Considered West Virginia University’s highest honor, the Order of Vandalia Award was conceived in 1960 by former WVU president Elvis J. Stahr. Since then, there have been more than 150 individuals inducted into the Order for their service to the University. Past honorees include such recognizable names as Robert C. Byrd, Mylan Puskar and Hazel Ruby McQuain.
Among this year’s four inductees, two called the College of Education and Human Services their home: Anne Nardi and Deborah Smyth Green. Both were honored at the Erickson Alumni Center for going above and beyond the call of duty to improve WVU.
Dr. Anne Nardi received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from WVU in 1971, after which she became chair of The Department of Educational Psychology in what was formerly known as the College of Human Resources and Education (now CEHS) from 1985 to 1996. In 1997, Nardi was named associate dean of CEHS, and she served as interim dean of the College from 2002 to 2008.
As dean, she greenlighted the creation of the College’s Five Year Teacher Education Program and oversaw the development of a Ph.D. program in education. She is also credited with balancing the College’s budget, which had been operating at a significant deficit before her tenure. The financial stability Nardi provided as dean allowed the College to invest in curriculum and new programs.
Nardi continued to teach educational psychology at CEHS until she retired in 2014, although she briefly came out of retirement in 2015 to serve as interim chair of The Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development (LSHD).
"Anne was the dean who hired me and interim chair of LSHD prior to my stepping in as chair,” said Reagan Curtis, current LSHD chair. “I greatly admire her financial stewardship and academic leadership for the College and department. She remains one of my most influential mentors."
In addition to all she has done for CEHS, Nardi’s accomplishments have extended well beyond the College. During her dynamic career, she served as the director of the Center for Guided Design, a Fellow in the International Society for Exploring Alternatives to Teaching and Learning, and as a member of the board of directors for the International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning.
At the state level, she has been an active member of the West Virginia Teacher Education Advisory Committee. As an early advocate of faculty development, Nardi has been consulted in introducing the practice to other institutions as well as at WVU. Her late husband Gabriel A. Nardi was a professor of special education at WVU, and together they have four children and nine grandchildren.
Deborah Smyth Green
As a Morgantown native, WVU was a natural choice for Deborah Smyth Green. After earning her bachelor’s degree in history at the University, Green was one of 15 students chosen to receive federal funding to pursue a master’s degree in counseling at CEHS in 1970.
WVU had received a Title IX training grant as the result of an effort by the federal government to increase the number of counselors in elementary and secondary schools. Although the grant predated the Americans with Disabilities Act, it placed great emphasis on identifying and assisting students who did not adjust well to typical classroom settings.
After earning her master’s in counseling, Green became an eighth grade West Virginia history teacher in Morgantown before teaching in Colorado, Florida, Virginia and eventually Illinois, where she worked as a counselor in a large suburban high school for 25 years.
As a result of her specialized education from CEHS, Green became one of the first teachers in her school district to instruct a classroom entirely made up of students with learning disabilities. Around the same time, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) adopted a regulation known as Proposition 48, which mandated minimum standardized test scores and grades in order for high school student-athletes to be considered to participate in collegiate competitions.
Although Green acknowledges that Prop 48 was a step in the right direction, it included no accommodations for those with learning disabilities.
“As it turned out, several of my students were excellent athletes, including the top state swimmer,” Green said. “He was offered an athletic scholarship to a huge state university but was then denied the scholarship due to Prop 48 regulations.”
When her student and his family decided to take on the NCAA in the landmark case Ganden v. NCAA, Green served as a key witness. She credits her training at CEHS for preparing her to advocate for students with learning disabilities.
As the leader of WVU’s Chicago Metro Alumni Chapter, a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and a member of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Visiting Committee, Green has spent 30 years promoting a strong relationship between WVU and the Chicago area. She is a lifetime member of the WVU Alumni Association, and in 2002 she received the John F. Nicholas Jr. Award, which recognizes outstanding service to an alumni chapter.
So far, she has planned 165 alumni events in the Chicago area, featuring guest speakers like Dr. Stanley Ikenberry, the original dean of CEHS. Green says she is happy to be occupied with the almost full-time job of bringing ‘anything West Virginian’ to WVU alumni in the Midwest.
“Giving back to my alma mater has seemed a way of life,” Green said. “My parents could only afford for me to attend West Virginia University… Still, once in the workforce, my WVU undergrad in history and graduate training in counseling never failed me. As I moved around the country to Colorado, Florida, Virginia, and finally to Illinois, I was more than able to hold my own with colleagues who were graduates of more expensive or more well-known institutions.”
In addition to her work as an ambassador to the University, Green has led two efforts to preserve the memory of the U.S.S. West Virginia, including securing artifacts saved by a sailor stationed on the ship before the WWII attack on Pearl Harbor. The artifacts include 50 photos taken aboard the ship and a 1939 telegram announcing Great Britain and France were at war with Germany. The collection is now housed at WVU Libraries. Green also spurred a collaboration between the Chicago Alumni chapter and the College of Creative Arts in which 24 WVU art students painted their own interpretations of the U.S.S. West Virginia for display at the Erickson Alumni Center.
Green and her husband established the Garret W. and Deborah Green Fund in Eberly College and are members of the Irvin Stewart Society. They have a son, daughter and five grandchildren and reside in Sugar Grove, Illinois.