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2019 Joseph P. McMurran Society Dinner Reception

Held in the beautiful bi-level atrium of Erma Ora Byrd Hall, the annual Joseph P. McMurran Society Dinner is hosted by President Mary J.C. Hendrix and features a four-course meal prepared by Shepherd University’s own catering department.

As part of the program, Foundation president Chris Colbert welcomed 12 new members into the Joseph P. McMurran Society and presented them with a commemorative gift. Denny Barron was the first to be recognized. Denny is a 1973 graduate of Shepherd, where he majored business. He retired in December 2017 as the executive vice president and chief operations officer of Jefferson Security Bank, where he had worked for 44 years, and he now sits on the bank’s Board of Directors.

Walter and Mary Jo Brown are both Shepherd alumni. Walter graduated in 1969 with a degree in mathematics while Mary Jo graduated in 1970 with a degree in elementary education. Mary Jo is well-known in our Eastern Panhandle community as the Regional Coordinator for Senator Joe Manchin. Walt is retired from the federal government.

Donald and Lynne Cosner moved from Baltimore to the eastern panhandle more than 20 years ago and have come to think of Shepherd as “their school.” They regularly attend CATF and other events on campus and enjoy following Shepherd sports. Don is a retired business owner in the construction and homebuilding industry. Lynne is a retired middle school math teacher at Boonsboro Middle School, where she taught many students who went on to attend Shepherd.

Lyndsey Matschat graduated from Shepherd in 2006 and earned her degree in business and accounting. She now serves as as the assistant prosecuting attorney for the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Susan Mills relocated from Washington, D.C. to Shepherdstown in 2014 following her retirement from a 46-year career as an award-winning producer with CBS News and The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour on PBS. Her lifelong interest in music led her to audition for and join the Masterworks Chorale and she often attends the many musical performances taking place on campus throughout the year.

Dr. Joseph J. Renn, III is a 1960 graduate of Shepherd, where he majored in Biology. Prior to his retirement, he enjoyed a successful career as a pulmonary and critical care physician and clinical professor of medicine at WVU Medical School, and he has told us that it all began with his undergraduate work at Shepherd. His wife, Robin, was also part of the medical community with a 30-year career as an x-ray technologist. While Robin did not attend Shepherd, she shares her husband’s love of and commitment to the university.

Cynthia Smailes-Rybak is a 1998 graduate of Shepherd, where she earned her degree in elementary education. While she now enjoys retirement in Myrtle Beach, SC, she’s a former educator with Berkeley County Public Schools here in the eastern panhandle.

Ray Smock is the retired director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education. Among his many notable achievements is the fact that he was also the first official historian of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1983 through 1995. CNN often calls upon him to act as a political commentator. He and Phyllis remain active in the campus community, with Ray serving on the board of directors for the Congressional Education Foundation, which oversees the work of the Byrd Center, and Phyllis volunteering for the Friends of the Byrd Center.

Provost Scott Beard welcomed guests on behalf of President Hendrix, who was traveling and unable to attend the event. Scott is pictured here with Monica Lingenfelter, executive vice president of the Shepherd University Foundation.

New McMurran members Don and Lynne Cosner are welcomed by fellow society members Jack and Pat Egle and Bill Blair and Sue Mentzer-Blair.

Shepherdstown mayor and Shepherd alumnus Jim Auxer greets David and Lynn Little.

(From l.) Founding McMurran Society member Jim Watson chats with Ben Martz, dean of Shepherd’s College of Business, and Karl Wolf, who is also a McMurran member, as well as a member of the Foundation’s board of directors.

Guests greet each other during a cocktail reception prior to the program.

(From l.) Joseph and Robin Renn pose with Monica Lingenfelter and daughter Jodie Ciarrafo and son Joseph J. Renn, IV.

Guests Winnie McGarty and Diane Steece

Roberta Absher chats with Robin Renn.

Sara Maene chats with first-time guests and Shepherd alumni Roger and Carolyn Anderson.

(From l.) Close friends Barbara Nickell and Betty Lowe, both of whom are society members, always enjoy socializing at the McMurran Society Dinner.

Jack Egle is a longtime member of the McMurran Society and a regular attendee of this annual event.

Scott Beard and Betty Lowe share a laugh with Shepherd English professor Heidi Hanrahan, who was one of several Foundation directors to attend the event.

New McMurran Society member Susan Mills greets fellow guest Stanley Marinoff.

Heidi Hanrahan poses with fellow faculty member Larry Daily and his guest, Sandra Sheehan. Larry is an associate professor of psychology at Shepherd, while Heidi was recently named 2018 Professor of the Year by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia.

Dan and Joan Starliper share a laugh with fellow McMurran Society member Jim Watson.

McMurran Society member and professor emeritus Anders Henriksson

Foundation president Chris Colbert and his wife Samantha

Jim Watson enjoys the brief program that takes place prior to the dinner.

Monica Lingenfelter welcomes the standing room only crowd on behalf of the Foundation.

Guests enjoyed a special musical performance by Shepherd students accompanied by Yu-Hsuan Liao, associate professor of music. (From l:) Kyle Colliflower, a senior from Frederick, MD majoring in music education; Dr. Liao; and Matthew Gray, a senior from Magnolia, DE majoring in music performance/voice.

Kyle is also a Foundation scholar, having received the Walker H. Shipley Music Scholarship (2017-18 and 2019-20) and the William and Jo Ann Knode Scholarship (2016-17).

Guests react to the impressive performances by Kyle, Matt, and Dr. Liao.

(From l, seated): John Miller, Susan Mills, and Ted Walton; (from l., standing): Dan Starliper, Kyle Colliflower, Joan Starliper, Matthew Gray, and Jeffrey Stead

(From l., seated): Karl Wolf, Ross and Karen Cunningham, and Mike Athey; (from l., standing): Sandra Sheehan, Larry Daily, and Heidi Hanrahan

(From l, seated): Ann Hummer, Robbie Snyder, Yu-Hsuan Liao, and Lynne Cosner; (from l., standing): Bill Blair, Susan Mentzer-Blair, Donald Cosner, and Gerald Dodson

(From l., seated): Harrison Lanham, Dennis Small, Anne Small, and Vicki Lanham; (from l., standing): Meg Peterson, Pat Egle, and Jack Egle

(From l., seated): David Little, Lynn Little, Winnie McGarty, and Diane Steece; (standing): Al and Sara Lueck

(From l., seated): Denny Barron, Jim Watson, and Ray and Phyllis Smock; (from l., standing): Bill and Monica Lingenfelter and Austin and Carmen Slater

(From l., seated): Jerry and Sharon Mailey and Erdem and Joan Ergin; (from l., standing): Paula Mayes Coupe, Scott Beard, Anders and Ann Henriksson, and Barbara Hume

(From l., seated): Lyndsey Matschat, Robert Matschat, and Walter and Mary Jo Brown; (from l., standing): Lynn Leatherman and Chris and Samantha Colbert

(From l., seated): Betty Lowe, Barbara Nickell, and Richard Nickell; (from l., standing): Christ Smith, Kelly Smith, Ben Martz, and Cynthia Smailes-Rybak

(From l., seated): Roger and Carolyn Anderson, Jim Auxer, and Dawn Fye; (from l., standing): BreAnne Rugh, Sara Maene, and Jason Best

(From l., seated): Roberta Absher, Sidney Absher, and Stanley Marinoff; (from l., standing): Robin Renn, Joseph J. Renn, III, Jodie Ciarrafo, and Joseph J. Renn, IV

The beautiful centerpieces were arranged by Village Florist of Shepherdstown.

A lovely time had by all.