Skip to main content

Order of the Vandalia to induct five new members

No thumbnail image for this story
These five WVU supporters, both alumni and faculty, will be inducted into the Order of the Vandalia Saturday.
Download full-size

Five new members will be inducted Saturday into the Order of Vandalia, the highest honor for service to West Virginia University. The five possess a variety of talents and professional backgrounds, but share a common love for the University as demonstrated by their many contributions to its mission.

The inductees join more than 150 well known, and not-so-well known, recipients, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Hazel Ruby McQuain, Sen. Jennings Randolph, John Chambers, James "Buck" Harless and Jack Fleming.

The current inductees are:

·      Nancy McCormick DiPaolo, former chair of the WVU Alumni Association and a “Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer.”

·      John T. Fahey, former chair of the WVU Alumni Association and former member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors.

·      James Gardill, former adjunct lecturer at the WVU College of Law, former member of the College’s Visiting Committee, former chair of the WVU Alumni Association and a WVU Outstanding Alumnus 

·      Dr. Martha Dilley Mullett, Professor Emerita of Pediatrics in the WVU School of Medicine

·      Tom Witt, Professor Emeritus in Economics and former director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research

DiPaolo serves as the Vice President and Financial Officer of JNDI Corp. in Spring, Texas. She is the principal at DiPaolo Management, LLC, and manages the DiPaolo Family Charitable Fund. Following her graduation from WVU, DiPaolo worked in various positions throughout the world before moving to Houston, Texas, in 1994 with her husband, Jed, and two daughters, Kristen and Mary Kate.

A native of Logan, DiPaolo served as the chairman of the Alumni Association board of directors in 2010 and was a member of the successful 2010 Athletic Director Search Committee. She and her husband were honored as “Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineers” during Mountaineer Week in 2009. DiPaolo also received the WVU Alumni Association’s James R. McCartney Award in 2004 in recognition of her unwavering commitment to WVU.

The DiPaolos served as co-presidents of the Alumni Association’s Lone Star Chapter. In that position, DiPaolo helped to build active alumni membership in Houston; coordinate activities, including the annual Shrimp Boil; and encourage community service projects. She initiated a program to train alumni volunteers to recruit prospective high school students and continues to work closely with WVU Admissions to staff college fairs in the greater Houston area. DiPaolo has been actively involved in developing networking and career opportunities for WVU graduates moving to the Houston area. She currently chairs the Texas chapter of the Mountaineer Parents Club. She aligned with the College of Business and Economics to launch the B&E Young Professional Network.

In addition to her involvement with WVU, DiPaolo is active in several community and non-profit organizations. She previously served as vice president of activities for the National Charity League; was a member of the executive board of the Sugar Plum Cotillion; and volunteers with Northwest Assistance Ministries. She also taught Sunday School for John Wesley United Methodist Church and was active in Bible Study Fellowship.

While a student at WVU, DiPaolo was a member of the WVU cheerleading squad, served as president of Chi Omega Sorority and was a member of Mortar Board. Representing the City of Logan, Nancy was named West Virginia’s Junior Miss in 1973 and participated in the America’s Junior Miss Program in Mobile, Alabama. 

Fahey is senior vice-president and corporate marketing director of United Bank Inc. He received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the WVU College of Business and Economics and holds graduate degrees from both WVU and Georgetown University.  Immediately following graduation at WVU, Fahey joined then-President Gordon Gee’s staff and served for two years before accepting employment in the private sector.

Fahey is a 30-plus-year career business leader who has held positions in manufacturing, higher education, the computer industry and, since 1991, in banking. He is co-founder of Centra Bank Inc., now United Bank, which was recognized by both Entrepreneur and INC magazines as one of the top boutique financial service companies in the country and identified by the investment banking community as one of the fastest growing banks in the nation.

In addition, Fahey continues to run his family’s property and natural resource business in central West Virginia and is a principal in a real property investment group in Southern Florida. 

Fahey has been actively engaged in the life of WVU for more than three decades. He completed a two-year term (2013-15) as the chairman of the Alumni Association board of directors, having joined the board in 2008 and serving in respective committee chair and officer capacities until being elected chairman in 2013. He also was a member or the board of Directors of the WVU Foundation from 2013 to 2015.

His further involvement includes service to the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, the University’s Homecoming Committee, the Visiting Committee for the Health Sciences School of Nursing and School of Public Health, the Mountaineer Athletic Club and WVU’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni Selection Panel.

The third of three siblings in his family to graduate from WVU, John is a native of Weston where he grew up on his family farm. His local volunteer service goes to the Salvation Army, Rotary and the United Way.

