Magruder Enters Hall of Fame
By LINDA COMINS
Dennis Magruder has been elected to the Wheeling Hall of Fame in the category of music and fine arts. The Hall of Fame is located in WesBanco Arena, one of the two major public entertainment venues that Magruder manages.
The Hall of Fame board announced that Magruder, John Edward “Jack” Fahey, the Most Rev. Bernard W. Schmitt and four others will be inducted during a banquet at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling April 16.
The event coincides with Magruder’s 25th anniversary as the venue’s executive director.
Tickets for the banquet are available from any Hall of Fame board member and at the arena until April 12. Anyone purchasing a ticket at the arena is asked to call 304-232-5978 and leave a message providing a name so that a place card can be prepared for each attendee.
In nominating Magruder, the Hall of Fame board’s music and fine arts committee stated that he “has rightfully earned the title of Wheeling’s ‘Mr. Entertainment.”‘
“As executive director of the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority, Magruder supervises venues that have brought to eager audiences an astounding array of singers, musicians, comedians, sports figures and children’s entertainers,” committee members said.
Magruder, executive director of WesBanco Arena and the Capitol Theatre in Wheeling, presides over an arena that is home to the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers. The Capitol, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, the Broadway at the Capitol musical-theater series and other concerts and performances.
Born in 1948, Magruder received a bachelor’s degree from West Liberty State College. He served in many financial capacities with the city of Wheeling before joining the certified public accounting firm of Jack J. Ferlise Co.
In 1978, he was appointed business manager and comptroller of Marshall County Schools. While with the school system, he was active with the Association of School Business Officials. He was state president of the association in 1984 and served on the National Accounting Committee for School Finance from 1983-86.
In April 1986, Magruder assumed his position with the Wheeling Civic Center, which was later renamed WesBanco Arena. He became involved with the International Association of Venue Managers, an organization that helped to place Wheeling at the forefront of venues in the United States. He is a past chairman of the association’s board of regents and has served on its board of directors, executive committee and other committees.
Magruder was a member of the first graduating class of the Public Assembly Facility Management School at Oglebay. He has served as a faculty member and/or as regent of the Oglebay school.
Magruder’s initial efforts nearly 20 years ago to entice a professional hockey team to Wheeling resulted in the establishment of the Wheeling Thunderbirds, now the Nailers. He also has developed partnerships with the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and other athletic groups.
His role has expanded to encompass the Capitol Theatre, including renovations to the theater and ballroom.
Magruder also serves as treasurer of the Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau’s board. He and his wife, Barb, reside in Wheeling. They have three children and seven grandchildren.
Current members of the Hall of Fame board are James Squibb, chairman; Patricia Pockl, secretary-treasurer; Laura Carter, banquet chair; Don Atkinson, representing Wheeling City Council; F. Wayne Barte; William Bryson; Linda S. Comins; Richard Coury; Robert DeFrancis; Sue Seibert Farnsworth; Jeanne Finstein; Mary Hamm; R. Douglas Huff; William Ihlenfeld; James Kepner; William Nutting; Kate Quinn; Bettie Steele; and Dianna Vargo.