First Generation Student To Address WLU Commencement

WEST LIBERTY — West Liberty University graduating senior Maria Ganoe, 20, has earned the honor of being the student speaker for fall commencement, which will take place at 11 a.m. Dec. 9, in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex.

A biology major with a chemistry minor, Ganoe is an Elbin Scholar who finished her degree in three-and-one-half years, while earning the highest grade point average in the College of Sciences. She plans to become a physician and begins a six-month, nine-credit graduate program in medical physiology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., in January before entering medical school in August.

“I was thrilled to learn that Maria would be speaking at commencement. She is a student who has taken advantage of the many opportunities West Liberty has to offer. She excelled in the classroom and also in her clinically oriented anatomy research. I’m confident she is going to continue to do more great things in medical school and beyond,” said Dr. Matthew Zdilla, associate professor of biology and physician assistant studies.

“I’m really excited and surprised by this honor and I’m looking forward to it,” Ganoe said. A native of Garrett County, Md., Ganoe will discuss how WLU has prepared her for her future.

When asked if she was nervous about speaking before a big audience in a formal setting, she said that she’s had lots of experience speaking during her research experience at WLU.

“The research experience here at West Liberty has helped me in my presentations,” she said, adding that she plans to attend the national biology conference with Zdilla again in the spring.

She is active in Alpha Chi honorary, Chi Beta Phi science honorary and the WLU Liber Honor Society. She also is a member of the American Medical Student Association and is active in both the biology and chemistry clubs.

“Maria is an excellent student who has been very active in the biology program. We are excited that she is the commencement speaker representing the College of Sciences,” commented Robert Kreisberg, dean.

Ganoe is a graduate of Northern Garrett High School and is the daughter of Rosie and Dan Ganoe who own a family farm and raise cattle. She is the first member of her family to attend college, and she has five siblings.

The keynote commencement speaker is business development leader Patrick Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle.

Two hundred and eight students are expected to complete graduation requirements. The graduating student with the highest GPA in each respective college has the honor of carrying the college banner. The graduating student speaker duties rotate among the colleges, thus the bearer of the College of Sciences banner this year is the graduate with the second highest GPA.

Fall 2017 banner carriers with home towns include:

— College of Arts & Communication, Gabriella F. Saporito, Philippi, W.Va.

— College of Sciences, Aaron W. Koons, Williamsport, Md.

— College of Education, Sydney J. Bennett, Frostburg, Md.

— College of Liberal Arts, Hannah M. Hlad, Wheeling

— School of Professional Studies, Stephen D. Maduri, Moundsville

— West College of Business, Joni D. Lake, Cleveland, W.Va., and Renae N. Kudla, Moundsville

The commencement ceremony will be televised live on WLU Television Comcast Channel 14. A reception for graduates, guests and families will be held in the College Union immediately following the ceremony.