Skip to main content

May 2024 Graduation: A New Journey Begins

Looking back on the triumphs, challenges and achievements of the Chambers College's newest class of business leaders.

The close of a semester brings the commencement of another class of future business leaders. 

On Saturday, May 11, the Chambers College awarded diplomas to 705 students - 551 undergraduates and 154 graduate students - each becoming part of the fabric of the Chambers College in their journeys to and through West Virginia University. 

This commencement is just the next step for them. 

"With the turn of your tassels, a new journey begins,” said Milan Puskar Dean Josh Hall. “Even if you don’t know exactly where that journey will take you, know that you are ready for it because of what you’ve learned during your years at West Virginia University. We often say that our Chambers College students are the future of work, and that has never been more true than it is today.” 

Additionally, two Chambers College supporters were awarded honorary degrees. One was Maggie Hardy, owner of Nemacolin Resort and 84 Lumber, who was a driving force behind Nemacolin’s $7 million donation to WVU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program

"Don’t be scared to go for something that has never been done before, and don’t let anyone stop you from chasing your goals,” said Hardy. “I can just feel it in the air today, the grit and the desire, and I know that all of you are going to get out there in the world and do something even larger than you ever imagined.” 

The other honorary degree recipient was Karen Evans, managing director of the Cyber Readiness Institute, who is the namesake of the Dr. Randy and Karen Evans Cybersecurity Lab

"As a Mountaineer, I have learned the values of resilience, perseverance, and community,” said Evans. “These values, instilled in me while here attending this university, have guided me through every endeavor and shaped me into the person I am today. They remind me that no challenge is insurmountable and that together, as a community, we can achieve greatness.” 

Grit, desire, resilience, greatness: that’s what every Chambers College student has in common. As these new graduates move forward to change the world, it’s time to look back on how far they’ve come. 


Claire Ullom

M.S. in Accounting 

Country roads took Claire Ullom home, again and again.

Photo of Claire Ullom receiving her diploma from Milan Puskar Dean Josh Hall

A graduate student in the Accounting department who previously earned her bachelor's in accounting from WVU, Ullom is the daughter of two proud West Virginians who later moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 

“My parents are from West Virginia, so we’re big WVU fans,” said Ullom. “I always watched WVU sports. My sister came here for undergrad as well, so I got to visit her while I was in high school, and this was the only school I applied to. I just knew I wanted to go here, being such a big fan and loving West Virginia. 

“Later on, my parents moved to Morgantown, so I became a West Virginia resident, and I’ve been here full-time since second semester freshman year. So I now live in Morgantown, love West Virginia, and bleed gold and blue.” 

Ullom’s accounting journey presented as many obstacles – like COVID and remote classes – as it did opportunities – like an assistantship with the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an M.S. in Accounting and an internship with PwC. In her triumphs and trials alike, she was supported by the Chambers College’s dedicated faculty and staff. 

“I’m going to miss the sense of family and connectedness the most,” said Ullom. “I’m very close with Tara St. Clair and Rachel Nieman, who helped me professionally grow throughout the years. I’m going to miss having all those people around who are always opening new doors for me.” 

The only downside to an open door is that you have to walk through it. Ullom’s internship landed her a full-time job with PwC, which will take her away from Morgantown. However, thanks to her love for WVU, she's already looking forward to coming home. 

“I hope to be successful in accounting, and would love to bring my efforts back to West Virginia and always call it home. I’d love more than anything to be involved with WVU.”

Read more about Claire Ullom.


Jada Brooks 

B.A. in General Business 

“I feel like I might be a little boring compared to other people,” said Jada Brooks of Martinsburg. “I only have what I’ve gone through in my life and how I was able to get through that.” 

Photo of Jada Brooks singing Country Roads at graduation

Brooks, a high school basketball and track star, received offers from 27 different colleges. It was a visit to WVU, however, that captured her heart. 

“My grandfather, who passed away in 2012, was the biggest die-hard West Virginia fan in the whole entire world,” said Brooks. “When I came to Morgantown, this weird feeling came across me, and I felt comfortable being here.  

“When I got to the Coliseum, they had that Jerry West statue outside. He was my grandpa’s favorite player. I got my mom to take the picture of me beside the statue, and I felt like my grandpa was on the other side of the statue with me. I looked at my mom and said, ‘I’m going to have to stay here. I can’t leave.’” 

Staying at WVU, however, wasn’t always easy for Brooks. A first-generation student who worked two jobs in high school, she was already helping her mother and brother pay bills when she decided to attend college. 

The stress of finances, family and academics weighed on Brooks – but her spirits were bolstered by her new fan section in the Chambers College. 

“The idea of always being able to look over your shoulder and someone having your back, that means a lot to me,” said Brooks. “Micah Reed and Damia Dobbs were people that I could just keep going to. I was like, ‘OK, now I've got people that actually care about what I'm doing. I need to go the extra mile because I'm not just doing this for me anymore.’” 

Then again, Brooks was never just doing it for herself. 

“I’m getting my diploma for my dad, who never got his,” said Brooks. “I’m getting it for my grandma, who had to drop out when she was in ninth grade to take care of her family. And I’m getting it for my mom and my brother. They’re the reason I do everything in my life.” 


William Turman 

B.S. in Economics 

Photo of William Turman walking with his diploma at graduation

Barboursville native William Turman has accomplished plenty in his four years at WVU, including being named to the Order of Augusta, the highest honor a WVU student can achieve. What he’s most proud of, however, is naming one of the Chambers College’s experiential learning labs.

“I came up with the name for the BEAST Lab,” said Turman. “It was almost the EEL, Experimental Economics Lab, for a while. Then I said, ‘Behavioral Economics and Situational Testing,’ and the rest is history.” 

It was in the BEAST Lab that Turman found his calling. He’d initially come to WVU intending to study civil engineering, like his great-grandfather and namesake. His plans and his passions, however, didn’t align. 

“I always knew I wanted to study economics,” said Turman. “Most economists are going to take math classes, because you have to have a quantitative side, but it’s also very philosophical. Look at the Mon River – if you’re a fisherman, you understand what the fish bite on, but an economist understands the river.” 

After switching his major, Turman began to work closely with Assistant Professor of Economics Nathaniel Burke. In the BEAST Lab, they studied how identity influences decision-making on a micro and macro scale. 

“Doctor Burke was a big influence on me,” said Turman. “I'm really thankful to him, because he showed me a side of economics that’s on the cutting edge.” 

Turman’s future looks bright – and busy. This summer, he’ll be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the West Virginia National Guard, intern for Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and continue his graduate studies in economics at WVU. 

However, from his first day as an undergraduate all the way to his last, one thing hasn’t changed. 

“I felt like WVU really cared about me even as a high school student,” said Turman. “As a senior, I still feel that they care about me. West Virginia is a state where there’s a lot of struggle – but I think that breeds a lot of opportunity. We have a long way to climb, and that’s what excites me.” 


AM 5/11/24

CONTACT: Andrew Marvin
Multimedia Specialist
John Chambers College of Business and Economics

Chambers College