2023 Most Loyal honorees (L-R): Laurie Pollock, Dr. Bob “Coach” Wanker, Dr. Paula Jo Meyer-Stout, Chad Proudfoot
West Virginia University is a vibrant community of dedicated Mountaineers who display their pride in a variety of ways. Each year, WVU recognizes a select group of Mountaineers who go above and beyond to positively impact the lives of others and make the University a special place. The 2023 “Most Loyal” recipients are faculty members, staff, alumni and friends who share one thing in common – their love for WVU.
This year’s honorees are Chad Proudfoot, Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer; Dr. Paula Jo Meyer-Stout, Most Loyal Faculty/Professional Staff; Laurie Pollock, Most Loyal Staff Mountaineer; and Dr. Bob Wanker, Most Loyal West Virginian. This group will be honored and recognized during halftime ceremonies at the Nov. 4 home football game against BYU at Milan Puskar Stadium.
To be considered for selection as a Most Loyal honoree, recipients must display the loyalty, ideals and goals of WVU and the state of West Virginia through professional and civic engagement, business, service and leadership. The Most Loyal recipients are chosen by a joint committee representing the WVU Foundation, WVU Alumni Association, WVU Staff Council, WVU Faculty Senate, and the Mountaineer Week organization committee.
Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer
Since graduating from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2003, a master’s degree in public administration in 2005 and a master’s degree in public history in 2007, Grafton resident Chad Proudfoot has consistently displayed his Mountaineer pride. Proudfoot’s dedication is shown through his work as grand marshal for all WVU commencements, as well as his volunteerism and financial commitments to his alma mater.
Proudfoot, who also holds university teaching and cultural resource management certificates from WVU, has worked as a historian and archivist for WVU Jackson’s Mill and Extension. In addition, he regularly volunteers his time to West Virginia 4-H camps and activities. Proudfoot is also a member of the Irvin Stewart Society, which honors donors whose planned gifts will benefit the future of WVU.
Most Loyal Faculty/Professional Staff
For the last 50 years, Dr. Paula Jo Meyer-Stout has been a fixture with the Mountaineer Marching Band. Meyer-Stout, who first joined The Pride of West Virginia as a twirler, has now served as its twirling and auxiliary coordinator for nearly 40 years under six different band directors.
After graduating with bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in pharmacy from WVU, Meyer-Stout served as a professor at the WVU School of Pharmacy for 28 years and has remained committed to the Pride as a coach, trainer and mentor. Meyer-Stout guided the WVU Feature Twirlers ensemble to the 2014 College Twirling National Championship and established the Feature Twirler Scholarship Fund in 2018.
Most Loyal Staff Mountaineer
Over the last 26 years, Laurie Pollock has served WVU by providing technical and functional support that helps the University operate and run smoothly every day. As the current WVU payroll lead and member of the modernization project team, much of Pollock’s work takes place behind the scenes but impacts everyone within the University system in some way.
After graduating from WVU in 1996 with a master of professional accountancy, Pollock has worked to implement, execute and improve a variety of technical systems related to payroll, hiring, human resources and other critical back-end infrastructure. Pollock’s leadership skills, professionalism, knowledge and expertise earned her a 2017 150th Commemorative Values Coin, and have been praised by her co-workers, who feel she is more than worthy of the title of Most Loyal Staff Mountaineer.
Most Loyal West Virginian
Anyone who has walked the halls of the WVU School of Dentistry over the last half-century has likely seen Dr. Bob “Coach” Wanker, a dedicated alumnus and member of the school’s faculty. Wanker previously served as the School of Dentistry’s assistant dean of student and alumni affairs and has been a critical resource in connecting students with alumni over his tenure.
Wanker has shared his Mountain State dentistry knowledge beyond the classroom, authoring books on the history of the WVU School of Dentistry and the West Virginia Dental Association. In addition to his efforts to educate students and others, Wanker has provided significant funds to help renovate the School of Dentistry, allowing his loyalty to his University to last long after his tenure concludes.