Concord University News
For Immediate Release: 
Feb 04 2001

23rd Annual Groundhog Day Ends with Announcement to Benefit Animals

Athens, W.Va. - The 23rd annual Groundhog Day breakfast was held in the Concord College Ballroom on February 2, 2001. Among the distinguished guests were the Groundhog Day breakfast founder, Dr. R.T. Hill, President Jerry Beasley, several former Grand Groundhog Watchers, current Grand Groundhog Watchers, Andy Ridenour and Larry Groce, plus almost 150 members of the community. The breakfast was started in the late 1970’s to call attention to the College’s Appalachian Studies program and continues to provide College officials a way to honor those “who make life in West Virginia more colorful and interesting.”

Andy Ridenour was described by President Beasley as, “having a lot of Tom Sawyer in him.” He started his career at WCCR (Concord’s student-run radio station) and early on was caring enough to bring John Denver on campus to perform a benefit concert for victims of disaster. He went on to pursue other projects like teaming up with Larry Groce on a radio production of Louise McNeill’s critically acclaimed Gauley River.

Larry Groce, “voice” and executive producer of West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage, has traveled the world over and is well known in many countries. He has recorded 22 albums, 6 of which are platinum. Groce wrote the popular song, “Junk Food Junkie,” and of Groce’s music, President Beasley stated that his “songs and singing touch our hearts.”

After a spirited “Groundhog Song” by Groce, President Beasley reported Concord Charlie’s findings. Unfortunately, he saw his shadow, resulting in six more weeks of winter weather. Charlie’s predictions were not the only surprise though. In honor of Concord Charlie, Bill Craft, working with the American Red Cross, launched “a pet first aid campaign.”

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Concord College Notes: Jessica Taylor, student assistant in the public relations office, wrote this news release.

Dr. Louise McNeill Pease was born in 1911 on a Pocahontas County farm which had been in her family since 1769. She was a 1936 Concord graduate and later served the College as a member of the English faculty. She was appointed Poet Laureate of the State of West Virginia in 1979, and held the position until her death in 1993.

Books written by Pease include: Mountain White, Gauley Mountain, Elderberry Flood, Time Is Our House, From a Dark Mountain, Paradox Hill, From Appalachian to Lunar Shore, The Great Kanawha River in the Old South, Hill Daughter, and her memoir, Milkweed Ladies.

PO BOX 1000, VERMILLION ST., ATHENS, WV 24712.