of the Health Promotion Program, Kovac served WVU Student Health Services for 20 years.

Kovac was well known by many students around campus, focusing on safe sex and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Her Condom Caravan program was a tremendous success and many students on campus are appreciative of her efforts.

One of her greatest contributions was the creation, development and staffing of the Student Health Advisory Board. The board was designed to be a liaison between the University’s Student Health Service and the students. Kovac was the board’s advisor for many years.

Kovac has received local and national recognition awards, including the 1989 WVU Quarterly Employee of the Year, WVU Student Government Association 2003 Faculty of Year and the 1997 Janet Diggs Award through the Mid-Atlantic College Health Association for exceptional service to a college or university.

Kovac was a sincere, creative and dedicated individual with great interpersonal skills. She lived life with a purpose and her dedication to the profession of college health at WVU will be remembered forever.

For more information about the program or the recipients of the 2009 Hall of Fame Award and Outstanding Achievement Award, contact Sonja Wilson, event program coordinator at Sonja.Wilson@mail.wvu.edu or 304-292-2702.


CONTACT: Sonja Wilson, Student Affairs Hall of Fame
304-293-2702, Sonja.Wilson@mail.wvu.edu