News Details

September 23, 2015

Wesleyan to Celebrate Alumni Award Winners at Founders Day Convocation

West Virginia Wesleyan College will celebrate the work of five individuals during Founders Day Convocation on Friday, October 16 as annual Alumni Awards are doled out at 3 p.m. (new time) in Wesley Chapel.  R. Dennis and Linda Xander ’75, Paul Virant ’92, Larry Bach ’76, and Dr. Gregory Peters, MD ’03 will be receiving the WVWC Service Award, Alumni Achievement Award, and the WVWC Young Alumni Service Award. 

R. Dennis and Linda Xander ’75 will receive the WVWC Service Award.  He recently was named 2015 WV Oil and Gas Man of the Year. Dennis has served as the alumni advisor of Chi Phi Fraternity.  He helped establish the Tom Dunn Leadership Academy, a summer educational program that introduces career opportunities in the energy field for high school students.  He has also served as President of West Virginia Independent Oil and Gas Association and the Upshur County Development Authority.  Linda has worked to guide Alpha Gamma Delta fraternity members through their Wesleyan experience.  She began serving as an advisor to the group in 1978 and Alumnae President since 1987.  Both Dennis and Linda also mentor students whose families they know attend Wesleyan and have served as Alumni Class chairs and maintained connections to hundreds of alumni by hosting dinners and receptions at their home since graduation.  Linda has served on Wesleyan’s Board of Directors for the past eight years.  Together, Dennis and Linda have done these things while raising a family and opening a successful business.

Paul Virant ’92, Alumni Achievement Award winner, is an accomplished entrepreneur in the area of food service and food preparation in restaurants in the Chicago, IL area.  Paul is the chef and owner of Virant in Chicago, IL and Vie in Western Springs, IL, where he utilizes methods of canning and preserving to serve up contemporary American cuisine with a focus on the ingredients.  Since opening, Vie has accepted regional and national attention with a three-star review by Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune and a spot on Gayot’s list of Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.  In 2012, Paul released a cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux, the first canning manual and cookbook authored by a Michelin-starred chief and restaurant owner and creatively combines the technical aspects of canning with a chef’s expertise on flavor.  Paul has received numerous awards for his culinary skills, including Best New Chef from Food and Wine Magazine, Best New Chef from Chicago Magazine, Jean Banchet Rising Star Chef, Rising Star Chef from Restaurant Hospitality Magazine, and Rising Star Chef from

Larry Bach ’76 will receive the Alumni Achievement Award.  Larry has spent more than 30 years at North Central University and currently serves as the Artistic Director.  In addition to teaching conducting classes, Larry conducts the Chorale, the University’s premiere choir, who has completed 15 overseas tours, performed multiple times for the American Choral Association, and has performed at Carnegie Hall.  A former student at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, Larry has had a 20-year association with the Dale Warland Singers, a Minneapolis-based professional choir which has been acclaimed both nationally and internationally, where he has served as the assistant conductor.  Traveling extensively throughout the United States, Larry is a clinician and guest conductor for churches, schools, and professional organizations.  He is a lifetime member of the American Choral Directors Association, a frequent guest conductor for high school choral festivals and church workshops, is a licensed minister of the Assemblies of God church, and has appeared on recordings for the Worship Live series.

Dr. Gregory M. Peters, MD ’03, WVWC Young Alumni Service Award winner, is a family practice physician in Upshur County.  He has spent his career working with patients who live in rural West Virginia.  As a physician at Community Care of WV, Greg was extensively involved in the implementation of a new electronic health record system, was instrumental in template development, and worked as a leader for the use of, training on, and updating of the electronic health record.  He travels to multiple clinic sites each week to provide needed medical care and became the lead physician when difficult clinical questions arose.  Greg sits on the board of an outreach program entitled Appalachian Impact which serves the provide mentor relationships with at-risk Upshur County youth.  He works as an associate clinical professor at West Virginia University’s School of Medicine and is the owner and president of Pro Form Martial Arts, LLC. 

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