Gardill and his family have a long history with WVU. Gardill, his son Christopher and his daughter Catherine are all graduates of the College of Law, while his wife Linda and his daughter Rebecca both have multiple degrees from the University.

He is a member of the law firm of Phillips, Gardill, Kaiser & Altmeyer, PLLC, based in Wheeling. He has been associated with the firm for some 43 years, during which time he also served as general counsel to WesBanco, a publicly traded bank holding company headquartered in Wheeling. He has served as a member of the WesBanco board of directors for approximately 32 years and as chairman of the Board for approximately 22 years. During his time with WesBanco, he was instrumental in the acquisition of 36 banks, and the company has expanded from two locations to 174 offices in five states. Gardill is also a veteran of the United States Army, having served two years on active duty prior to attending the College of Law.

Gardill is a long-time supporter of the University. He served as an adjunct lecturer at the College of Law from 1998 to 2002 and as a member of the College’s Visiting Committee from 2002 to 2006. He was a member of the board of directors of the Alumni Association from 2001 to 2008 and chairman of that board from 2005 to 2007, in which capacity he worked with Steve Douglas, Glen Adrian and Jim Herndon to oversee the design of the Erickson Alumni Center, initiate construction and structure the project financing. Gardill has provided pro bono legal services to the Alumni Association for more than 20 years. He also worked with David Hendrickson and WesBanco to provide free access to a suite at Milan Puskar Stadium for the Alumni Association, donors and friends. In 2008, Gardill was named a WVU Alumni Association Outstanding Alumnus.

Gardill currently serves as chairman of the Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund, which supports West Virginia resident students at WVU. He also created the Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund II to compliment the LPEF and support non-resident students at the University.

Mullett is a Professor Emerita of Pediatrics in the West Virginia University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in neonatal perinatal medicine at WVU Hospitals in 1976 and joined the faculty immediately thereafter. Her career at WVU was spent caring for critically ill newborns and teaching others how to do the same.

Mullett has taught medical students, residents, nurses and respiratory therapists in the emerging field of neonatal medicine. When she began her career this was indeed a fledgling field; very sick infants had to be treated in the adult intensive care unit because a dedicated neonatal unit did not yet exist.

Today, the neonatal intensive care unit, which opened at WVU in 1984 with eight beds, has approximately 40 beds for critically ill newborns. Mullett, an attending physician on the neonatal unit throughout her career, conducted hospital transports of infants herself for years until specialized nurses finally took over that duty. She became the director of the service soon after joining the faculty and oversaw its growth into a state-of-the-art facility in the Children’s Hospital section of Ruby Memorial.

Mullett has also used her medical expertise to serve her country as a member of the Defense Advisory Committee for Women in the Uniformed Services, a position to which she was appointed by the US Secretary of Defense and held for six years. Under the auspices of Project HOPE, which delivers essential medicines and supplies, health expertise and medical training around the globe, Mullett has taught in Zhejiang Medical University Children’s Hospital in Hangzhou, China. A subsequent partnership and exchange program between WVU and Zhejiang enabled her to return to China to teach on numerous occasions.

Mullett is also a member of the Perinatal Section Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics and has taught newborn resuscitation techniques around West Virginia, China and South Africa. Mullett and her husband, Dr. William Neal, live in Morgantown. Their blended family includes six children and 14 grandchildren.

Witt is a Professor Emeritus in Economics following a distinguished career with the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor of economics in 1970 and became full professor in 1980. In 1985, he was named acting director of the WVU Bureau of Business Research; a year later he was appointed director of the renamed Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Witt also served as acting associate dean for the college from 1985 to 1986 and as associate dean for research and outreach from 1996 to 2006 and 2008-2012.

As BBER director, Witt initiated economic forecasting, data and policy analysis programs focused on West Virginia. He organized and directed economic outlook conferences across the state, participated in three tax study commissions and recently served on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways. Under his leadership, the BBER grew to include additional Ph.D. and master’s level economists while providing research training to economics undergraduate and graduate students.

In addition to serving as a faculty member and administrator, Witt has published extensively. His research has been funded by the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the West Virginia Department of Energy, the West Virginia Legislature, the National Institute for Justice, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Dominion Resources and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. He has provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the National Academy Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community.

Witt has twice been recognized with an Outstanding Teacher Award at WVU. The State Journal listed him in their Who’s Who in West Virginia Business in 2000 and the Association for University Business and Economic Research honored him with its highest award, the Thayne Robeson Award, in 2012.

Witt resides in Morgantown with his wife, Grethe Myles, who has her bachelors and master degrees from WVU. 



CONTACT: University Relations

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.