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WVSU presidential finalists coming to campus starting Monday

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The woman who recently lost her bid to become Bluefield State College’s leader, a vice provost at a North Carolina historically black university and the president of the University of The Bahamas are the finalists to become West Virginia State University’s next president.

The trio will meet West Virginia State students, alumni, employees and community members on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Katherine “Kitty” Dooley, a Charleston lawyer and university Board of Governors member who leads the search committee.

Dr. R. Charles Byers, who has served as West Virginia State’s interim president since mid-May, did not seek the full-time position, according to the university. Byers, who also served as the school’s interim provost, was installed as the interim president after former leader Anthony Jenkins left to take over Coppin State University, in Baltimore.

“Each of the on-campus sessions will be available via Zoom conferencing and follow the state and CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] social distancing and safety guidelines for events,” Dooley wrote in an email.

The meetings with the various groups will all be in the Wilson University Union.

Following employee forums that begin at 8:45 a.m. each day, the student forum will start at 11:15 a.m. Community members, lawmakers and WVSU Foundation board members will meet with the finalists beginning at 1 p.m., and the W-Club/alumni forum will start at 2:15 p.m. The search committee will accept feedback on the finalists following the forums.

Patricia Ramsey, who last year was a finalist to lead Bluefield State College, will be the first of the finalists to visit Institute on Monday. Bluefield State and West Virginia State are West Virginia’s only two historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs.

The only other finalist for the Bluefield State job was Robin Capehart, who had been serving as the interim president for months and was ultimately picked to stay.

Ramsey is a former provost and vice president of academic affairs for Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University and is currently a senior executive fellow at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which supports HBCUs and their students.

Arriving Tuesday will be Nicole Pride, vice provost for academic strategy and operations since July 2018 at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, one of the largest HBCUs in the country.

She previously served in several other roles there, including about five years as chief of staff to the university’s chancellor.

Rodney Smith, president of the University of The Bahamas since October 2014, will be the last to visit. He arrives Wednesday. He previously led Ramapo College of New Jersey in the early 2000s.

All three finalists are Black.

Reach Ryan Quinn at,, 304-348-1254 or follow @RyanEQuinn on Twitter.

Funerals for Friday, July 3, 2020

Austin, Daniel - 12:30 p.m., Austin-Hope-McLeod Cemetery, Gallipolis Ferry.

Browning, James - 1:30 p.m., Pineview Cemetery, Orgas.

Cogar, Lela - 11 a.m., Dodd & Reed Funeral Home, Webster Springs.

Cook, Thermal - 1 p.m., Haven of Rest Memory Gardens, Red House.

Estep, Jerry - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Grose, Violet - 2 p.m., Phillips Cemetery, Ovapa.

Hager, Vaughn - 2 p.m., Casto Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Ratliff, Karen - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.

Rose, Mary - 3 p.m., Mollohan Cemetery, Birch River.

Smith, Dorothy - 11 a.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens.