Skip to main content


The WVU Alumni Association will celebrate the winners of the 2018 West Virginia University Homecoming Awards, which is given to graduates who have demonstrated Mountaineer values throughout their lives and careers.

Brien Forst and  WVU Medicine Children’s  will serve as Grand Marshals for the annual Homecoming parade scheduled for Friday (Oct. 5) at 6:30 p.m. on High Street in Morgantown. Forst (‘99 BS, ’99 BS) is a childhood cancer survivor and grateful former patient of WVU Medicine Children’s. He is a software engineer with Northrup Grumman Corporation. Forst will be accompanied on the parade route by three WVU Medicine Children’s miracle kids.

Dr. Patrice A. Harris (’82 BA, ’86 MA, ’92 MD) is the 2018 Outstanding Alumna. Harris has spent her career striving to improve the lives of others through advocacy and her expertise in pediatric psychiatry. Harris has been elected to serve as the 174th President of the American Medical Association. When she assumes that role in 2019, she will be the first African-American woman elected to the prestigious position.  She is a member of the  WVU Foundation Board of Directors and WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

The David W. Jacobs Lifetime Service Award has been awarded to  Neil E. Bolyard (’59 BS, ’63 MA). An innovative, student-centered leader, Bolyard served as the Director of Financial Aid at WVU for three decades. He is a past president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a member of the WVU  Student Life Hall of Fame and a recipient of  Mountaineer Week’s Most Loyal Staff Member Award.

Dr. Brian Lawson (’08 PharmD) is the recipient of the Margaret Buchanan Cole Young Alumni Award. Dr. Lawson is the Director for Professional Affairs for the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. Known as a mentor and role model to students and fellow alumni, Lawson has served as commencement speaker for the School of Pharmacy and President of the School of Pharmacy Alumni Association. He is a charter member of the  School of Pharmacy Hall of Fame and serves on the School of Pharmacy Leadership Council. 

Recognizing outstanding citizenship and service within his community,  Dr. Larry Rhodes (’84 MD) is the James R. McCartney Community Service Award recipient. Rhodes is a pediatric cardiologist and Associate Dean of Medical Affairs at  WVU Tech. As part of his renowned career, Rhodes has conducted community-based clinics across West Virginia, has specialized in near-home healthcare for families with limited resources, and has established Heart Camp for children with cardiovascular conditions and Camp Tomorrow is Mine to foster self-esteem in children.

Bill Peters (’69 BS) is the recipient of the Paul B. “Buck” Martin Award.  A retired lawyer, Peters has served as a tireless role model and advocate for LGBTQ+ students, creating initiatives that focus on community improvement, advocacy and care. His generosity has led to a more inclusive campus by enabling the  WVU LGBTQ+ Center to hire students to develop programs and conduct research, bringing topical speakers to campus and celebrating achievement at Lavender Graduation.

The John F. Nicholas Jr. Award, honoring a graduate who has given outstanding service and contributions to an alumni group, is being awarded to  Matt Reilly (’11 BS). Reilly is the Division Director at Robert Half Management Resources. As a volunteer, he serves in a leadership role with the  College of Business and Economics Young Professionals Network and as President of the Baltimore Chapter of the WVU Alumni Association, where he helps to foster networking opportunities for students and alumni. 

Awardees will be recognized during the Homecoming parade on Friday, October 5, and at halftime of the WVU vs. Kansas football game Saturday (Oct. 6).  

Submit nominations for 2019 Homecoming awards.