Marshall to honor Graham

VIENNA – R.V. “Buddy” Graham will be inducted into the Marshall University Athletic Hall of Fame on Sept. 6 in Huntington, Mike Hamrick, Marshall University athletic director, announced at the fourth annual scholarship fundraising dinner on March 7 in Vienna.

“I’m in shock, complete shock,” Graham said after learning about his honor. “I had no idea this was coming and certainly am in appreciation for Marshall.”

Graham said he always felt he owed the university for the great education he received and everything they “have done” for him. Six or seven others will be inducted into the university’s hall of fame at the half-time of the game at which Graham will be honored, he said.

The Marshall University Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley Thundering Bison Club held the scholarship fundraising dinner at the Grand Pointe Conference Center.

Fred Rader was the voice of the event.

An Americana Medley by Toni DeVore, piper for the Pipes and Drums of St. Andrew opened the event. The scholarship fundraising dinner set new records for the club in attendance, corporate sponsorship and funds raised, said President Laurie S. Martin.

Martin said 274 tickets were sold for the dinner.

We had 15 Thundering Bison corporate ($800 level) and five marco corporate ($550 level) sponsors, Martin added.

The clubs net revenue from the dinner was $16,186, said club treasurer Ed Hofmann.

There were many highlights during the evening, Martin said.

Robert E. Fox, one of last year’s honorees, traveled from Lexington, Ky., for the dinner. Martin said Fox also hosted three students from Ritchie County High School who have aspirations of attending Marshall.

Steven Kopp, Marshall University president, introduced Joseph Shapiro as the new dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine for the university. Shapiro discussed the large amount of financial debt medical students gain over the course of their studies. Shapiro said he encourages scholarship endowments to assist medical students with their tuition and fees so at graduation time they are not so deeply in debt.

Attendees Rick Hamilton and his wife, Annette Hamilton, presented a $15,000 endowment to the Marshall School of Medicine that evening, Martin added.

Matt Turner, Marshall University chief of staff, said the scholarships presented to the medical school are particularly important to the university as they work to make the school of medicine more affordable for students. He said the endowment received from the Hamiltons will contribute to a $20 million campaign to raise scholarship money for the school of medicine.

“It’s a really nice gift we believe will be good for the med school,” Turner said. “We have a lot of alums from Wood County who have graduated from Marshall.”

Turner said the ultimate goal for the university, known for their school of medicine, is to bring the physicians studying in West Virginia back to the state to practice medicine. He said the endowment received from the Wood County natives is particularly great because it directly effects the students.

The three honorees: Buddy James, Dan Kimsey and Graham were introduced by an in-depth video of their lives, Martin said. She said MOVID Studios located on St. Marys Avenue in Parkersburg created the videos.

Graham is known for making a lot of accomplishments throughout his life, Martin said.

He enrolled into MU in the fall of 1955 after quickly turning down a scholarship to Florida state to be a “walk on” in golf for the university. He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1966.

Graham became the head coach of the thundering herd golf team in 1962, he said.

In addition to being named the head coach, Graham served as the director of Memorial Field House, creating “Herd Heaven.”

Graham has also made national news in the past. During his senior year at MU, he killed two birds in flight from his tee shot on hole number seven at Guyan Golf and Country Club in Huntington. His accomplishment was publicized throughout the nation.

Graham is the vice president of Professional Services of America, Inc., located on Avery Street in Parkersburg.

President and CEO of Professional Services, Inc., Judy Sheppard, made connections to accommodate the response of people who wanted to be in attendance when the official announcement was made, Martin said.

“The response was so tremendous Mrs. Sheppard purchased five corporate tables to accommodate Mr. Graham’s friends, family and colleagues,” Martin said.

Graham said he is unsure how many family and friends will help him celebrate his recent victory.