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CPASS grad sends long distance appreciation to West Virginia University

For Melinda Grant, everything she does is a labor of love.

Grant, who graduated from WVU CPASS twice, first with a B.S. in Physical Education Teacher Education in 1976 and then a master’s in PETE in 1978, found that one way she could give back to CPASS was to donate her time and effort.

The medium? Quilting.

“The first quilt I did for CPASS was when I was on the Visiting Committee,” Grant said. “CPASS hosted a golf tournament, silent auction, and live auction as a fundraiser, and I volunteered to make and donate a t-shirt quilt for the auction.

“It was a huge success and brought in a nice little piece of cash for the College. Leslie Meltzer, from Houston, TX, ended up taking it home!  I have to admit, it was pretty hard to part with that one,” she said.

Grant now works for Texas A&M University as the aquatic coordinator and associate chair, Physical Education Activity Program, the largest program of its kind in the country. Grant credits Drs. Pat Fehl and Dan Ziatz for their help through the years in preparing her for her current job.

“I feel like I jumped out of the frying pan into the fire,” Grant said. “As an undergrad at WVU, I had remarkable and outstanding professors who taught me how to be a good teacher and what it means to be the best you can be.

“Dr. Dan Ziatz has been one of my most profound mentors throughout my career, as was Dr. Fehl, who taught me you can do anything you set your mind to, especially if your supervisor tells you to.  To this day, when I make up an exam, I go back and look at it to see if it is a fair and quality exam. Dr. Fehl’s tests and measurements class had a huge impact on me,” she said.

Grant explained that Ziatz taught her to demand excellence from students while making them responsible for their own actions.

“[Dr. Ziatz] always told us we’d get what we gave,” Grant said. “He was right. I learned the importance of being passionate about what you do and always to give your best effort.  There is never a day that I don’t love coming to work. My dad always told me that if you have a job you loved, you’d never work a day in your life.”

Between Grant’s work at Texas A&M, watching her children grow up and become Aggies, and participating on the WVU CPASS Visiting Committee, she must prioritize time to craft, but she says that she has refined her quilting process.

“Once I decide on the layout and get the material, it’s pretty quick,” Grant said. “I usually spend one night preparing the squares, and cutting all the pieces I’ll need.  Then I spend the next day sewing. It’s really a quick and simple assembly process.

“I can start a quilt on Friday evening after work, and have it ready for the quilter by late Saturday night.  Once it’s quilted, it only takes a couple hours to bind it, and then it’s done. It’s like putting a puzzle together to get the look I want,” she said.

Grant has donated three quilts to CPASS. She created the most recent ones as gifts benefitting the National Youth Sports Program and as a work anniversary gift for Dean Dana Brooks.

“The Visiting Committee wanted to do something to honor Dana and I offered to do the quilt,” Grant said. “Everyone on the Visiting Committee donated either shirts or money for materials, as a surprise to be given to Dana at the Hall of Fame dinner at the Alumni Center. 

“That was the first time since I’ve known Dana that he was speechless,” Grant said. “Making that quilt was truly a labor of love as I have the most profound admiration and respect for Dana and all he’s done to take CPASS to the height of excellence and notoriety it enjoys today.”

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