Some Notable Alumni of Woodrow Wilson High School

Contributions of additional names or more information on existing entries are welcome via e-mail.  "Attended WWHS" does not imply the individual did not graduate from WWHS, but instead indicates information is presently lacking. This page was last revised on May 1, 2017.

Name Dates Achievement At WWHS
A. David Abrams 1919-1999 Member of W. Va. House of Delegates Graduated from WWHS
George T. Arnold ? Author of Media Writer's Handbook: A Guide to Common Writing and Editing Problems, a textbook used by journalism students in about 80 colleges and universities nationwide Graduated from WWHS in 1958
Robert Ash 1939-2004 Founder of Winterplace Ski Resort and manager of several other ski resorts; held several patents including one for a new type of snow gun currently used on many slopes; an expert water skier, snow skier, windsurfer, and sail boater Graduated in 1957
Dwight Billings ? Professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky, teaches in a number of areas of sociology, including the sociology of religion and Appalachian studies. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School and the University of Rome. Graduated from WWHS in 1966
Donald Edward Boyd 1921-2005 Played trombone for the Glen Gray, Harry James, and Les Brown orchestras Graduated from WWHS in 1939
Robert C. Brown 1939- West Virginia's most decorated Vietnam veteran Class of 1957, enlisted in the Army in December 1956
H. Stan Cavendish ? President of West Virginia Verizon Communications. Previously was editor of the Weston Indepenent and (Buckhannon) Republican Delta newspapers Graduated from WWHS in 1965, taught English at WWHS
Gayle Connelly ? Is married to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III Graduated from WWHS in 1965
Robbie Davis ? Now known as Rob Ashford, he won the 2002 Tony award for best choreographer for Thoroughly Modern Millie Graduated from WWHS in 1978
Henry Dickerson ? Played four years of professional basketball, including a year each with the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks; named head basketball coach at University of Tennesseee-Chattanooga in 1997 Graduated from WWHS in 1969
Howard Hurt 1938- Starter on the Duke basketball team in 1959, 1960, and 1961; drafted by Los Angeles Lakers in 1961 Played basketball for WWHS
James C. "Jimmy" Justice II 1951- President of Bluestone Coal Corp. and Bluestone Farms, which farms over 30,000 acres in several states; purchased the Greenbrier in 2009; became the 36th Governor of West Virginia in 2017 Graduated from WWHS in 1969
R. Fred Lewis 1947- Appointed to Florida Supreme Court in 1998 Graduated from WWHS 1965; was president of student body, received All State and All American recognition for athletic achievement
Arnys Clifton Lilly 1934 - 2011 Bachelor’s Degree in Geological Engineering from Virginia Tech, a Master’s Degree in Physics from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Ph. D. in Physics from Virginia Tech. Retired as Vice-President of Technology Assessment at Philip Morris USA after 38 years of service. WWHS Class of 1952; voted "Most Likely to Succeed" when he was a senior.
David Lee Lilly 1945-1975 A Beckley police officer, Sgt. Lilly was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 12, 1975. He was 30 years old. Graduated from WWHS 1963
Edna Earle Lilly 1908-1992 Joined WWHS faculty in 1936; in 1939 married Dr. Hamil Clark Kessel and continued on the faculty under her married name Graduated from WWHS in 1923
James Garfield Lilly 1921-1997 Oak Hill Red Devils basketball coach for 27 years, third winningest (591-291) basketball coach in state history Attended WWHS
Tom Maddox 1945- Wrote science fiction stories published in Omni and the novel Halo (1991); co-wrote two X-Files episodes Attended WWHS 1960-61, before family moved to Virginia
Capt. Jon A. McBride 1943- Astronaut, piloted Challenger in Oct. 1984; in 1987 became NASA's Acting Administrator for Congressional Relations; candidate for Governor of W. Va. in 1996 Graduated from WWHS in 1960
Lewis Nichols McManus 1929-2002 Served six terms in the House of Delegates, was Speaker from 1971 to 1976 Graduated from WWHS in 1947
Clarence Meadows 1904-1961 Elected Governor of West Virginia in 1944 Graduated from Beckley High School, predecessor to WWHS, in 1920, at age 16
Brig. Gen. Lawrence A. Mitchell 1941- Commander, Second Air Force, Beale AFB, Calif., until retirement in 1993 Graduated from WWHS
William A. "Bill" O'Brien 1947- The Voice of the Flying Eagles on WJLS since 1969; he and his wife Lynn became owners of the radio station in 1996; served as Mayor of Beckley Graduated from WWHS in 1965
Dr. Linda S. Powers ? Director of National Center for the Design of Molecular Function at Utah State University; author of over 100 technical publications in refereed journals; several patents Graduated from WWHS in 1966
Bob Pruett 1943- Named head football coach at Marshall University in 1996; named MAC Coach of the Year in 1998; named W. Va. Coach of the Year three consecutive times Graduated from WWHS in 1961; played football, basketball, ran track and wrestled at WWHS
Emmett Pugh ? Was Mayor of Beckley for a longer period than other mayor in the city's history Graduated from WWHS in 1968
N. Joe Rahall 1913-1993 Founded Rahall Communications, Inc., which operated several radio stations and a television station in Florida; owned several clothing stores and auto dealerships and a bus line Graduated from WWHS in 1931; played trumpet in the band and was manager of the football team
Nick J. Rahall, II 1949- Elected to Congress in 1976 and in subsequent elections Graduated from WWHS in 1967; President of Key Club; attended Boys' State; played Mortimer Neff in senior class play Double Door; lettered in golf; named "Most Considerate" in 1967 Yearbook
Chris Sarandon 1942- Nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dog Day Afternoon in 1976; has also appeared in Fright Night, The Princess Bride, and the Child's Play movies. Graduated from WWHS in 1960
Lorna Scott ? A character actress. She has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, including Days of Our Lives and Desperate Housewives. More info is here. Graduated from WWHS in 1973
Tamar Slay 1980- Played basketball for the New Jersey Nets in '02-'03 and '03-'04; currently a guard for the Charlotte Bobcats. More info is here. Graduated from WWHS in 1999
Hulett Carlson Smith 1918-2012 Governor of West Virginia, 1965-69 Attended Institute Elementary; was water boy and manager of the WWHS 1933 football team; was salutatorian of the WWHS Class of 1934
Joe L. Smith Jr. 1915-1985 Founded the first radio station in Beckley (WJLS) and the first TV station in Charleston Graduated from WWHS with the class of 1931
Morgan Spurlock 1970- His documentary film Super Size Me was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 Graduated from WWHS in 1989
Clarence E. "Red" Underwood ? - about 1986/87 After coaching football at WWHS and at Kentucky under Bear Bryant, he became a highly successful coach at Thomas Jefferson H. S. in Port Arthur, Texas. Known as "Red" and "Buckshot." Graduated from WWHS in 1933
Leo Arthur Vecellio Sr. 1915-1996 Established, in 1938, with his father and brother-in-law one of the country's largest highway construction firms, Vecellio and Grogan. Graduated from WWHS in 1932; played center on the football team
Dr. Paul L. Walker ? Was pastor of 12,000-member Mount Paran Church of God in Atlanta for 37 years; later became presiding bishop of the Church of God Graduated from WWHS
Lewis McKinney Webb ? Owned Webb Automotive Group, of Irvine, California, which included eight car dealerships; the company was sold in 1998 for $112 million Graduated from WWHS in 1952; attended WVU on a football scholarship
Beatrice "Jackie" (Neubert) Withrow d. 2010 Elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1960, served for 18 years Graduated from WWHS in 1936

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