MADISON - The 32nd annual Boone County West Virginia University Alumni & Friends Pig Roast was held on Saturday, June 29, at Madison City Park and beyond a plethora of good food, spirits, games and kayak fun, the theme of the event is and has always been about giving.
The organization, active since the 1980s, has been named multiple times as the Outstanding Alumni Chapter. After over 300 academic scholarship awards over the last 32 years, 45 new scholarship recipients are celebrated.
Organization President Denise Workman spoke about what the event means and the importance of supporting Boone County students who look to further their education at WVU.
"One thing that we are most proud of is that we raise more money than any chapter in the world, our little group from Boone County," Workman said. "I think that looking back for 32 years, our chapter is student-focused and a lot of the chapters are more about professional networking and we do that, too, but we have always had raising money for scholarships in our mission."
Workman explained the process for how the organization provides the scholarships.
"We have money endowed at the foundation that helps sustain the scholarship giving," she said. "We raise money every year and we are consistently giving and in a short time, we'll top the $1 million mark. We've given to the alumni center so we are able to give there and support our kids, which we are very proud of."
Workman said an important part of the organization's work is inspiring the students who have received scholarships to give back in the future to support students of tomorrow.
"It is a challenge and many of our kids move away, "she said. "Our first scholarship award winner, Aaron Gillespie, is here today. He received $1,000 and we bought Charlie Spencer a trumpet to be in the band. Those were our first gifts. When we retain our talent, they often come back. If they remain local, they most often participate."
Del. Rodney Miller, a WVU Tech graduate, said the organization, which he officially joined five years ago, was a natural fit for him.
"My son just graduated from WVU and he received a scholarship from the organization just like most Boone County students who attend the university," he said. "It's a good group of people, a good product and we take care of our own."
Miller said he enjoys seeing each new crop of students filter into the event as the day progresses.
"I enjoy that and it is very welcoming to our new faces," he said. "They get bookstore cards and T-shirts and the scholoarships make it easy for them to attend WVU or any of its affiliates. Ultimately, hopefully, they come back and help future students as well. This is my son's first event as an alumni so that is very special for me."
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @philipdperry.