West Virginia Wesleyan College will host its 127th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 5. In addition to the over three hundred graduates that will participate in the event, Wesleyan will also honor three candidates with Honorary Degrees. Those candidates are Kent. S. Charugundla, Dr. Martha J. Kanter, and Rev. Dr. David C. Myers.
Kent Charugundla will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters. He is an international entrepreneur, venture investor, inventor, and philanthropist. Currently the President of Tunnel, Inc. and Tunnel (CAN) Inc., Charugundla has been granted nine patents and has an additional 24 patents pending. His work includes providing ASL/TextRelay/Captioning services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing in the United States and creating one of the first Automatic Call Distribution software in the country. He is also the holder of one of, if not the largest, India art collections in the world. He sponsored and co-funded the Indian Art Show of Gaitonde at Guggenheim, NY, and Peggy Guggenheim of Venice, Italy, sponsored and underwrote the cost for “India Now” and has sponsored many other art and photography exhibitions.
Charugundla is Co-Chairman and Board member of ShelComm, Managing Member of Empire Ventures, LLC., Managing Member of the IncubationFund, an Advisory Board member of SXSW, a Board member of OrecX, and a Member of Eagle.Net, LLC. From 1991-2015, he served as the President and CEO of Eagle Teleconferencing Services, Inc. He is also a Board member and Chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City and a former Board member of World Concern, Tamarind Art Council, NAAIC, and Guggenheim Asian Art Board.
He has established educational partnerships with colleges and universities across the country, including West Virginia Wesleyan College. Wesleyan’s partnership with Eagle.Net, LLC provides at least two paid internships per semester to students in graphic arts, communication and public relations, and business. In addition, he and his wife, Marguerite, will soon endow a scholarship to assist students who are pursuing majors in art, music, and theatre.
Charugundla received his bachelor’s degree from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, and a master’s degree in management of technology from New York University. He was awarded the Life Time Achievement Award for Telecommunications in 2005 and has received more than 20 awards from industry peers and publications for service, innovation, product, and best of best awards.
Dr. Martha J. Kanter will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters. She is the Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign and Senior Fellow at the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy at New York University. She joined the College Promise Campaign after nearly five years as the U.S. Under Secretary of Education, a position to which she was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009.
Dr. Kanter, who assumed the role from her position as chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, is the first community college leader to serve in the Under Secretary position. In her first two years as Under Secretary, the successful implementation of the Direct Student Loan program resulted in a 50-percent increase in college enrollment, growing from 6 to 9 million students today who are Pell Grant recipients.
During her tenure as Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation, she served more than 45,000 students. In 1977, after serving as an alternative high school teacher in Massachusetts and New York, she established the first program for students with learning disabilities at San Jose City College, CA. She then served as a director, dean, and subsequently vice chancellor for policy and research for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento. In 1990, she returned to San Jose City College as Vice President of Instruction and Student Services until she was named President of De Anza College in 1993, serving in this position for a decade until her appointment as chancellor.
A celebrated scholar in her field, Dr. Kanter has been recognized for her work numerous times, including being named Woman of the Year by the 24th Assembly District, Woman of Achievement by San Jose Mercury News and the Women’s Fund, and Woman of the Year for Santa Clara County by the American Association of University Women. She has received the Excellence in Education award, was honored for diversity and community leadership by the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women, and honored with the John W. Gardner Leadership Award, among numerous others. In 2011, Dr. Kanter was appointed to the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a federal advisory committee to the Department of State that supports worldwide humanitarian development and values by coordinating efforts and delivering expert advice on issues of education, science, communications and culture.
Dr. Kanter holds a doctorate in organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco, a master’s degree in education with a concentration in clinical psychology and public practice from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Brandeis University. She currently serves as Vice President of the Chief Executive Officer Board of the Community College League of California (CCLC) and as Visiting Professor of Higher Education at New York University.
Rev. Dr. Myers, a 1970 graduate of Wesleyan, will receive a Doctor of Divinity. He has been an ordained United Methodist minister since 1972. Currently he serves the Gloucester and Rockport United Methodist Churches in Massachusetts.
Serving mostly in the New England Conference and for eight years in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, he also served as Chair of the Foundation and later as Vice-Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Foundation. He has served as Treasurer for the New England Conference and was elected to serve as President of the National Association of Annual Conference Treasurers in 2002.
In 1995, he received the Ziegler Preaching Award for Excellence in both prophetic and pastoral preaching. As a pastor, Rev. Dr. Myers has been a supervisor of 15 ministerial student interns and, since 1992, has worked extensively in mission with La Inglesia de Cristo de Nicaragua. He also supports other mission programs such as the Universidad Evangélica Nicaraguense (UNEIC), the Protestant University of Nicaragua, from which he received an Honorary Doctorate in 2017.
The Rev. Dr. Myers is also a graduate of Boston University School of Theology and completed doctoral studies at Hartford Seminary. He has served on the WVWC Board of Trustees since 2006 and has served as the Chair of the Academic Affairs Council since 2010.