By C.V. Moore
This weekend, WVU Tech will maintain a tradition, celebrate some recent accomplishments and continue to hope that they will both translate into a brighter future.
A “Celebrate Tech” event on Saturday will coincide with the school’s yearly Baisi Classic, a series of basketball games named for WVU Tech’s legendary coach, Neal “Papa Bear” Baisi.
“It will be a great family atmosphere for people to come out and see friends and make new friends and revisit their history at Tech,” says Stacy Daniel-Fragile, a 1996 Tech graduate and a member of the Alumni Association Board who planned the alumni activities on Saturday.
“It’s a cool opportunity to bring a lot of Golden Bears back on campus. Last year was the 100th year of basketball on campus and there was a great turnout. We’re hoping to keep that tradition going,” says Adrienne King, WVU Tech spokesperson.
Between games played by both the women’s and men’s teams, WVU Tech President Carolyn Long will make a short speech to highlight some accomplishments put into place since her tenure began a year ago.
With several major renovation projects and the implementation of new academic programs, the school is pursuing a plan to turn a corner on declining enrollment, budgetary woes and aging facilities. The state legislature mandated the revitalization project in 2011.
Staff will be on hand to discuss the latest updates, and photos of recent renovations will be on display.
Daniel-Fragile says that what stands out about the changes at her alma mater is the sense that the campus is “moving forward” and facing difficult challenges that have been sidelined in the past.
“They are facing them head-on and I think it’s a good sign for current and prospective students. As an alumnus, I’m glad to see the changes happening,” she said.
One of the big changes on campus in 2012 was the demolition of Coed Hall, which was, in the view of administrators, beyond renovation.
Seeing her college home torn down was sad, but Daniel-Fragile says she knew it was something that needed to be done. She believes that renovations to other dorms will attract future students and retain current students.
“The renovations to Old Main were also much needed, and I’m glad to see they have an administration there that’s willing to confront the issues and fight for Tech and do what needs to be done,” she said.
This weekend, she most looks forward to interacting with alumni, increasing membership in the Alumni Association, and “welcoming faces we haven’t seen in a while back to campus.”
“The alumni are only seeing the negative articles in the newspapers and it’s good to connect with them to get the word out that Tech is still viable. We can help by getting involved and spreading the word and getting students recruited,” she says.
“If there are no students, there will be no Tech.”
Campus officials are touting the following accomplishments as part of their celebration:
— New academic programs in forensic investigation, aviation management, secondary math and secondary science education
— Golden Bear athletics accepted into the United States Collegiate Athletic Association
— Newly renovated aquatics center and weight room in the Neal D. Baisi Athletic Center
— Old Main renovations totaling $3 million
— Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences ranked in the top 100 best undergraduate engineering programs by U.S. News and World Report
— 2012 nursing class achieved a 93 percent passage rate on the NCLEX licensure exam
— A new Student Success Center is scheduled to open in Spring 2013
— 2012 men’s soccer team was national championship runner-up
The Baisi Classic is a series of basketball games named for WVU Tech’s legendary coach, Neal “Papa Bear” Baisi, who coached the school’s basketball team from 1955 to 1967. He lead the team to two West Virginia Conference Tournament Championships and maintained a career record of 319-76.
“He put West Virginia Tech on the map with his innovative pressing and scoring style of play. His teams in the 1950s and 1960s traveled the country for tournaments and led the nation in scoring six times,” wrote WVU Tech basketball coach Bob Williams last year on the 100th anniversary of the school’s basketball team.
Free admission to the Baisi Classic is available for faculty, staff and students with a valid Tech ID. Alumni can contact the Alumni Office at 304-442-3131 for tickets.
General admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children.
Cake and door prizes round out the day’s festivities.
For more information, visit wvutech.edu.
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