Latest Southern News

Stella Estepp is being recognized as the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, May Employee of the Month. Estepp is a graduate of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College where she earned an AS in General Business and an AAS in Business Accounting. She also holds a Regent’s Bachelor of Arts with a minor in Accounting from Marshall University. She joined the staff of Southern in August 1998 and worked in the JTPA program until 2000. She began working in financial aid in January 2001 where she is currently a Program Assistant ll. Estepp describes her job as being responsible for counseling and advising students in the application process for all federal, state, institutional aid, scholarships, and loan programs. She also processes applications to administer the awarding and funding of financial aid to eligible students. One of the elements Estepp says she has enjoyed most about her job is meeting and getting to know the students. “I’m very student oriented. I am committed to Southern, and the students. It has helped me establish a great rapport with them. They know me by name, and are comfortable with me. They know I will go the “extra mile” for them, and as a student, this helps connect them to the institution.” Estepp adds that at times it’s a great challenge to overcome the financial barriers for students to attend. “My greatest accomplishment is helping students reach their financial goals so they can have a more positive college experience without having the worry of how to pay for their education.” Estepp is involved with several committees on campus. She serves as a board member on Appalachian Leadership Academy, is a member of the Marketing and Recruitment Task Force Committee and serves on Southern Samaritans Committee. Estepp is an animal advocate and rescuer. “I rescue and foster animals, and help to place them in loving forever homes.” In her spare time she enjoys being outdoors – camping & gardening, spending time her grandchildren and preserving her own food. In her quiet time she likes to read and sew. Estepp and her husband Larry have two grown children and six grandchildren. She says she is honored to receive this award.
There's no better place to begin in the college search process than close to home. Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College invites anyone interested in continuing their education or finding an exciting career to join us for a Spring Open House , Saturday, May 2, 2015 on the Wyoming/McDowell Campus. Prospective students will have the opportunity to tour the campus and talk with Southern representatives about financial aid, veteran’s affairs, adult services, academic advising and other services. The campus is located at 128 College Drive in Saulsville. The event will be held from 10am until noon. Refreshments will be served. For more information contact David Lord at 304-294-2010 or visit the website at
Logan, WV- Marshall University Interim President Gary G. White will address the 2015 graduating class of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College on May 16, 2015. White, a Logan County native and Marshall graduate is a former member and past chairman of the Marshall University Board of Governors, former member and vice president of the West Virginia Board of Education, and former member of the University of Pikeville Board of Trustees. He also served on the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission from 2013 until his appointment as interim president. He is on the boards of directors of United Bankshares Inc., ARC Logistics Partners LP, Cabell Huntington Hospital, the Marshall University Foundation, the West Virginia Coal Association and the Larry Joe Harless Community Center Foundation Inc. He also serves on the board of advisors of West Virginia Media Holdings LLC. White has been executive vice president of Blackhawk Mining LLC since October. He was president and chief executive officer of International Industries Inc. for a large part of his career—from 1992- 2007. He also previously served as president and chief operating officer of International Resource Partners LP, a subsidiary of James River Coal Company, president and chief executive officer of the West Virginia Coal Association, manager of underground mining at Amherst Coal Company and corporate training coordinator at Island Creek Coal Company. He is a former member of the Community Trust Bancorp Inc. Board of Directors and the RAG American Coal Inc. Board of Directors. He served as director of transition for Governor Cecil Underwood. White received the 2004 Distinguished Service to the Community Award from the Marshall University Alumni Association, the 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award from the West Virginia Education Alliance, the 2003 City of Hope “Spirit of Life Award” and is a member of the Business Hall of Fame at Marshall. In 2006 and again in 2008, he was named one of the “Fifty Most Influential Individuals in West Virginia” by West Virginia Executive magazine. Commencement Exercises will take place beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Coalfield Jamboree Theater in downtown Logan. The public is invited to attend the ceremony. Please visit for additional information.
