Dr. H. Gary Gillespie (left) and John McKinney. The art and music wings of the Glenville State College Fine Arts Center have been named in their honor.
Dr. H. Gary Gillespie (left) and John McKinney. The art and music wings of the Glenville State College Fine Arts Center have been named in their honor.

Glenville State College Fine Arts Center art and music wings dedicated in honor of Gillespie, McKinney

GLENVILLE, W.Va. – The music and art programs at Glenville State College have been housed in the College’s Fine Arts Center for over thirty years. Now, two sections of the building have been named in recognition of the pair who helped make the facility a reality.

Plaques now adorn the Gillespie Division of Art and the McKinney Division of Music. The two areas are named in honor of Professor Emeritus Dr. H. Gary Gillespie and Professor of Music John McKinney. The naming took place at a surprise ceremony on October 12, before the annual Music Fest concert.

Gillespie graduated from Glenville State in 1959. He also holds a master’s degree in English, a master’s degree in art history, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Arts. He returned to GSC in 1967 where he taught English and fine arts until 2000. He chaired GSC’s Division of Fine Arts from 1978-1996. A prolific recruiter, Gillespie helped guide the fine arts program through a period of growth and lobbied state decisionmakers for a new fine arts facility at Glenville State. He was also the chairperson who initially hired McKinney.

“The success wasn’t all on me. I could never have done any of this without John McKinney,” Gillespie said. “John would take care of everything while I was out recruiting. I was more of the action guy, while he was more of a planner and the behind-the-scenes guy.”

“You’re in good hands in this building with Jason Barr and Lloyd Bone. I’m very pleased that everything’s continued on without my help – I never thought that would be possible,” Gillespie added jokingly.

McKinney graduated from Glenville State in 1973 before continuing his education at West Virginia University. He spent several years as band director at Calhoun County High School and was the drum line instructor and coordinator at West Virginia University. He returned to his alma mater in 1982. Over the years at GSC, he has led the marching band, percussion ensemble, and performed other administrative duties, in addition to teaching.

“Throughout my time here I’ve known or worked with ten presidents, numerous faculty and staff, thousands of students – it’s been an incredible journey,” McKinney said. “People wonder how I’ve been able to be here all these years…I started here and the people who I taught sent their children here to learn from me, and then their grandchildren come here…and it is just the best time of my life.”

“These two men have had a tremendous impact on the fine arts at Glenville State College and we are pleased to recognize their contributions,” said GSC President, Dr. Mark A. Manchin. “In addition to instilling their love for the arts in countless Pioneers over the years, Dr. Gillespie and Mr. McKinney have also elevated Glenville State College with their talents, hard work, and dedication.”

For those who were unable to attend, a video of the naming ceremony is available online at https://go.glenville.edu/2Z5rr4d.

For more information about any programs or ensembles within the Department of Fine Arts at Glenville State College, contact Jason.Barr@glenville.edu or call (304) 462-6340.

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