AS WE CELEBRATE Thanksgiving, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of West Virginia State University throughout the Kanawha Valley, around the state of West Virginia and across the nation that make it such a special place to work and study.
Since my arrival in the Mountain State, I have been continuously inspired by the deeply rooted sense of pride and spirit of community expressed by all those who live and work here. It reminds me of my upbringing in a small town in southern Virginia where neighbors helped neighbors and the success of one was celebrated by all. And at this time of year, we have much to celebrate and be thankful for.
As interim president of West Virginia State University I recognize the vital role that institutions of higher education play in the state and region and the importance of being active and giving back in the communities we serve. Paying it forward is not only part of our mission as a land grant institution, it is also part of the fabric of West Virginia and its people.
West Virginia State University’s reach extends to all 55 counties of West Virginia. Through the university’s Extension Service we are positively impacting the entire state of West Virginia through programs relating to 4-H, agriculture, health and nutrition, community and economic development and more.
With our Healthy Grandfamilies program we are helping provide guidance and solutions to grandparents throughout the state who are raising their grandchildren. West Virginia ranks second in the nation in the number of grand-family households and work done by our university is helping to address this great need in society.
As a community centered institution, we are always looking for new and innovative programs to serve West Virginia and its needs. Last fall we launched a nursing program in response to the growing health care needs of the state, region and nation. We are currently exploring launching a cybersecurity program because that, too, is a growing area where we know the university can make a difference for West Virginia and its business community.
We have also launched a fundraising campaign for our Marching Swarm marching band to raise funds for new uniforms and instruments. We recently invited area high school band members to campus to watch a football game and participate with our band. We know this kind of activity adds to the overall college experience and adds pride in the community. Other plans are also in the works to ensure that 2022 will bring even more reasons to celebrate.
Thanksgiving is a reminder for each of us to be grateful for the many gifts that we have received and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve as interim president of West Virginia State University and for the warm welcome I have received. I hope you have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving with your loved ones, family and friends.