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D&E’s Phi Beta Lambda inducts 21 new members

November 19, 2009
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer

Mu Psi Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, national business fraternity at Davis & Elkins College, hosted its 43rd annual honorary banquet Monday at the Elkins Motor Lodge. Twenty-one business administration students were inducted into the fraternity and four community business leaders were named honorary members to its advisory board.

Phi Beta Lambda encourages improvement in scholarship and strengthens the confidence of young adults within themselves and their work. The purpose of the fraternity is to provide the experiences essential in the areas of leadership, cooperative enterprise, economic understanding, scholarship and professional development.

Keynote speaker Dr. David M. Sneed, special counsel to the president of Davis & Elkins College, spoke on the importance of students' building lasting relationships with the college and, upon leaving, remember that "it is a place you can always come back to."

Article Photos

(The Inter-Mountain/Wayne Sheets)
STUDENTS?INDUCTED — Davis & Elkins College Business Administration Department students inducted into the Phi Beta Lambda national business fraternity are, seated, from left, Jessica Schaefer, Melissa Clark, Julia Rivers, Elizabeth Belcher and Alex Coussaule; standing, Alex Taylor, Patrick Myers, Sara Hill, Hilary Stalnaker, Ashley Cunningham, Maryna Razakhatskaya and Anita Jones. Not pictured are Mishani Al-Kafif, Yanery Hidalgo, Dylan Jones, Joseph Naegeli, Josue Sanchez, Ryan Ware and Shannon Marie Windell.

"You (the students) should strive to develop relationships in disciplines not directly associated with the one in which you majored while in college," Sneed said. "It is not uncommon for students, upon graduation, to start looking for a job and find one in an area quite different from that studied in college. Look beyond your training - success can come in many different ways."

Sneed told the students to be ready and willing to "reach out to those who were your friends while in college, especially if you learn that they have become disenchanted with the school. Find out what has caused them to become disenchanted with the school and try to help them understand the reasoning behind whatever it might have been that is causing their concerns."

Sneed highlighted the careers of several very successful graduates from Davis & Elkins College that he has met during his travels for the college. He stressed that simply because one graduates from a relatively small college doesn't mean that one can't achieve great things and great success.

In his closing remarks, Sneed quoted former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, with whom he recently attended a conference in Louisville, Ky.: "Always look for the positive and be enthusiastic about your work, your loved ones, and your church. Love what you do or find something in your life that you love so much it makes doing what you do worth doing."

Sneed also reported on his role as special counsel to President G.T. "Buck" Smith as having three primary areas of responsibility as related to Phi Beta Lambda: establish relationships with alumni outside of Randolph County; establish relationships with individuals and businesses in the Highland Scholars counties that are not aware of D&E; and establish a "Graduates of the Last Decade" (GOLD) program to work with reinforcing the relationship between those recent graduates and the college.

Dr. Gloria Payne, chairwoman of the business administration department and adviser to the fraternity, said of the students and community business leaders who were about to be inducted, "Our theme for this evening is 'The Best of the Best.' Those that have been nominated for this evening's honors are just that - the best of the best. The students have distinguished themselves as leaders in the classroom as our honorary inductees have distinguished themselves in our business community."

Payne reminded the students of the meaning of the letters Phi Beta Lambda and challenged each of them to live by those standards. To the business leaders being honored, she said, "The advisory board of Phi Beta Lambda was established for the purpose of networking, for education and experience that students can utilize in their educational endeavors. You make a difference in our lives and our activities."

New members inducted into the fraternity include Mishari Al-Kafif, Elizabeth Belcher, Melissa Clark, Alexander Coussoule, Ashley Cunningham, Yanery Hidalgo, Sara Hill, Anita R. Jones, Carmen Jones, Dyland Jones, Brett Keatley, Samuel Maxwell, Patrick Myers, Joseph Naegeli, Maryna Razkhatskaya, Julia Rivers, Josue Sanchez, Jessica Schaefer, Alexander R. Taylor, Ryan Ware and Shannon Windell.

Honorary members placed on the fraternity's advisory board were Elaine Griesel, David Kesling, Kathy Leombruno and Kevin Wilson.

Griesel graduated from Elkins High School in June 1966 and, in the same month, began working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. She started as a clerk/typist and worked her way up to administrative staff assistant to the secretary of HUD. In 1984, she was awarded the Mid-Level Employee of the Year and the Secretary's Distinguished Service Award in 1988.

In 1988, she left her government job and moved back to Elkins when her husband, Ed, was transferred here with AT&T.

Griesel is an active volunteer in the community assisting with the Davis Memorial Hospital, the Otterbein Food Pantry and the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. She is also an avid gardener helping to maintain the flower beds that welcome locals and visitors to the city of Elkins. She is currently treasurer for the Emma Scott Garden Club, a member of the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, the Elkins Downtown Merchants Association and the West Virginia Railroad Museum. Griesel owns and operates Ceramics with Class located on Davis Avenue in Elkins.

Kesling graduated from Elkins High School in 1987. He attended Marshall University graduating in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. From 1986 to 1998, he worked for the Kroger Co. rising through the ranks from an hourly associate to assistant manager and then market perishable manager. In 1998, he went to work for Wal-Mart and has managed stores in Ohio and Kentucky, and for 2 1/2 years in London, Ontario, and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He was district manager in Alberta before coming to Elkins as store manager.

He and his wife, Marilyn, have two children.

Leombruno is also a graduate of Elkins High School and earned her bachelor of science degree in public relations from the West Virginia University School of Journalism. She completed Floyd Wickman's Master Real Estate Program and earned a radio master marketing designation. In 2005, she graduated from the West Virginia School of Banking's two-year program and is a member of the American Bankers Association Marketing Network.

She is an active volunteer in the community, serving two terms as president of the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce and is currently a member of its board of directors. She is vice president of the Riverview Homeowner's Association Board, was director general of the 2000 Mountain State Forest Festival and is currently serving on its board of directors. She is a member of the Randolph County United Way board of directors and several other local and state organizations.

Leombruno is senior vice president and marketing officer of the Citizens Bank of West Virginia. She and her husband, Jim, have two daughters. They attend St. Brendan's Catholic Church.

Wilson, vice president for enrollment management and chief operating officer at Davis & Elkins College, has spent his entire adult life recruiting, training, coaching and motivating others to reach their highest potential. He was appointed to his present position in March 2008.

Wilson graduated from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, in 1970 and earned his master's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1972.

He began his professional career at the University of Minnesota as assistant mens basketball coach, recruiting several future All-American and NBA stars. He was head coach at San Francisco State University and at Chapman University. He also spent 12 years in the corporate world as director of human resources for the Marriott hotel chain and later as director of sales recruitment for Hyatt hotels.

During his playing career, he was two-time basketball All American and team captain of the 1969 National Champion Team in Division II.



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