Southern Harmony 365 will present a free concert at the Savas Kostas Theater on the Logan Campus of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College on Wednesday, April 22 featuring award-winning songwriter, speaker and writer, David LaMotte. LaMotte has performed over 2500 concerts and released eleven full-length CDs of primarily original music, touring in forty-eight of the fifty states, as well as extensively in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The Boston Globe writes that his music “pushes the envelope with challenging lyrics and unusual tunings, but he also pays homage to folk tradition,” while BBC Radio Belfast lauds his “charm, stories, humour, insightful songs, sweet voice and dazzling guitar ability.” LaMotte suspended his eighteen-year music career at its peak in 2008 to pursue his other passion by accepting a Rotary World Peace Fellowship to study International Relations, Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. As part of that study, he also spent three months in rural Andhra Pradesh, India working with a Gandhian development organization. In 2004, David and his wife Deanna founded PEG Partners, a small non-profit organization that supports schools and libraries in Guatemala. He continues to volunteer as the Director for PEG. He is also a consultant on Peace and Justice at the North Carolina Council of Churches. David has published two illustrated children’s books. The first based on his award-winning children’s song SS Bathtub and the second, White Flour, which tells the true story of a creative and whimsical response to a Ku Klux Klan march in Knoxville, Tennessee by a group called the Coup Clutz Clowns. His next book, a non-fiction title for adults, is tentatively titled Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness. LaMotte serves as Clerk (Chair) of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Task Group, working with twelve people on three continents to determine the AFSC’s nomination each year. AFSC is qualified to make an annual nomination as a laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize, having accepted the prize in 1947 on behalf of Quakers everywhere. Touring full-time for over two decades, LaMotte developed a large and loyal following around the world. His music has been honored with numerous awards and grants as well as artist sponsorships from Taylor Guitars and John Pearse Strings. David’s music has been featured on dozens of artist compilations. Notably, his song Dark and Deep was included on Songs Inspired By Literature, Chapter One, a benefit CD to raise money for adult literacy. Other artists on that CD include Suzanne Vega, Aimee Mann and Bruce Springsteen. Several independent films feature David’s music, and it has been heard on the Today Show and the Showtime television series This American Life. LaMotte is a public speaker and workshop leader, offering Worldchanging 101 workshops around the world for more than a decade. As a result of his work with schools in Guatemala, he was nominated as a “Hero of Humanity” in the Heifer Project’s magazine World Ark and named a “Madison World Changer” by his undergraduate alma mater, James Madison University. David LaMotte makes his home in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with his wife Deanna and son Mason. He is currently touring extensively, speaking and performing, and turning his attention toward a new recording project. The concert will begin at 6pm and is free and open to the public.
DegreeWorks a web-based tool to help students and advisors monitor a student's progress toward degree completion will be available to Southern students beginning April 6th. DegreeWorks combines Southern’s degree requirements and a student’s completed coursework into an easy-to-read worksheet that helps students see how completed courses count toward degree requirements, and helping students see what courses and requirements still need to be completed. Along with the DegreeWorks worksheet, students may also take advantage of two other areas of DegreeWorks. One is the “What If” audit; the other is the GPA calculators. The What If audit, which is similar to the worksheet in format, gives students the opportunity to explore other degree options based on the courses the student has completed. The GPA calculators may help students and advisors plan for GPA requirements with three settings: graduation calculator, term calculator, and advice calculator. All currently-enrolled students who first attended Southern after Fall 2011 and who are using the 2010-2011 or a later catalog to fulfill their degree requirements can use DegreeWorks to check their progress toward degree completion.
Anita Messer is being recognized as the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College April Employee of the Month. A graduate of Southern, Messer also attended Bluefield State College earning a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree. Messer joined the staff of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College as Library Technical Assistant I during evening hours then moved to the day position. Her current position is Library Technical Assistant II. She is responsible for cataloging, purchasing library materials and supplies, compiling information for statistical reports, orientations and interlibrary loans. She explains that one of the best parts of her job is, “helping patrons who are experiencing computer issues and offering suggestions on how to do things. I have helped several students and community patrons with projects that have been somewhat challenging and creative. Because I enjoy being creative, I guess that makes the challenge more appealing to me.” Messer states that an unusual aspect of her job is her participation with the local area elementary/high school orientations. Instead of doing an official orientation like those for college students, she sometimes has created games in order to teach students about the library. “I try to make learning fun and entertaining for potentially new Southern students. I want them to feel comfortable. Just recently, there were about 70 seventh graders from Lenore who came for a tour at the college. I created a “Library Bingo” game which seemed to go over very well. It was educational and fun at the same time. Some of the teachers that accompanied the students had positive comments on the game.” Messer serves on several committees at Southern and feels that her greatest accomplishment is serving on the Williamson Campus Crisis Emergency Team. “I have been serving on the Williamson Campus Emergency Crisis Team for nearly a year now and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I enjoy coming up with ideas that I feel can strengthen our team. I feel like I am actually contributing to the team.” Messer said the recognition as Employee of the Month came as a complete surprise and attributes her success at Southern to being faithful to her job and helping others.
