News Details

September 12, 2016

Alumni Awards Winners to be Recognized at Founders Day

West Virginia Wesleyan College will recognize five outstanding alumni and one extra mile recipient at the annual Founders Day Convocation on October 7 at 3 p.m. in Wesley Chapel during the College’s Homecoming festivities.

Alumni Service Award: Buckhannon native Ken Andrew ’75 first became associated with Wesleyan when his father was hired as the College's mechanic in the early 1960s.  He received a BS degree in Business Administration from Wesleyan in 1975.  While attending, he worked as a part-time/temporary employee on the grounds crew.  Upon graduation, Ken accepted a job as a plumber's helper in order to allow his college sweetheart and wife, Jill Farrance '77, to continue her education at Wesleyan.  Ken left Wesleyan for other employment in 1977 but was asked to return in the summer of 1981.  He has remained a dedicated employee and has spent countless hours maintaining the College’s Physical Plant.  He retired as Physical Plant Director at the end of July. 

Other family members who have attended Wesleyan include brothers Ernest ’71 and Edward Andrew  ’73; sons and their wives, Nickolas ’03 and Donna Veach Andrew ’02, Thomas ’04 and Crystal Barker Andrew ’03, and Timothy ’07 and Mekell ‘Miki’ DeMary Andrew ’08; and nephews Allen ’96 and Jonathan Andrew ’99.  

Alumni Achievement Award: Carolyn Saxton, a 1971 Wesleyan graduate, has been qualified/requalified as a CFRE (certified fund raising executive) since 1992.  She has been dedicated to a not-for-profit career beginning after graduating from Wesleyan by working in a street clinic serving drug-addicted teens and adults. She now is the President and CEO of Legacy Foundation in Lake County, IN.  

Carolyn served as executive director of Community Hospice, KY; Community Chest of Oak Park and River Forest and the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, IL; and Lubeznik Center for the Arts, IN before taking over the reins of Legacy Foundation.  She chaired the first public art commission in Michigan City, IN and was credited with bringing 15 sculptures to revitalize the downtown district.  She has raised millions of dollars during her career, most recently finishing an 18-month fundraising effort to meet a $3.5 million goal.  Under her management at Legacy Foundation, she received the Secretaries Award from the Secretary of Housing and Development and the Secretary of Agriculture for an initiative to improve Lake County neighborhoods, the NW Indiana Association of Fund Raising Professionals’ Foundation of the Year, and the Prudential Award for Exceptional Board Leadership.   She was selected as a member of the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana.  She is a sister of Alpha Xi Delta (Beta Sigma chapter), a member of the CS chapter of PEO, DAR, a Paul Harris Fellow, and active in her community as a volunteer.

Saxton currently resides in Portage, IN with her husband Bill Gregory. Together they have two children and four grandchildren.

Alumni Achievement Award: Jim Strawn ’83, a native West Virginian, received his BS degree in 1983 and graduated with a master’s degree from West Virginia College of Graduate Studies in 1992.  He has been the Director of Marketing and Community Education at Highland Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Charleston, WV, since 1996. 

Strawn is the co-author of the Sad Mad Glad Book series.

Strawn is the past president of the Mental Health Association in the Greater Kanawha Valley.  He serves on many different not-for-profit boards including Leadership West Virginia, March of Dimes, Kanawha-Charleston Department of Health, Children’s Therapy Clinic, Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army, Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center, Wellness Council of WV, and the Charleston Ballet.

Active in the West Virginia community, he firmly believes that community service and volunteerism is the cornerstone of all mankind. He often states, “I cannot do anything about the length of my life, but I can do something about the width and the depth my life runs.”                

Strawn is married to his college sweetheart, Lisa, where they reside in the Fort Hill area of Charleston, WV. 

Alumni Achievement Award: Tara Dejmal Tesher, a 1996 Wesleyan graduate, is the chief designer and president of Temp-tations, LLC in Exton, PA, a company that specializes in a line of cookware that can go from oven to table to refrigerator to microwave to dishwasher, all in one dish.  Her company is featured at least twice each week on the QVC shopping channel “In the Kitchen with David,” the seventh largest retailer in the United States.  Her cookware is “all the rage” and one of the network’s most popular products, topping sales at several million. 

At Wesleyan, she was a member of a very successful women’s soccer program and active in Alpha Xi Delta sorority. Tesher’s college internship experience led to her first job and an 11-year career with Coordinated Strategic, where she was described as an incredible learner.  She frequently traveled overseas to visit factories and observe how products were made.  While walking through a Chinese factory, she had an “a-ha” moment. She thought about a single product to replace the mixing bowls, bake ware, and serving dishes that clutter up a kitchen.  The cookware that began as kitchen space problem-solvers has become highly popular collectibles. She has never stopped creating cookware that simplifies life in the kitchen since that first product.

Tesher is well-known for her attention to detail and her charismatic personality.  She puts her name on every mug, dish, and plate. By doing so, she expects it to be the very best. She recently married Ed Tesher.  

Young Alumni Achievement Award: Adam Loudin ’07 of Buckhannon is the director of instrumental and choral music at Robert L. Bland Middle School in Lewis County, WV.  After graduating from Wesleyan with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, Loudin received his Master of Music degree in jazz studies from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where he was the graduate assistant to legendary jazz educator Dr. David Baker.  Within a few years of returning to West Virginia to teach band and choir, Loudin nearly doubled the size of the music performance program at his school. 

In 2013, he was named Lewis County Teacher of the Year, and his band was named 2016 WV Music Educators Association State Honor Band.  In 2013, he started a Lewis County satellite choir for Chanticleer Children’s Chorus of WV and served as Artistic Director of Chanticleer Children’s Chorus in 2015.  He returned to the classroom at WVWC in 2013 as an adjunct professor of Music Education and has been a guest conductor and clinician around the state as both a choral and instrumental music educator.  He continues to be an active freelance trumpeter in the region as a member of the WV Brass Quintet, a leader of small jazz ensembles, and a sideman with musicians from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.  He is married to Katie Oreskovich Loudin ’07, and they have one son, Thomas.  He is the son of Chuck ’95 and Rose Ellen ’03 Loudin of Buckhannon.

Extra Mile: Dr. Dallas Bailey of Lexington, VA served in several administrative roles and as a faculty member at West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1979 to 1992. Dallas earned his bachelor’s degree from Salem University, his MA and Ph.D. from Kent State University, and an MSW from West Virginia University.

He worked at Kent State University from 1959 to 1965 as a resident director and assistant to the Dean of Men. From 1968-1972, he continued his career in student life and as a faculty member at Illinois State University. He returned to Salem University in 1972 as the associate professor and chair of the department of human services, and later became the president of Salem until 1979.

In 1979, Bailey was named Dean of Students and professor of sociology at West Virginia Wesleyan College. He was named interim Dean of the Chapel and director of church relations for one year and later served as assistant to the president. In 1990, Bailey became as director of annual programs in the Office of Advancement, retiring in 1992.

During his time at Wesleyan, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the West Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators. He also was consecrated as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church and named a Trustee for Life of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.  He served on the Clarksburg and Salem Area Chambers of Commerce and was a member of the Upshur Arts Alliance and Rotary International. He was also a long-time member of the Madrigal Singers of Clarksburg. 

He is married to Ann Bailey, and they have two sons: Kenneth ’90 and Jeffrey ’92.

For a complete list of past winners, please visit

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