Gilbert goes green to support United Way


Franklin Norton

Girmay Berhie, a Marshall professor and director of the Health Informatics Department, coloring President Jerry Gilbert’s hair in front of the fountain.

Caroline Kimbro, Reporter

President Jerry Gilbert showed his support for United Way Thursday afternoon by painting his hair green on the Memorial Student Center plaza. When asked if he had any final words before his hair turned a new color, Gilbert said, “Go, Herd!”

Over the last several weeks, “Greening Gilbert” raffle ticket sales raised more than $240 towards the university’s United Way workplace campaign. Girmay Berhie, a Marshall professor and director of the Health Informatics Department, won the raffle drawing and the opportunity to change Gilbert’s hair color.

“Unfortunately for the president, today I’m in charge, and I’m going to do it the African way,” Berhie said. “The African way is you paint all your body.”

Matt Jarvis, Marshall’s student body president, said Gilbert suggested the idea of painting his hair during a meeting about the campaign.

“I thought he was joking, but here we are today, a couple months later, being able to see and celebrate not only all that Marshall does, but what United Way does,” Jarvis said. “What it does for people, what it does for students, what it does for families all across our country and what it does right here at home in Huntington, West Virginia.”

The Marshall United Way workplace campaign will run Oct. 5 through Nov. 6 to support the work of United Way and address critical issues in the region. The campaign committee’s goal is to engage 100 employee participants through financial support and volunteer hours.

Laura Gilliam, director of United Way of the River Cities, commended President Gilbert for his leadership throughout the campaign and praised the Marshall community for its support of the area.

“Marshall is doing a great job with their campaign this year,” Gilliam said. “I have to say that the commitment from the president to have his hair turned green is pretty amazing. I don’t think this has ever happened before.”

The event included a luncheon on the plaza with the chance to donate to the United Way campaign. The luncheon was sponsored by Marshall University Dining Services, Bimbo Bakery, Frito-Lay, Sodexo, Coca-Cola and the Chili Dog Company.

Later in the campaign, raffle sales will also offer opportunities for participants to win tickets to the Marshall University skybox suite during the Nov. 25 home football game.

Caroline Kimbro can be contacted at [email protected]