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College President Joanne Jaeger Tomblin and Vice President of Development Ronald Lemon recently released updated totals for the Vision 2020 Major Gifts Campaign. Since the inception of the campaign, a grand total of $16.4 million in fundraising dollars has been raised through community donations, Foundations, and grants. Southern employees have donated over $250,000. The Foundation has distributed $2.2 in scholarships since 2007and provided over $700,000 to Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in aid and educational support. Southern West Virginia and Technical College launched the multi-year Vision 2020 Major Gifts Campaign on September 7, 2006. The third phase of the campaign started in January 2015.
Martha Paige is being recognized as the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, March Employee of the Month. Paige is a graduate of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College where she earned an associate of Arts. She joined the staff of Southern in November 1981 as a Library Assistant. She then moved to the Williamson Business Office/PBX Operator and has remained in this department. She currently holds the position of Accounting Clerk II. Paige describes her job as being responsible for the receipt of all revenue coming into the Williamson Campus and preparing daily bank deposits. This includes bookstore, television, room rentals, tuition, and others. She is also responsible for distribution of student checks from financial aid, invoice student refunds for dropped or cancelled classes and assist students with any questions or problems about their student account or in general. Paige enjoys serving the students at Southern, “I can still remember the first time I came to enroll in classes at Southern. It was scary as well as intimidating when I first walked through the doors,” she said. “When I started working for Southern, I wanted anyone who came here that I encountered to feel comfortable making this important step in their lives. It might be a small thing but it meant a lot to me to have that welcoming (don’t be afraid to ask me) person to break the ice.” She shares her time by serving on several Southern committees such as, Strategic Planning Committee, Harmony 365 and Classified Staff Council. In the community she also participated in King Coal Festival events. Paige and her husband Dennis, have two sons, Dennis Jr. and Jordan. Surprised and humbled are the words she uses to describe this honor. “I love the people I work with and the people, friends—I have met here at Southern. There is a family atmosphere that makes coming to work a pleasure. Southern is my home away from home.”
Mount Gay, West Virginia- At the February 26, 2015 regular meeting of the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical Board of Governors, President, Joanne Jaeger Tomblin announced her retirement effective June 30, 2015. President Tomblin has been employed at Southern for 33 years, with more than 15 years as its President. Tomblin stated, “The decision was most difficult and emotional, but with less than two years remaining in Governor Tomblin’s term of office, I want to devote the remaining years as a full-time First Lady for West Virginia. I hope my experience as a college president will enable me to compliment the Governor’s focus on education, the economy and workforce development.” Southern’s Board Chair and Managing Partner of Bowles Rice Law Firm, Mr. Thomas Heywood said, “President Tomblin has served Southern with great distinction. She has a record of remarkable accomplishment and achievement and has literally transformed the College during her tenure. One of President Tomblin’s many legacies is that she leaves Southern in a position of enormous strength and vitality, well positioned for success into the future.” Mr. Heywood went on the say, “I know I speak not only for the Board of Governors, but also for the faculty, staff, students and members of the communities served by Southern when I say a hearty “thank you” to President Tomblin for all that she has accomplished. We wish her all the best in her upcoming and well-deserved retirement, and we look forward to her continued service to the citizens of West Virginia as First Lady.” President Tomblin expressed her appreciation to the Board members stating that her life had been enriched from working with and having the support of so many wonderful administrators, faculty, staff and students, not only at the college, but throughout the state, nation and internationally. Tomblin added, “I have been more than been rewarded in watching our students receive degrees each year at commencement. A majority of students would never have the opportunity to attain a higher education degree if it were not for Southern. I have been blessed in more ways than I could ever express. This has been an opportunity of a lifetime” In the coming weeks, the Board of Governors in collaboration with the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education will initiate the search process for a new president, including recommendations for an Interim President while the search is being conducted.