September 17, 2014
Balch Receives Awards from Alma Maters
Pamela Balch, president of West Virginia Wesleyan College, has been awarded the Distinguished Alumna Award from West Virginia University (WVU) and was also inducted into Uniontown High School’s Hall of Fame in Uniontown, PA. A former faculty member at West Virginia Wesleyan College (1978-88), Balch has been serving as the President of Wesleyan since 2006.
“Both recognitions are quite meaningful because these two educational settings were instrumental in establishing a solid foundation in providing excellent academics and leadership opportunities,” Dr. Balch stated. “I am very grateful for these significant roots that have allowed me to spread my wings in order to help students and higher educational institutions grow in so many positive ways.”
Balch graduated with honors from WVU with both a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 1977 and a Master of Arts in Education in 1973. She completed postgraduate work in two Harvard University programs. Balch, a 1971 Wesleyan education graduate with honors, graduated in 1968 from Uniontown High School.
Before returning to Wesleyan in 2006, Balch served as President of Mayville State University in Mayville, ND. A published researcher, frequent keynote speaker and panelist, Balch has had numerous articles published regarding higher education as well as a textbook she co-authored with husband Patrick. Through her distinguished career, she has held several administrative roles at Bethany College, Chico State University, and San Diego State University.
A former American Council on Education Fellow, Balch currently serves as the chair of the Appalachian College Association, a board member and vice president of the West Virginia Independent Schools and Colleges, board member of the Region VII Planning and Development, and vice president of the Mountain East Athletic Conference.
Balch was Phi Delta Kappa Educator of the Year; Teacher Educator of the Year for California; Imperial County, CA Woman of the Year; a recipient of the Leadership Award presented by Senator Kent Conrad for dedicated service to North Dakota; and Buckhannon Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year.
Under her direction, one of the first priorities was reinstating the nursing program. Since 2007, Wesleyan has constructed the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts, David E. Reemsnyder Research Center, Dunn Hall, O’Roark Nordstrom Welcome Center, the fountain, a wellness center, and multi-purpose athletic complex including turfed field and eight-lane track. She oversaw the complete renovation of Fleming and Doney Residence Halls, dance studio, nursing simulation labs, teaching and learning center, and softball and soccer fields. This year, the marching band was reinstated after a long absence since 1979.
Balch has been instrumental in receiving numerous grants at previous institutions. Just this week, under her leadership, Wesleyan was awarded a $10 million Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
Since her tenure, Wesleyan has increased its enrollment to 1,500 students and increased its alumni and friends giving to 19%, bringing strong financial stability to the College. This year, Wesleyan has introduced three new majors for a total offering of 47 along with five graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, education, English creative writing, and nursing. Thirteen Wesleyan students have been named Fulbright Scholars, while four others have won international scholarships through the U.S. Department of State. The 2015 U.S. News & World Report is the fourth publication to recognize Wesleyan’s excellence in the past three weeks. Wesleyan was listed as the 12th best regional college and eighth best school in the Great Schools at Great Prices category, which includes academic quality and cost of attendance after financial aid. The College was again listed as a “Best in the Southeast” school in the Princeton Review and was ranked the 27th best baccalaureate college by The Washington Monthly. Wesleyan was also ranked 38th for Best Value Colleges for Homeschoolers by BestValueSchools.com, the only West Virginia school to be named, and has earned recognition from the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
“My tenure at West Virginia Wesleyan College has been so fulfilling because of the progress we have made collectively in academics, community engagement, facilities, financial stability, fund raising and grants, and enrollment growth,” commented Balch. “It is truly ‘life full circle!’”
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