Bethany College Selects Judge Joyce, Marc Chernenko
for 2012 Alumni Award

BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College will honor Marc B. Chernenko ‘78 and Joyce Dumbaugh Chernenko ’78 as co-recipients of the 2012 Alumnus of the Year Award at the Alumni Weekend Awards Reception on May 4. The award was established by the Office of the President to recognize alumni who have demonstrated loyalty to the College and exceptional achievement throughout their lives, both professionally and in service to the community.

Nominees for the award are screened by the Director of Alumni and Parent Relations and the President’s Cabinet, and recipients are chosen by the President of the College.

“The Chernenkos have spent their careers serving the local community through vital leadership in the field of law,” said Bethany College President Scott D. Miller. “Both possess exemplary talent and are highly respected members of the legal profession and Bethany College family. For decades Marc and Joyce have also demonstrated through continuous generous acts a deep love for Bethany College. It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to honor them together in this way.”

Marc B. Chernenko graduated magna cum laude from Bethany College in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science. He went on to receive his doctorate in law from West Virginia University (WVU). He has been practicing law in Wellsburg, W.Va., since 1981 with the firm of William E. Watson and Associates and has served as Wellsburg city solicitor. He has admission to the West Virginia State Bar, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for both the Northern and Southern District of W.Va. He has served on the West Virginia State Bar Lawyer Disciplinary Board, as General Counsel to the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association-LAWPAC and as Chairman of the First Judicial Circuit Public Defender Corporation and is a member of the West Virginia State Bar District Character Committee.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Chernenko has remained dedicated to Bethany College throughout his education and career. As a law student, he returned to the College to speak with students interested in pursuing law. He is a member of the Bethany College Board of Trustees and has served on several committees. As a servant to the greater community, he is a member of the Board of Directors for both the Sisters of St. Joseph Health and Welfare Foundation, Inc. and the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley and is the treasurer of the Wellsburg United Methodist Church. Previously, he has held the position of chairman of the Brooke County Committee on Aging and as president of the United Way of Brook County, Inc.

The Honorable Joyce Dumbaugh Chernenko also graduated magna cum laude from Bethany College in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications, following in the footsteps of her father, brother and sister who are also Bethany graduates. She graduated from the WVU College of Law in 1981 and joined the law firm of William E. Watson and Associates in 1982. She was elected Family Court Judge for the First Judicial Circuit of West Virginia in 2002 and 2008 after having been appointed previously to the Family Court in 1996 and 1999, and served two consecutive terms as president of the West Virginia Family Court Association from 1999 to 2001.

Judge Chernenko implemented a family court custody mediation program and a parent education program in her circuit before those programs were mandated statewide. The Supreme Court has awarded her $100,000 in grants to establish monitored parenting and exchange centers in Wheeling and Weirton to protect victims of domestic violence and children in high conflict custody cases. She has been named to the Supreme Court’s Family Court Legislative Committee and the Committee of Domestic Violence Jurisdiction, and she has been selected by the Supreme Court to train new Family Court Judges.

Joyce Chernenko’s service to Bethany College has included extensive involvement in Greek life as an alumna. She served as general advisor to the Theta chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha from 1996 to 2004 and was an advisor to the Panhellenic Council from 2005 to 2011. In the fall of 2011, she assisted with Greek life programming, bringing about events such as the All Greek Faculty Staff Appreciation Reception and the Christmas Tree Auction that was a part of Bethany College’s first annual Light up Night. Both Joyce and Marc Chernenko are supporters of the Bethany College Relay for Life as well as the College’s athletic programs.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.


By: Noelle Wright
Office of Communications Student Assistant