A Brief History
WVASFAA is a professional organization devoted to enhancing
professional competency, assisting in the development of
effective programs, facilitating communication, and providing
training opportunities in the field of student financial
Our association has been in existence since 1967. In that
time, we have had several name changes, a few constitutional
revisions, and a significant impact on training in the financial
For those of you who love the details of history, Mr. Neil
Bolyard, one of our founding members, and a former president
of WVASFAA, wrote the following in 1985:
Our association was formed in 1967. Financial Aid Officers
had been meeting with the Student Personnel Administrators
of West Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators
(WVASPA) during their twice-a-year meetings.
The spring meeting of the Student Personnel Administrations
in 1967 was held at the Clarksburg Branch of Salem College,
Clarksburg, WV. Many of the institutional representatives
responsible for financial aid were Deans of Students.
The Deans of Students from Concord College (Kevin O’Sullivan)
and West Virginia Institute of Technology (David Palmer),
and the Scholarship/Veterans Coordinator from West Virginia
University (Neil Bolyard) drafted a brief constitution
for an organization, the West Virginia Collegiate Financial
Aid Officers Association (WVCFAOA) on April 30, 1967.
It was a loosely defined organization with a minimal
amount of structure. David Palmer was adamant that another
formal organization was probably not really necessary
and suggested that there be only two officers, a chairman
and a vice chairman. There was no treasurer since no dues
were proposed and no secretary since the drafting of the
original constitution permitted the vice-chairman to take
minutes should the group decide minutes were really necessary.
On Monday, May 1, 1967, representatives of seven public
and two private institutions met and adopted the first
constitution. The institutions represented were: Concord
College, Glenville State College, Marshall University,
Salem College, Shepherd College, West Virginia Institute
of Technology, West Virginia State College, West Virginia
University, and Wheeling College. Membership was institutional.
Following adoption of the constitution, those in the
initial meeting elected David Palmer (West Virginia Institute
of Technology) as the first Chairman and Freda Burkett
(West Virginia State College) as the first Vice-Chairman.
The following year the group changed its name to the
Council of West Virginia Collegiate Financial Aid Officers
at the suggestion of the West Virginia Commission on Higher
Education. The commission wanted to create a “super
council” with representatives of all aspects of
higher education as members, including groups like physical
plant and central administration, as well as academic
deans. There were councils representing all areas of student
personnel: Financial Aid, Placement, Student Activities,
Housing, Foreign Students, etc.
The spring meeting in 1969 was huge, involving all the
councils, the meeting was held in Charleston. In 1969,
the state legislature created the West Virginia Board
of Regents and abolished the Commission on Higher Education.
The council concept and joint meeting were abandoned in
While the financial aid group met in 1970, the constitution
was revised extensively, with major changes, including
a new name: The West Virginia Association of Student Financial
Aid Administrators. Membership was changed from institutional
to individual with dues established at five dollars annually.
The Association membership continued to grow each year.
Most of the activities were devoted to training for members
and high school counselors. The first week-long workshop
for new aid officers was conducted in 1972. This was continued
for three years, then discontinued since the Mid-West
Association’s Annual Workshop fulfilled the need
for neophyte training.
One of the more significant contributions to training
was the development of the first Chief Executive Officers
Financial Aid Workshops ever held in the United States
in 1978. The Chancellor of the Board of Regents of the
State of New Jersey, the Executive Director of NASFAA,
and a Vice President of Student Affairs from the University
of South Carolina comprised the faculty of the workshop
for Presidents and Chief Students Personnel Officers of
colleges and universities throughout West Virginia. The
organizers of the workshop received the cooperation and
assistance of the Chancellor of the Board of Regents.
The meeting had all public and private student personnel
representative in attendance and all president but one,
representing a private college. The program was expanded
on a national scale and sponsored by NAUBO and NASFAA.
Other significant training actives included the development
of a policy and procedures manual by one of our financial
aid officers (Ken Sears, our 1985/86 President) that was
used to assist in the development of the NASFAA policy
and procedures manual.
Our membership classification was expanded in the early
eighties to include regular (practicing aid officers)
and associated (individuals not at educational institutions
or state agencies) categories.
The Chief Executive Officers for our organization and
the institutions they represented at the time of their
election can be viewed by clicking
Three of our past
presidents are Directors of Financial Aid in other
states, Michigan and Missouri. Two of our former presidents
are executives, one with Sallie Mae and another with WVELS.
One has returned to the ministry. One works as an executive
for a large Stafford Loan lender. Six are in other areas
of education on campuses; eleven are still in financial
It is interesting to note that all who are still working
are within the MASFAA region with one exception, our 1978-79
president, Denzil White, who is working in Washington,
In 1985, through the effort of Neil Bolyard, the Association
incorporated so that should any issues of legal liability
arise, it would be the organization that was responsible
as opposed to the officers and individuals. In September
1986, Ken Sears, at the direction of the membership, in
order to clarify our tax status and in preparation for
the 1987 MASFAA conference, applied for and obtained tax
exempt status for WVASFAA.
In October 1987, under the leadership of Elaine Chiles,
WVASFAA had the honor of hosting the MASFAA annual Conference
at the Charleston Civic Center and Charleston Marriott
Hotel. This was no ordinary MASFAA conference as it was
a celebration of MASFAA’s twenty-fifth anniversary.
It was a great conference and an accomplishment in which
our Association can certainly take pride.
In October 1992, the Association conducted its 25th Anniversary
Celebration at the Charleston Marriott following the 6th
running of the Collegiate Chase, a 5-mile road race to
encourage college attendance and to raise money for scholarships
that was started in 1987 at MASFAA’s 25th Anniversary
All of the past presidents
were located except for David Palmer.
Eleven of the past
presidents remain active in Financial Aid offices,
eight in West Virginia, with one each in Michigan (M.S.
McCann), Ohio (Carolyn Sabtino), and Missouri (Jo Ann
Hunt). Two have retired, Jack Conrad and Dick Reese. Frank
Julian is a professor at Morehead State in Kentucky, Tom
Hillyard is in Admissions at Marietta College, Ohio. Nate
Jackson has a Ford Agency in Elkins. Dennis Montrella
works with Society Bank in Cleveland while Dencil White
continues with Sallie Mae in Washington, D.C. Elaine Chiles
(twice past president) heads the WVELS office in Charleston.
Phil Sutphin is Dean of Instruction at a community college
in Mississippi. Bud Hall is in Student Affairs at Wheeling
Jesuit, and Nora Hart works in the health profession in
Of the 23 past presidents,
17 attended the 25th anniversary party. All were present
except David Palmer, Jack Conrad, Frank Julian, Joe Summers,
Jo Ann Hunt, and Phil Sutphin.
Several of the past
presidents share comments about their year that were
posted throughout the conference for the membership to
December 1994 (updated)