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Logan, WV - West Virginia's First Lady Gayle C. Manchin will be the keynote speaker during a ground-breaking ceremony at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College on April 19th beginning at 4 p.m., adjacent to the Logan Campus District Office. The ceremony and reception will celebrate the construction of the future Allied Health and Technology Center.

According to Southern's President Joanne Jaeger Tomblin the future Allied Health and Technology Center will be a spacious 60,000 square feet and stand five stories tall. The project is another educational commitment to the people of southern West Virginia.

"April 19th will be a historic day for Southern," Tomblin said. "When this facility is complete, it will be a source of pride for our board of governors, administration, faculty, staff and students as well as our community. The facility would not have been possible without the help of our legislature and Governor through higher educatioon bonds appropriated last year. These funds will contribute to a majority of the costs for the facility. We are honored to have the First Lady as our keynote speaker. She is an advocate for education in West Virginia, and understands how important education, particularly higher education is to the future of West Virginia."

Mrs. Manchin grew up in Beckley, WV, the only child of Carl and Lucille Conelly. Active in the First Baptist Church, the Jerry Rose Dance Company and community service clubs, she graduated high honors from Woodrow Wilson High School.

She attended West Virginia University, where she attained her Bachelor of Arts in Language Arts and Education and a Master of Arts in Reading. In 1999, she completed a second master's specialization in Educational Technology Leadership from Salem International University.

While at WVU, Gayle met and married Joe Manchin, III; upon graduation, they moved to Fairmont, WV, where they resided and worked for over thirty years. They have been married for 37 years and are the proud parents of Heather Manchin Bresch, Joseph Manchin, IV, and Brooke Conelly Manchin. Now they are experiencing the wonders of their six beautiful grandchildren: Joey V, Kelsey, Madeline, Sophie, Chloe, and Jack.

As an educator, Mrs. Manchin had the opportunity to work in many Marion County Schools. She also served on the faculty of Fairmont State College and was the Director of the college's first Community Service Learning Program. In addition, she was responsible for the Professional Development for the GEAR-UP grant, and was active in United Way, the Soup Opera, and the Junior League.

Moving to Charleston in 2001 enabled Mrs. Manchin to serve as Conference Chair for West Virginia's Commission on National and Community Service. She also became the West Virginia Director of the AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Program, which served twenty counties. Believing in the opportunities of connecting programs, Mrs. Manchin, under the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts, implemented the WV PASS (West Virginia Partnerships to Assure Student Success) Initiative, which modeled a partnering of National, State and Local organizations to provide support and resources across West Virginia to children and families. It is this ongoing endeavor, which provides the framework for her goals as First Lady. In addition, she has served as a National consultant for Dr. Ruby Payne, a renowned authority on the affects of poverty on children and education.

Currently Mrs. Manchin is a national board member of The Center for Study of Economic Diversity, Inc. in Highlands, TX, and serves as a Commissioner for the National Education Commission of the States, by appointment of Governor Underwood and Governor Wise. In addition, she is the Fund Development Chair on the Executive Board of The Education Alliance, and is President-Elect of the Charleston-Vandalia Rotary Club.

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