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Beckley Keynote Speaker: Karen L. Bowling

Valley College Beckley is excited to have Karen L. Bowling from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources as the keynote speaker at graduation.


Karen L. Bowling was appointed Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources on July 1, 2013.

Prior to taking the helm of one of the State’s largest agencies, Bowling held a variety of direct care and leadership positions in the health care and education arena. Her career started as an emergency room nurse in a small rural hospital in Wyoming County. She continued to work in acute care and hospital supervision until 1983, when she joined the Wyoming County Board of Education to develop the School Health Program.

Bowling served in a number of capacities in both the hospital setting and higher education until 1990 when she began working in hospital administration. In 2001, she became the CEO of Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, West Virginia. She has served in various leadership roles at the West Virginia Hospital Association, including Chairperson. She was a board member of many not-for-profit organizations, which included the Raleigh County Community Action Association, YMCA of Beckley, and the Beckley Healthright Clinic.  She has also served as the Chairperson of the Beckley Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce.

A native of Mullens, West Virginia, Bowling graduated from Bluefield State College with an Associate Degree in Nursing.   She continued her education at West Virginia University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Primary Healthcare Nursing.

Bowling has two children and one beautiful granddaughter.