A group of highly successful alumni of West Virginia University's business school were recognized at the inaugural Roll of Distinguished Alumni induction ceremony in Morgantown Friday afternoon. WVU's College of Business and Economics (B&E) inducted seven alumni at the ceremony, which was held as part of the school's 60th Anniversary Celebration.
Inductees included Joseph E. Antonini, former chairman and CEO of Kmart; Phyllis H. Arnold, State President of BB&T West Virginia and Regional President of BB&T West Virginia Central Region; J. Michael Bodnar, past owner of dozens of Wendy's restaurants, former CEO of Shoney's and a partner in the Jim & Nick's BBQ and Taziki's Mediterranean Café chains; William T. Bright, co-founder of Bright of America, the driving force behind more than 30 successful business ventures, and credited with reviving the Winterplace and Glade Springs resorts; Earl G. "Ken" Kendrick, an owner in Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks and the NBA's Phoenix Suns; William T. McLaughlin II, credited with forever changing the banking landscape in West Virginia through his advocacy of changing state banking laws to allow branch banking and bank holding companies; and Fred T. Tattersall, former senior vice president of what today is the Bank of America and current chairman of a Richmond-based investment management company.
"The inductees into this first Roll of Distinguished Alumni are highly successful people that excite and inspire us," said Dr. Jose V. Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean, WVU College of Business and Economics. "These honorees have been highly successful in several different facets of life, and it is important to note that these individuals were recognized for their personal and professional accomplishments."
Antonini was named president and chief operating officer of Kmart Corporation in 1986. In 1987, he was named chairman and CEO. Since retiring from Kmart, he formed a business investment firm and has helped raise funds for organizations such as the Michigan Cancer Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Michigan and the Leukemia Society of America.
Arnold's renowned banking career has taken her from Mellon Bank to One Valley Bank to BB&T. In 1991, she was named president and CEO of One Valley Bank and, after its transition into the BB&T system, she was named to her current positions. She also serves on boards of directors for Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation and the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, among others.
Having owned dozens of Wendy's restaurants, operated more than 70 Dairy Queen franchised stores and a host of other hospitality-related properties, Bodnar now operates the Bodnar Investment Group to help develop new restaurants. He was a co-donor of a Taziki's Mediterranean Café at the Mountainlair on WVU's campus last year, which donates net profits to B&E. His Bodnar Foundation provides generous support for numerous causes.
Bright is a renowned West Virginia entrepreneur from Summersville who founded the highly successful Bright of America and Land Use Corporation businesses before selling them. He has started, acquired and/or turned around more than 30 different business ventures. Bright is active in multiple foundations of his own, as well as the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center and WVU Foundation.
Kendrick's entrepreneurial successes have included software, technology, banking and sports businesses. In 1995, he became a partner in the Arizona Diamondbacks and in 2002 invested capital in exchange for control of the organization. He owns a share of the NBA's Phoenix Suns and a 74,000-acre ranch that features a multitude of amenities and activities. He is involved in several charitable causes and has multiple philanthropic projects with WVU.
McLaughlin's career began with the FDIC and then launched into a 30-year banking career that included service at Community Bank & Trust and Huntington Banks. His campaign to change state laws was a driver behind dramatic changes to the banking landscape in West Virginia, resulting in bank holding companies becoming legal in 1983. He has served on boards such as the Fairmont State University Board of Advisors and the Finance Committee for Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Tattersall's degree in finance propelled him to senior vice president in the Fixed Income Division of what would become the Bank of America. He continued his career in investment management and in 1997 created the Tattersall Advisory Group, which he sold in 2004. Now chairman of 1607 Capital partner in Richmond, Tattersall last year made the largest single contribution in B&E's history. He is on the committee which oversees the University of Richmond's endowment fund and is the founder of Richmond First Tee, an organization that seeks to impact youth through the game of golf.
"The College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University launches hundreds of graduates into the world each year," said Sartarelli. "We can only hope that they will mimic the achievements of those inductees we have recognized here today."