BETHANY, WV – Bethany College has announced the recipients of its 2018 alumni awards, including the Community Service Award and the Alumni Achievement Award.

These recipients will be honored at Bethany’s Homecoming Weekend festivities on Thursday, September 27 at 7 p.m.

R. Darryl Ponton ‘68, an attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is receiving the Community Service Award, given periodically to recognize alumni who demonstrate significant leadership and service to their region or community. After graduating from Bethany, Mr. Ponton received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a masters in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He has served on the board of directors of Heritage National Bank, the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh, the LeMoyne Center, Hill House Association, the Urban League of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Roundtable and Development Fund, Manchester Craftsman’s Guild, and several others. He has also served on the board of trustees at Bethany College. He started his own private legal practice, R. Darryl Ponton & Associates, in 1993.

The Ponton Mentor Program at Bethany College provides African-American students with upper class student mentors, enhanced academic advising, and social support to manage the transition to Bethany College, develop social connections, and learn the foundations of effective leadership abilities.

Dr. Edward Phillips Polack ‘67 and Mr. Peter Jensen ‘81 are receiving Bethany’s Alumni Achievement Award, given annually for achievements and contributions to their profession or field.

Dr. Polack is the director of the Center of Skin Cancer and Melanoma, the Director of the Center for Wound Care, and Chairman of the Committee on Ethics, all at Wheeling Hospital in West Virginia. Previously, he was in private practice in the area of plastic surgery. He has also served as a clinical professor of surgery at West Virginia University Medical Center. He is a member of numerous medical associations and professional committees and has authored three books and over 30 professional publications. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

He received his medical training from West Virginia University School of Medicine and has been awarded an honorary doctorate of science from Bethany College, one of the youngest alumni to ever receive such a distinction.

Peter Jensen is an editorial writer for The Baltimore Sun and has also served as reporter, correspondent, feature writer and columnist covering everything from the State House in Annapolis to remote fishing communities along the Chesapeake Bay. He was formerly a reporter for The Cincinnati Post and as a reporter and editor for The Star-Democrat in Easton, Md. In 2016, he was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

Mr. Jensen has won numerous journalism awards from the Scripps-Howard Foundation, the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association and, the Association of Food Journalists. Approximately one year ago, he was recruited by The Sun to voice the daily “flash news briefings,” a summary of the day’s news, for Baltimoreans with access to Amazon’s Echo or other Alexa-enabled devices. This has allowed him to use skills last cultivated at Bethany College’s WVBC radio station.

About Bethany College

Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.