Virginia University at Parkersburg
St. Marys Resident Overcomes Barriers To Achieve Dream
CONTACT: Janet Ogilvie, director of counseling and student assistance services, 304-424-8243.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
When Donna Winland of St. Marys walks across the stage Friday (Dec. 14) night to receive her college diploma, she will have overcome many barriers, including a pesky concrete parking lot one.
Mrs. Winland will receive an Associate in Science degree in business administration during West Virginia University at Parkersburgís 7 p.m. Commencement exercises. Itís the culmination of a dream come true.
"I was the first in my family to graduate from high school, " the 52-year-old mother of three noted. "I never believed it possible that I could go to college."
"It really started within me," she continued. "I was afraid I would be the only Ďold" one in class. But I found I was equal to the teenagers; we were all struggling to get that grade in class."
Her first experience with college involved a barrier she hadnít planned on. Fearful and nervous, she attended her first college class -- an orientation to college course Ė in 1998.
"After the class session was over, I went out into the parking lot and said to myself, ĎPraise the Lord! Iím in college!í and proceeded to drive the wheels of my car over one of the parking barriers," she recalled, smiling. Then, embarrassed, she had to track down a campus security guard to help move her car.
Making her dream of a college education a reality is proving to be an inspiration to her children as well. A son and daughter are pursuing degrees in automotive/diesel truck systems and nursing, respectively, at Washington State Community College. Her youngest son, a junior in high school, is planning to enroll in the welding program at WVU Parkersburg.
Being in college has "transformed" her, she believes. "My attitude has changed. I have respect for myself," she noted
And Mrs. Winland has decided that what she really wants to do is be a nurse. "Iíve always feared chemistry which you need to be accepted into the nursing program. But Iíve conquered it now and Iím ready to give it a try," she said.
Approximately 130 area residents are candidates for graduation. Kay Goodwin, WV Secretary of Education and the Arts, will deliver the Commencement address. The exercises will be held in the collegeís multi-purpose room.
Faculty marshals will be Randy Oldaker, assistant professor of German and English, and Goran Trajkovski, assistant professor of computer science. Patrick Bitner, president of Student Government, will provide greetings from the student body. The College Chorale will perform with musical accompaniment provided by the Eastlawn Brass Quintet.
Mrs. Goodwin is a past chairman of the University of West Virginia System Board of Trustees. She has served on the board of directors of WVU Hospitals as well as on the board of the West Virginia United Health System, and the institutional Board of Advisors at WVU. She has served on various state and national arts and higher education boards and in various leadership capacities, including chairman of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.
In 1996, she was named WVUís Outstanding Alumna and in 1997 received the WVU Presidentís Distinguished Service Award. A former college and university faculty member, she was appointed as cabinet secretary by Governor Bob Wise in January, 2001.
A reception honoring the graduates and their families will be held immediately following the ceremony in the cafeteria area.
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