Seven employees retire from Potomac State College

Potomac State Social Banquet

During the College’s annual Social Club banquet this past spring, Potomac State College of West Virginia University recognized the following employees who are retiring or have recently retired (l-r): Karen Peer, Libby Kalbaugh, Jeff Helmick, and Fred Jacoby.  Not pictured are Jill Gardner, Harvey Jones and Susan Kephart.   


Seven retirees from Potomac State College (PSC) of West Virginia University (WVU) were recently honored by the College and fellow employees during the annual Social Club Spring Banquet; they boast a combined 199 years of service. 

Jill Gardner, director of the Mary F. Shipper Library, began working at the College as a library technical assistant in 1986 and will retire this summer after 29 years of service.  She plans to keep busy with researching genealogy, reading, taking care of her pets, and perhaps doing a little traveling.  “Potomac State has been a part of my life forever.  I was born in what is now Catamount Place.  I came here for events as a child, then as a student and finally as an employee,” stated Gardner, adding, “A highlight of my time here has been watching students grow and become successful in their chosen careers.”

Jeffrey Helmick began and is ending his career as a theatre technician at the Church-McKee Arts Center.  Prior to coming to Potomac State, Helmick served for four years in the U.S. Army Field Artillery Division, 101st Airborne Division.  He plans to spend time with family and enjoying his favorite hobbies – photography and gardening. “I’ve enjoyed my time here at Potomac State and after 31 years of working in the Arts Center, I’ve had the unique opportunity of experiencing a variety of entertainment throughout my career,” said Helmick.

Professor Fred Jacoby has spent 31 years teaching journalism, reporting, editing, public speaking, and English composition to thousands of students. He also served as the adviser to the College newspaper, Pasquino, and Arts and Humanities Division Chairman.  He plays percussion in various bands and performs in community theater. Jacoby and wife, Connie, plan to spend time with older son, Jaime and his family in Missoula, Montana, and with younger son, Eric, and his family, especially granddaughter Collins. “I’ll miss my colleagues; we have wonderful faculty and staff here at the College.  I’ll also miss my students, who taught me as I taught them. It’s been a wonderful 31 years!” 

Harvey Jones began working at the College in 1980 in the custodial department where he eventually worked as a supervisor.  “I loved working around the Ag students in Friend Hall,” said Jones.  He officially retired in December 2014 as a trades specialist lead in the Maintenance Department after 35 years of service to the College.  In addition to spending more time with his family, Jones is also raising honeybees. 

Libby Kalbaugh has served as the alumni/development associate since 1997, but was actually employed part-time in the Small Business Development Center at the College in 1994.  She has served on numerous committees and was the staff advisor for the Campus and Community Ministry Club.  Kalbaugh enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, cooking, gardening, bowling, and catching big fish.  In addition to doing more of this, she plans on spending lots of time with her family and grandchildren.  “I’ve enjoyed watching students grow outside of the classroom, especially with their volunteer efforts.  During my 21 years here, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful alumni and donors, some of which have become lifelong friends,” said Kalbaugh.

Susan Kephart began working at Potomac State in 2002, serving as the College’s psychologist in the Health Center.  “I’ve had a rewarding career here at Potomac State.  The support system from faculty and staff toward the students and each other is amazing.  I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful people for the past 13 years.”  In addition to moving South, Kephart and her husband, Gale, plan to travel and spend time with their son, Mike and daughter-in-law, Adrienne.  They also plan to return to West Virginia for visits.  “I love my job and the people I work with, so I really have mixed feelings about retiring but I’m also looking forward to spending more time with family,” added Kephart. 

Karen Peer is ending her 40-year career as a secretary/administrative assistant, with the last 32 as an executive secretary/administrative assistant senior in the president’s office.  She worked with nine leaders of the College and served on various councils and committees.  In addition to spending time reading, baking and walking, she looks forward to spending more time with her daughter and son-in-law, Andrea and Don Schafer, and her dad, Charles Alt.  “Potomac State has been a nice place to work, and I treasure the friendships and memories I’ve made here,” said