MU honors business leaders Apr. 27, 2015 @ 10:01 PM By LACIE PIERSON HUNTINGTON – A celebration on Marshall University’s campus got down to business in a big way Monday night. The induction ceremony for the 2015 Class of the Marshall University College of Business Hall of Fame brought about 250 campus, community and business leaders from throughout the country to Marshall’s Foundation Hall. This year marks the 21st year for the ceremony, which does not require honorees to have attended Marshall as long as they have made a significant impact, said Sean Mayberry, president of the advisory board for the College of Business. “The Hall of Fame is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon someone from the College of Business,” Mayberry said. “It is the pinnacle of success for the College of Business. The recipient has to be of the highest moral character, has to have been successful and has to have been either a graduate of or made a momentous impact on the university. This is a celebration of those folks.” The 2015 inductees were J. Richard Damron Jr., former president and CEO of Home Diagnostics, Inc.; Calvin A. Kent, former vice president, Center for Business and Economic Research at Marshall and former dean of the College of Business; Paula George Tompkins, founder and CEO of ChannelNet; Janet Smith Vineyard, president of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association, and the late Dr. Stephen J. Kopp, former president of Marshall University. Damron earned his bachelor of business administration in accounting from Marshall in 1973, and his wife, Pattie, also graduated from Marshall that same year. Damron said he was thrilled and honored to be counted among the Hall of Fame members. “I was thrilled to get this call, and I was surprised to get this call,” Damron said. “I left Huntington in 1986 and went off making a corporate career and I maintained really good contact with my friends at Marshall It’s a real honor to be here this evening.. When you go to a school like Marshall, you can go toe to toe with any person who went to any school you might run into.” Damron also said he was honored to be part of the class to commemorate the legacy of Kopp, who passed away in December after serving nine years as president of the university. Kopp is credited with being the leadership catalyst for $300 million in new construction and campus renovations as well as dramatic growth in the university’s academic profile by establishing high-demand majors and degree programs, particularly in the areas of science and healthcare. “He was such a special guy to the university,” Damron said. “He accomplished so much while he was here. It’s a real honor to be honored at the same ceremony as Dr. Kopp.” Former Dean of the College of Business, Cal Kent, did not attend Marshall as a student, but he spent more than 20 years working at the university and spends his time working with local organizations, including Hospice of Huntington and West Virginia Kids Count. Kent was the dean of the college when the first Hall of Fame ceremony took place. “It’s good to see it has grown like it has,” Kent said. “Over the years, the people we’ve been able to honor have been captains of industry, and all of them made a difference, and all of them have ties to Marshall, that’s the important thing. I’m just very happy to see what it’s become, and I’m very surprised they decided to put me in. “I keep saying to people I don’t want a recount.” Tompkins, who has a bachelor’s in business administration from Marshall, also is the keynote speaker for the university’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 9. She has kept close ties with the university since graduating 41 years ago, working with the Yeager Scholars program and serving on the Marshall University Foundation Board. “I think being born in Huntington, going to school at Marshall and having been a freshman when the plane crash happened had a definite impact on me,” Tompkins said. “The thing that’s probably the most memorable is the kind of true grit that comes out of these West Virginia hills. I’m very excited about helping the state of West Virginia and helping the students here.” Vineyard has three degrees from Marshall an associate’s degree in retailing, a bachelor’s degree in marketing and transportation and an MBA. She said she felt honored to be inducted into the hall Monday.