The 2019 honorees are Robert "Bob" and Dorthea "Tia" McMillan, Most Loyal West Virginians; Rhonda Wade, Most Loyal Alumni; Kevin Berry, Most Loyal Faculty/Professional Staff; and Debbie Koon-Friel, Most Loyal Staff Mountaineer. The group will be recognized during the halftime ceremonies of the Saturday, Nov. 9 WVU-Texas Tech football game at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The award recipients are selected by a joint committee representing the WVU Foundation, WVU Alumni Association, WVU Staff Council, WVU Faculty Senate and the Mountaineer Week organizing committee. Each exemplifies faithfulness to the ideals and goals of WVU and West Virginia through business, professional and civic achievement, leadership and service.
Most Loyal West Virginians
Robert "Bob" and Dorthea "Tia" McMillan have devoted their time, talent and treasure to WVU and the state. Residents of Shepherdstown, the couple led Martinsburg's Jefferson Distributing Company, Inc. as president and vice president respectively for more than 30 years.
Bob, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1965-69, was also a member and trustee of the University System of West Virginia, WVU Foundation Board of Directors and Shepherd University Board of Governors. He also serves on the boards of directors for United Bank, Eastern Area Health Education Center, and is also a former member of the Eastern WV Regional Airport Authority.
Tia currently serves on the Emeritus Leadership Council for the Eastern WV Community Foundation, where she previously served as an officer, as well as the maximum number of years as a board member.
Most Loyal Alumni
Rhonda Wade radiates WVU spirit through her three loves - family, work and the Mountaineers. After graduating from the College of Law, Rhonda become the first woman prosecutor in Marshall County and was part of the county’s first Drug Task Force searching for innovative ways to address the drug epidemic.
While working as a public servant, Rhonda raised two daughters who never missed a home football game and eventually became WVU students themselves.
She also leads a group of WVU super fans/season ticket holders called the “Marshall County Mountaineers.”
Most Loyal Faculty/Professional Staff
Kevin Berry, chief operating officer of the WVU Alumni Association, has served the University in a variety of ways for more than 24 years. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in May 1994, followed by a master’s degree in December 1995. While pursuing his master’s degree, Kevin started working as an academic advisor and has remained a WVU employee since.
Those who have worked with Kevin, whether in previous positions or his current role at Alumni, describe him as dedicated. According to one colleague, “Kevin is not the type of person who goes above and beyond for the glory and attention, but he does it because of his passion and love for West Virginia University.”
Most Loyal Staff Mountaineer
Debbie Koon-Friel has not only given generously of her time to students during her more than 35 years at WVU; she has encouraged important connections between students and the surrounding community.
Debbie, an administrative assistant the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, has served as the informal advisor to the Student Association of Public Administrators and been a key connection to generations of students who have graduated from the public administration program.
She volunteers as a United Way captain and supports multiple non-profit organizations and initiatives to support underserved children, such as organizing a backpack drive for students at Mylan Elementary and working with Westover Rotary on community projects.
WVU Arts & Entertainment
Call 1.855.WVU.NEWS for the latest West Virginia University news and information from WVUToday.
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.