The West Virginia University College of Business and Economics will induct four graduates into its renowned B&E Roll of Distinguished Alumni during WVU Homecoming Weekend. This year’s honorees, who represent various industries, will be inducted during a ceremony and luncheon Oct. 5, at 11:30 a.m. at the Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown.
This year’s inductees will include Adesoji O. Adelaja, East Lansing, Michigan; John A. Hannah, Distinguished Professor in Land Policy, Michigan State University; David B. Alvarez, Bridgeport, a highly recognized business owner and leader and established entrepreneur; Marcia A. Broughton, Clarksburg, a successful banking industry lawyer at Jackson Kelly PLLC; and Arthur Gabriel, Sr., Uniontown, Pennsylvania, co-founder of Gabriel Brothers, a private discount fashion retail chain.
This is the eighth class to be inducted into the B&E Roll of Distinguished Alumni, with a total of 35 inductees to date. The award was initiated in 2011 to commemorate B&E’s 60th Anniversary Celebration.
“This year’s group of inductees represents an incredible mixture of accomplishment in a wide variety of business areas,” said Javier Reyes, B&E Milan Puskar dean. “From our first academic honoree to a renowned business developer, and from a highly respected banking industry lawyer to the founder of a recognized retail chain, this is a truly extraordinary group of individuals. The College of Business and Economics is privileged to continue to honor alumni who are so highly accomplished and exemplify the drive for success we try to instill in every B&E student. And even though these inductees are from very different corners of the business world, B&E is the common denominator that brings them all together.”
Adesoji O. Adelaja
Adesoji Adelaja, popularly known as “Soji,” is the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy at Michigan State University. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, to the Venerable Beniah Adelaja and Princess Eva Adelaja, both leading educators, and received his B.S. Degree in Agricultural Mechanization from the Pennsylvania State University before proceeding to WVU in 1978. At WVU, Adelaja received his M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics in 1980, M.A. degree in Economics in 1981, and Ph.D. in Economics in 1985. He was the first to complete his Ph.D. under the joint program between Economics and Agricultural Economics. Since that time, he has worked at Idaho State University and Rutgers University, where upon his retirement in 2004, Adelaja was honored as the George Hammell Cook Emeritus Executive Dean and Professor in recognition of his exemplary service to the university and the state. Michigan State sought him out in 2004, where he helped to revitalize state land use and economic growth until 2011, when his native Nigeria asked Adelaja to serve as Special Adviser on Economic Intelligence at the Nigerian Presidency. He has more than 500 publications and is regarded as one of the most impactful land grant economists. He and his wife Frances have three children.
David B. Alvarez
Alvarez has founded and grown several companies in North Central West Virginia, Southwestern Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia. These companies now employee more than 700, the majority of whom are residents within the operating areas of the companies. His current companies include Applied Construction Solutions, Applied Home Solutions, East Pointe Auto Spa, Elite Mid-Stream, LLC, Energy Transportation, LLC, Enviro-Energy Solutions, LLC, Energy Resource Group, LLC, and Quantum Environmental, LLC. He is also a principal partner with Bear Contracting, LLC, and The Wonder Bar Steak House in Bridgeport. A native West Virginian, Alvarez is an admitted “serial entrepreneur” whose extensive experience in a wide range of enterprises saw him serve in various roles from frontline duties to top management positions. After earning his undergraduate degree from B&E, he was instrumental in growing his family’s business, primarily serving the North Eastern natural gas markets and bridge construction throughout West Virginia. As a member of WVU’s Mountaineer Athletic Club, Alvarez helped form a partnership between the WVU Athletic Department, the FBI CJIS Division and the American Football Coaches Association. This partnership has resulted in the distribution of Child ID Kits to hundreds of thousands of children. Alvarez currently serves as vice chair of the West Virginia University Board of Governors, board chairman of MVB Financial Corp., and as a member of the Richmond Federal Reserve Industry Roundtable. He and his wife Kimberly have four children.
Marcia A. Broughton
Broughton is a member of Jackson Kelly’s Banking industry group, focusing primarily on tax and trusts and estates. She practices out of the Firm's office in Bridgeport, and has worked for Jackson Kelly since 2003. She has been highly decorated in her profession, having been named to Best Lawyers’ lists in 2017 (Business Edition – “Women in Law”; Bridgeport, Trusts and Estates – “Lawyer of the Year”); 2016 (Morgantown, Tax Law – “Lawyer of the Year”); and 2014 (Morgantown, Trusts and Estates – “Lawyer of the Year”). Broughton was named to Women Leaders in Law in 2013 by The American Lawyer Magazine and has been recognized among West Virginia Super Lawyers in Estate Planning & Probate Law from 2007-18. Before coming to Jackson Kelly, she was a partner at Johnson, Simmerman & Broughton, LC from 1994 to 2002. After earning an accounting degree at B&E in 1976, she earned law degrees at the WVU College of Law in 1979 and the Georgetown University Law Center in 1983. She is a fellow in the West Virginia Bar Association, American College of Trust & Estate Counsel and the American Bar Association, as well as a member of the West Virginia Society of CPAs. She is a member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors and B&E’s Accounting Advisory Council. Broughton and her husband Stephen have one child and live in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Arthur Gabriel, Sr.
After graduating from B&E in 1961, Gabriel co-founded Gabriel Brothers, a private discount fashion retail chain. Based in Morgantown, the company grew to locate stores in Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia under the names of Gabriel Brothers or Rugged Wearhouse. Alvarez & Marsal Capital acquired a majority interest in Gabriel Brothers in 2012, and in 2013 the company rebranded its Gabriel Brothers stores as Gabe’s. Arthur was the son of Z.G. Gabriel, a Lebanese immigrant who sold discount goods out of a truck, went bankrupt in 1930 and then opened a small shop in Uniontown in the 1940s where he began selling factory overruns. His father sent all of his six children to college, and in the 1950s earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Kent State University. The elder Gabriel served for three years in the Navy and then obtained a master’s degree in political science from West Virginia University. Arthur and his brothers adopted their father’s concept of selling brand-name goods, including overruns or imperfect items, at sizable price reductions. Gabriel served on the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon, and was a member of the founding board of directors of Centra Bank, headquartered in Morgantown. He and his wife, Millicent, who died in 2016, have four children and several grandchildren.
Nominees must meet specific criteria: in addition to being alumni of the College, they must be at least 10 years post-degree, and have distinguished themselves by success in business or life at the regional, national or international level. Inductees are representative of the tremendous successes of B&E’s graduates.
CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics
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