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Kathryn Vecelli*

Presidential Honorary Doctorate in Counseling Psychology

West Virginia University presents Kathryn Vecellio with a Presidential Honorary Doctorate in Counseling Psychology for her sustained and distinguished philanthropic leadership at the national level.

Kathryn Cottrill Vecellio is a West Virginia native who graduated from West Virginia University’s College of Human Resources and Education (now the College of Education and Human Services) with a BS in Biological Sciences in 1971 and a master’s in Guidance and Counseling in 1972.  

Although Vecellio and her husband of 42 years, Leo, have a home and business in West Virginia, their primary residence is Palm Beach, Florida, where she has served as a community leader, development volunteer and philanthropist. Vecellio has been honored to serve as a trustee for the National Board for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; The Benjamin School; Palm Beach Atlantic University; Palm Beach State College Foundation; the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; Palm Beach United Way; Norton Museum of Art; Center for Children in Crisis; Center for Family Services; South Florida Science Museum; Palm Beach Literary Society; Junior Achievement; West Virginia Friends are Fun Foundation; Schepens Eye Research Institute and Massachusetts Eye and Ear (both affiliates of Harvard University). 

Vecellio has also served on the Leadership Commission for Cleveland Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Institute and, for the past 12 years, on the Cleveland Clinic Health and Wellness Center Board, the American Heart Association’s Palm Beach County Market Board of Directors, and the National Development Committee for NSDAR. She is a member of Executive Women of Palm Beach, Junior League of Palm Beach (Past President), Jamestowne Society, Colonial Dames of the XVII Century, Colonial Dames of America and Daughters of the American Revolution. She is a Tiffany Circle member of the American Red Cross and founded the Palm Beach Go Red for Women Founder’s Circle.

A staunch supporter of WVU and fellow West Virginians, Vecellio established the Dr. Clarence C. and Maxine D. Cottrill General Dentistry Scholarship in the School of Dentistry and a Continuing Education Endowment in honor of her father’s efforts in establishing the WVU School of Dentistry.  The endowment supports WVU dental students, graduates and professors with cutting-edge information presented by well-known dental experts. Vecellio also founded the Kathryn C. Vecellio Scholarship for students who demonstrate academic merit, financial need and volunteer/service involvement at the School of Education and Human Services, where she served on the Advisory Board for 20 years and is a member of its Hall of Fame. Mr. and Mrs. Vecellio’s family foundation has provided more than 380 academic scholarships to students from West Virginia and Florida.

In recognition of her lifetime career of service, Vecellio has been recognized by or received awards from numerous organizations and institutions.  With her husband and two sons, she owns the Vecellio Group, Inc., which has been one of the nation’s top 400 contractors since 1938. The Vecellios are proud of their two sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. They believe that education is of utmost importance and that the fulfillment we receive in life is in direct proportion to what we give.