Two long-time professors, Drs. Herbert and Phyllis Kohl Coston ’53, Hon.’98, were honored at West Virginia Wesleyan College last week by alumni and friends for their dedication to Wesleyan students. A bench and two cherry trees were placed at the corner of Haymond Hall.
Herb taught at Wesleyan from 1962 to 1992, and Phyllis was a member of the faculty from 1963-1998.
“Herb and Phyllis have enjoyed legendary careers at West Virginia Wesleyan College,” said Bob Skinner ’75, vice president for advancement. “They have served as advocates, mentors, and enthusiastic coaches for decades, and many alumni owe a debt of gratitude for their profound influence. I am delighted that we are honoring their amazing lives and commitment to Wesleyan and its students.”
Instrumental in honoring the Costons was former student Jim Chiang ’92 of Broadlands, VA, who offered his remarks of thanks.
“On behalf of myself and all of your students, before and after me, thank you Drs. Coston,” said Chiang. “We thank you for all that you have done for us while at West Virginia Wesleyan. While time continues to pass with each and every minute of every day, we are eternally grateful and in debt for your service.”
Phyllis was known as a pioneer when she started Wesleyan’s Learning Center in 1963 and the Special Support Program for college students with learning disabilities in 1982. A professor of education and Christian education, she also served as the director of the Learning Center. She is an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church. Dr. Coston earned her B.A. from Wesleyan, an M.A. from Garrett Evangelical Seminary and Northwestern University, and received a Doctor of Humane letters from Wesleyan.
A published author, Phyllis’ book, Celebration of Success (2013), chronicles personal stories of 38 Wesleyan alumni who learned under her. She has spoken at many national conferences, including the Learning Disabilities Association, Orton Society, and the International Reading Association. She has been recognized with numerous awards for her teaching and her work with learning disabled students including the Award for Exemplary Teaching from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, Distinguished Teacher Award from the West Virginia State Reading Council, the Distinguished Developmental Educator Award from the West Virginia Association of Developmental Educators, the Francis Asbury Award for fostering ministries from the West Virginia United Methodist Conference, and the Outstanding Alumni Award from Garrett Evangelical Seminary.
“Herb’s dedication and his influence on internationalizing Wesleyan’s curriculum, especially Asia, encouraged international travel long before it became fashionable,” said Dr. Boyd Creasman, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
A professor of history, Emeritus, Herb served as chairman of the history department and taught classes in Asian history. He earned his A.B. from the University of Florida, a divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University.
The Costons have two children, Robert and Susan.
Photo (L-r:) Dr. Herb Coston, Jim Chiang ’92, and Dr. Phyllis Coston