Two outstanding women were honored during the annual Women of Color Luncheon, a celebration of diversity and achievement, on Wednesday, March 30, in the Falcon Center third floor conference rooms.
The event, sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, which serves Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College, is intended to honor those who have shown a commitment for treating people equally and for celebrating diversity. This year’s event was organized by Tara Brooks, Director of Multicultural Affairs. Members of the Black Student Union greeted guests as they arrived, and Rev. Richard Bowyer offered the invocation.
“This event was created almost 20 years ago by Eunice Green with the purpose of honoring people in the community and on campus,” said Michael Belmear, Vice President for Student Affairs. “The main criterion for winning is you have to treat people fairly; no matter who they are or what place they come from, you still show people the same professional courtesy.”
Dr. Elizabeth A. Dooley was this year’s community honoree. A campus honoree is also chosen to be honored each year. This year’s campus honoree was Cathy Basagic, Catering Program Coordinator.
“When I think of the epitome of someone who promotes kindness, fairness, equality and inclusivity, several people come to mind, but one in particular—Dr. Elizabeth Dooley,” Brooks said. “The leadership she has provided to students such as myself has been outstanding. She taught me how to treat students. As Director of Multicultural Affairs, I want to have everyone understand that your story is important; she taught me that.”
An administrator, teacher educator, scholar, lyricist, composer, mother, wife, sister and aunt, Dooley is the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs at West Virginia University and serves as the Provost’s academic officer for undergraduate education.
As the academic officer, she is responsible for providing leadership to WVU’s undergraduate academic programs and modes of instruction; leading the development and implementation of WVU blueprint for student success efforts; and overseeing the Board of Governors program reviews. She is also responsible for supervising the Undergraduate Academic Services Center, Center for Civic Engagement, Military Science and Aerospace Studies (Army and Air Force ROTC), the Resident Faculty Leadership Program and the “First Year Course.” In addition, she is responsible for preparing reports for the WV Higher Education Policy Commission and the Higher Learner Commission. Through her leadership, WVU successfully achieved the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement and successfully received the W.K. Kellogg Outreach Scholarship Award (Northeastern Region) for the Health Sciences Technology Academy. Prior to her current appointment, she served as Chairperson and Professor of the WVU Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies in the College of Human Resources and Education.
Dooley holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Alderson Broaddus College and Master of Arts and Doctor of Education Degree from WVU. She served as an Assistant Professor at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. She holds permanent teacher licensure in Elementary Education (K-6) and Special Education (K-Adult).
Dooley is a staunch advocate of community based programs, and over the years she has directed several programs. She was one of the founding members of the Health Sciences Technology Academy, a statewide science, math and technology enrichment program academy for under served youth, and served as the Summer Program Director for 15 years. In 2007, she secured a grant from ATT to offer a community based summer Science and Technology Program for grade school students.
She is currently a member of the WVU McNair Advisor Board, a member of the Office of Special Education Programs Standing Panel for the U.S. Department of Education, a member of the HQ-TEEMS (DOE funded Project) Advisory Board, a member of the Council for Exceptional Children and a member of the Marion County NAACP. Her scholarship consists of numerous articles, book chapters, a textbook and professional presentations focusing on issues of educational equity for culturally diverse learners, under served youth and students with disabilities.
Dooley as a lyricist and composer has written 19 contemporary gospel songs and produced two CDs. In 2006, she received the City of Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission Music Award, in recognition of outstanding leadership and devotion to the enhancement of the arts and humanities in Fairmont and surrounding areas.
When Dooley stood to receive her award, she thanked those gathered at the luncheon for the award on behalf of the community of women she represented.
“Individually and collectively, the extent I could be successful and achieve what I believe is greatness is not my greatness; it’s the community’s,” Dooley said.
She made a special point of addressing the students in attendance and telling them, “You came to Fairmont State for a purpose—you fulfill your purpose.”
Dooley, who grew up in Fairmont, said that “you can be a proud West Virginian because West Virginians are proud people.” She credited the home in which she grew up for her success because it thrived on concepts such as excellence and a “you can” attitude.
Cathy Basagic was hired to work in the Baking Department of the Dining Hall on campus in 1991. From 1995 to 2009, she served as a Catering Supervisor and in 2009 was named Catering Program Coordinator. Prior to her employment at Fairmont State, Basagic and her mother-in-law Louise Basagic and sister-in-law Goldie Huffman operated a catering business in Monongah and specialized in creating take-out packages and catering weddings and elimination dinners. Basagic and her husband, Pete, reside in Little Mill Fall near Monongah. They have one son, T.J. Basagic, and two grandsons, Gavin and Owen Basagic.
Basagic was surprised to be presented with her award, as she had planned to attend the luncheon as part of her job duties. Instead of dismissing the tables to go to the buffet line as she usually does during events, Basagic was surprised to find her family seated at a table and was invited to join them and enjoy the event as an honored guest. She thanked those at the luncheon for thinking of her and for the honor.
“I couldn’t do what I do without all the great people I work with, the chefs and the Catering staff,” she said.
About the photo: Pictured from left to right are Tara Brooks, Director of Multicultural Affairs; Cathy Basagic, Catering Program Coordinator, the campus Women of Color honoree; Michael Belmear, Vice President for Student Affairs; and Dr. Elizabeth Dooley, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs at West Virginia University, the community Women of Color honoree.