A Message to the WVU Family

In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act created a unique system called the National Cooperative Extension Service. For 100 years, Extension has been helping land-grant universities keep pace with change, while finding new ways to serve citizens.

West Virginia University recently welcomed experts from across the nation to a two-day symposium, Century Beyond the Campus: Past, Present and Future of Extension.

As someone who has spent almost 20 years leading land-grant universities, I believe that the way West Virginia University is redefining engagement for the 21st century can serve as a national model.

While many of the nation’s Cooperative Extension offices still reside in university agricultural programs, West Virginia University Extension is an autonomous unit, and its experts have the freedom to collaborate with educators from across all university disciplines.

West Virginia University Extension also is unique in supporting faculty in each of the state’s 55 counties.

These two distinctive qualities—a university-wide scope and a local focus—have made West Virginia University Extension one of the most powerful forces for progress and opportunity in our state.

The great Russian author, playwright and physician Anton Chekhov once said, “knowledge is of no value until you put it into practice.”

In its second century, I believe Cooperative Extension is putting that knowledge into practice in West Virginia—and all across America—while improving countless lives along the way.

I can’t wait to see what big ideas await.