By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Milan Puskar Stadium will be filled with devoted students, fans, and lots of alumni next Saturday as the Mountaineers face Kansas State during WVU’s 2016 Homecoming activities. The celebration begins next Friday evening, however, with the Homecoming Parade on High Street in Morgantown, and several WVU alumni will be taking part in that as well. Among them will be former Shinnston resident Susan Meredith!
Susan will ride in Friday evening’s Homecoming parade and will also be recognized on the field during halftime ceremonies as a recipient of one of the WVU Alumni Association’s prestigious service awards given to alumni who have served their alma mater and their communities well. Susan will receive the David Jacobs Lifetime Service Award, which honors an individual for lifelong service to the WVU Alumni Association.
Susan, a Shinnston native, graduated from Shinnston High School with the Class of 1961 and went on to receive her BS in Pharmacy from WVU in 1967. She and her late husband Ron Meredith (also a WVU grad and pharmacist) soon made Shinnston their home and went to work at Lumberport Pharmacy, later becoming its co-owners; and there they served the people of Harrison County for several decades.
Susan is a lifetime member of both the WVU Alumni Association and the WVU School of Pharmacy Alumni Association. She has served as the School of Pharmacy Alumni Association’s secretary since 1998 and additionally served with her husband as past co-president of that organization. From the 1970’s until her retirement, she served as a pharmacy preceptor and continues to this day to be committed to educating future pharmacy professionals and helping mentor them by attending student and resident events at both statewide and national meetings.
A lifelong member of the West Virginia Pharmacists Association (WVPA), both she and her husband received the WVPA Community Service Award in 2006.
In 2008, Susan was awarded the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award for her sustained commitment to serving her profession. Only one individual from each of the 50 states is awarded the Bowl of Hygeia annually, making it one of the highest recognitions a person can achieve in pharmacy practice.
After Ron’s passing, Susan retired, sold the pharmacy and moved to Morgantown to be close to her family – Dr. Betsy Elswick, Clinical Associate Professor, WVU School of Pharmacy, her husband David and their son Ethan; and son Brian, an attorney in Morgantown, and his wife Allison.
In 2014, Susan was inducted as an inaugural member of the WVU School of Pharmacy Hall of Fame. The following year, she and her children launched a program called “Soup for the Soul”, an initiative that not only provides a special service to cancer patients receiving treatment at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center’s Infusion Center, but also pays tribute to Susan’s husband Ron.
Susan explained, “When Ron developed cancer, he was in a study at UPMC, and every day he was provided a cup of soup and half a sandwich at lunchtime during treatments. He really looked forward to that. But when we came to WVU, they didn’t have that service. After he passed, I decided this was something we could do to serve others – especially those who travel long distances for treatment and many who go through this alone. We got the program started so that others could benefit from it. My children and I started the fund, but it is not endowed, so eventually the funds may be depleted, but I hope that it will continue. It is just a small way to lessen part of a patient’s burden while they go through a challenging situation and we felt it was a meaningful way to honor Ron.”
The “Soup for the Soul” Program accepts donations to further its continuance. If you are interested in becoming a contributor or for more information, contact James Kimbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-293-8604.
Susan has long been a devoted Mountaineer fan … a respected professional … and a person who believes in giving back to her alma mater and her community. She was deservingly nominated by the WVU School of Pharmacy.