Public Health professor earned many honors

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Ruth Kershner, Ed.D., whose work and vision inspired her students and colleagues throughout her career at West Virginia University, has passed away. Dr. Kershner was a professor in the WVU School of Public Health and a very passionate advocate for health education.

“Ruth was a precious and valuable member of the School of Public Health family,” Interim Dean of the School of Public Health Jeffrey Coben, M.D., said. “For more than 24 years, Dr. Kershner was a courageous champion of WVU students and their well-being. She was known for her love, generosity, and endless energy and enthusiasm.”  
Kershner was frequently recognized by the university, community, and profession for her excellence in teaching and service. She was well known for her commitment to social justice. 

Her accolades included the 2011 Women in Science and Health Award and the 2009 West Virginia Professor of the Year award from the Carnegie Foundation.  
“Dr. Kershner’s humble beginnings as a nurse practicing in rural West Virginia led to her passion for community health, outreach, and educating the next generation of public health and nursing professionals. She was a master educator and excelled in leadership, mentorship, and service. Her enthusiasm truly inspired her students, and our world is diminished by her passing.  I will miss her immensely,” Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for WVU Health Sciences and president and CEO of West Virginia United Health System, said.

"The entire University community is saddened by Ruth's sudden death. She was well-respected by students and colleagues alike and was a force for public health in our community and state. She was an iconic figure on campus and a champion for making people's lives better," WVU President E. Gordon Gee said. "She received just about every teaching accolade possible. When she was named CASE professor of the year for West Virginia in 2009, one student said, 'You feel like she's on the same level as you, but she has the authority in the classroom and respect from her students. She makes you want to come to class every day.' I can't think of higher praise."
A Celebration of Life service to honor Kershner will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 14 in the Okey Patteson Auditorium at the WVU Health Sciences Center.
For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
alj: 07-11-14