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Pearl Harbor survivor to be honored at WVU Veterans Celebration

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Navy Lt. Jim Downing (Ret,), 104, will be honored at WVU Nov. 3.
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The world’s second oldest Pearl Harbor survivor will be honored at an event celebrating West Virginia University’s 150th anniversary.

At 104, Navy Lt. Jim Downing (Ret.), who was aboard the USS West Virginia during the attack, will be recognized by the WVU Alumni Association in a ceremony at 10 a.m. Nov. 3 on the downtown campus where the ship’s mast and bell are exhibited in front of Oglebay Hall. Following the ceremony, Downing will participate in a book signing at the WVU Bookstore at 11 a.m.

“We’re thrilled that Jim Downing is able to make the trip to Morgantown to see the USS West Virginia and share his story with our veterans and alumni”, said Sean Frisbee, President and CEO of the WVU Alumni Association.  “This is a very special event and we hope all can attend.”

Downing authored The Other Side of Infamy: My Journey through Pearl Harbor and the World of War” in 2016. The book details his distinguished military career and experiences through the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Downing was recently named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘World’s Oldest Living Male Author.’

WVU will also honor U.S. military veterans at its annual Veterans Appreciation Breakfast Nov. 10 at 8 a.m. in the Erickson Alumni Center. The keynote speaker will be Maj. Gen. Kenneth D. Gray, the former WVU vice president for Student Affairs. The breakfast is hosted by the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in partnership with the Division of Talent and Culture, Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC and the Division of Student Life. 

The WVU Faculty Senate has designated Veterans Day, Nov. 11, as a Day of Recognition. Instructors have been asked to make allowances for veterans/military students to participate in events and ceremonies, and supervisors are asked to be flexible to permit employee veterans to attend the breakfast.



CONTACT: Allyson Cannon, WVU Alumni Association; 304.293.0974

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