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Donor of the Week: Denise LaMaster Finley

March 6, 2013

On February 23, a bus traveling from Lexington, KY to Huntington was loaded with over 35 people all wearing Kelly Green. Organized by the Central KY Big Green Chapter, the group was headed to watch the Herd battle UAB on the hardwood. Sitting on that bus was a true daughter of Marshall that bleeds green in every sense of the phrase, Denise LaMaster Finley.

Denise is a 1979 graduate of Marshall with a BA and received her MA in 1985. Denise and her husband, Paul, married in 1980 and she is the Tates Creek Elementary Reading Intervention teacher. She has successfully recruited Paul (an Ohio State grad) as a full-fledged member of the Herd Faithful! Their two children, Lane and Andrea, are both UK grads and Andrea's husband, Brett Least, is a former Graduate Assistant with the Marshall Sports Medicine staff.

Denise serves on the MU Alumni Board of Directors and also is the Central KY Big Green Chapter Secretary & Publicity Chair. She has been the driving force of one of our fastest growing chapters, and, as you will see below, Denise is very passionate when it comes to her alma-mater and in growing support for the Herd in the Bluegrass state.

About starting up the chapter: "My husband, Paul, was a student at The Ohio State University while I was a student at Marshall in the late 1970's. Paul quickly discovered that the Marshall campus was a special place during our courtship. When Paul's good friend, Terry Atkinson, was asked to revitalize the Cen. KY Big Green Chapter, he and Jack Blevins, Charlie Ellis, Rusty Cook, Chris Clay, Alden Meade, Adam Johnson, John & Katie Maddy went to work. Paul encouraged Terry to include me to help this wonderful group. Being very busy that year as a teacher, wife and mother, I had planned it to be a "one and done" type of volunteer effort. Now years later, I am honored to be a small part of a spectacular group of people who have a passion for supporting Marshall University with their time and talents. Our chapter members represent all ages/phases/stages of life and we respect and appreciate the long history that we share of our own era as a Marshall University student.



About this year's bus trip: our first bus trip was in 2010 and this year's successful Cen. KY Bus Trip to the Marshall vs. UAB Men's Basketball game was our fourth event. This annual excursion continues to assist in strengthening the relationships and friendships within our chapter. It's a tailgate ---only on a charter bus. It is a trip filled with fun & surprises of various donated gifts that we raffle and use as door prizes throughout the 10 hours we are together. We always end the trip with a picture being taken in the Cam Henderson student section.

This year our ladies were able to participate in a fashion show on the bus, modeling a custom line of NITRO USA Ladies Collegiate Apparel that has been designed specifically for the Marshall University female fan by Sherrie and Kyle Goebel. Strutting our fashions in the bus aisle to the music of "Thunderstruck", we nicknamed the NITRO USA style as, "Marshall Bedazzled Bling", which has already arrived at HomeTown Sports in Huntington. As Marshall ambassadors, our female fans are excited to represent our alma mater with style and class and are anxiously excited with the styles and creations that are in the works for our future. Both HomeTown Sports and Glenns Sporting Goods will continue to get their NITRO USA shipments in the upcoming months.

Favorite Marshall Athlete: Lisa Gergerly, who was a member of the 1975-79 Marshall Tennis team and my first freshman roommate in Twin Towers. Lisa learned to play tennis on the public courts in her home town of Welch, WV. She was also an excellent student in the classroom. Being her roommate, I was amazed at the time she spent juggling the demands of being a student athlete while maintaining a high GPA.

Favorite Marshall Moment: Returning to the Marshall campus after 30 years in the fall of 2009 and meeting my college girlfriend, Carol Miller MacCourtney at a Big Green tailgate. We welcomed our other former Marshall classmates, including Mike Hamrick as the new Athletic Director. Mike, Carol and a few other classmates had NOT seen each another in 30 years.

Why you give to the Big Green: Marshall provided me a strong foundation for a spectacular teaching career for the last 33 years. Paul and I hope to relieve a bit of the financial burden by helping to remove barriers of learning for students desiring a higher education.