Purdy named WVU Alumni Association's 2013 Alumnus of the Year; former Mountaineer great Talley to be grand marshal of Homecoming Parade
West Virginia University alumni are passionate, dedicated and loyal. They carry the gold and blue spirit with them wherever they go.
Two legendary Mountaineers who personify those characteristics will be recognized by the WVU Alumni Association during Homecoming festivities next weekend (Oct. 18-19).
Poca native Verl O. Purdy never left his University behind. The Academy of Distinguished Alumni member is passionate about his alma mater and has maintained a life-long commitment to the University. In honor of his service to WVU, he will be recognized as the 2013 Outstanding Alumnus.
The Homecoming Parade Marshal is also no stranger to the old gold and blue. Darryl Talley wowed college and professional football crowds with his defensive hits and passionate enthusiasm. After a NFL career spanning nearly 14 years, he retired from the NFL and, to this day, remains the Buffalo Bills all-time leading tackler. The WVU Homecoming parade begins at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 on High Street.
The WVU Alumni Association will honor Purdy and Talley during halftime of the WVU-Texas Tech game on Oct. 19.
Homecoming king and queen candidates were announced, as well. For more information, click here.
“Homecoming is a true celebration of our alumni and the many time-honored traditions at WVU. Verl and Darryl are true Mountaineers who love this University and have continued to be passionate advocates for our alma mater. We are so pleased to recognize both of them during this year’s Homecoming festivities,” said Stephen L. Douglas, president and CEO, WVU Alumni Association.
Verl O. Purdy
Purdy graduated from WVU in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. After working for B.F. Goodrich Chemicals, he joined FMC Corp. as an area production manager in 1967. In 1969, he joined the BASF group where he played a major role in developing the company into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
After receiving his master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina in 1973, Purdy continued to prosper as a booming entrepreneur. He became CEO of Rio Tinto Zinc Chemicals in the United States and Canada. Again, he shaped the company from the ground-up into a front-runner in the chemical treatment industry. Purdy founded the AGDATA group of companies, now one of the largest agricultural, animal, and human health data analysis and marketing companies in the world. He sold AGDATA in 2010 and formed Cadrillion Capital to invest in healthcare and information companies.
Purdy’s commitment to excellence expands beyond his companies to the community, especially in his support of education. He is a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary International, a sponsor of the Technology Forum at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and has established an annual scholarship fund for Poca High School students.
Today, Purdy’s commitment has remained strong. He is a member of the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni, the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame and WVU Chemical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He was awarded an honorary degree from WVU in 2009 and was inducted into the Order of Vandalia in 2011.
Purdy took on a leadership role in the WVU Building Greatness campaign, helping the Statler College of Engineering raise more than $22.5 million. His generosity and leadership also led to the renovation of the Alfred F. Galli Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory at WVU and the creation of Purdy Circle at The Erickson Alumni Center. In 2004, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the WVU Foundation where he served as chairman. He currently is co-chairman of the Foundation’s State of Minds Campaign to raise $750 million for WVU.
Talley is one of the most prolific tacklers in Mountaineer and Buffalo Bills history. Over the course of his four years in Morgantown, Talley amassed a school record of 484 career tackles. He was a heroic player and was recognized as Sports Illustrated player of the Week after his 15 tackles versus Boston College.
During the Pitt game, Talley intercepted rival Dan Marino’s pass to set up a Mountaineer field goal, blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown. He helped steer the Mountaineers in their victory in the 1981 Peach Bowl.
Stardom was quickly approaching after being named WVU’s MVP and becoming the school’s third Consensus All American. As a result of his remarkable success as a Mountaineer, Talley was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Talley played in the 1983 Hula Bowl and was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. During his NFL career, he participated in four Super Bowls and two Pro Bowls. He spent the 1995 campaign as an Atlanta Falcon and played his last game with the Minnesota Vikings.
In 2003, Talley was inducted into the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame, becoming one of only 28 individuals to receive this honor. His iconic legacy remains as the Bills’ all-time leading tackler with 1,137 career takedowns. He also recorded 38.5 sacks and 11 interceptions as a Bill.
Talley is a graduate of Shaw High School in Cleveland and earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from WVU.
CONTACT: Tara Curtis, Alumni Association
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