A Message to the WVU Family

During my three decades as a University president, I have witnessed many changes and learned many lessons. But one truth stands out most clearly: We must always invest in our students’ success.

Everywhere I go—around the state, nation and world—I meet West Virginia University alumni who are passionate about their University. These men and women are grateful for the academic and personal experiences they had as Mountaineers.

And those experiences lead to remarkable opportunities. Take for example, Emily Calandrelli, a 2010 mechanical and aerospace engineering grad, who was both a Truman Scholar and a Goldwater Scholar. Now, as host of Fox’s “Xploration Nation: Outerspace,” she is sharing her love of science and technology with America.

Or alumnus Dr. Rustin Moore, a world-renowned equine surgeon. He is best known for giving a pony named Molly a new leg and a new lease on life after Hurricane Katrina.

Nothing is more important than preparing people for successful, meaningful futures. It is at the very core of this institution’s mission. It is the reason we are here.

And while tuition increases are difficult choices to make, I believe that our Board of Governors acted wisely Friday (May 1) by approving an increase in resident and non-resident rates. I am extremely cognizant of the challenges our families face in pursuing a higher education. And I want to assure you that as we discussed the needs of the University, we also discussed the needs of our students and their families.

So as we adjust our tuition rates, West Virginia University is also vigorously expanding student scholarships and need-based aid to ensure that our educational quality grows even stronger.

In partnership with the WVU Foundation, we are launching a $50 million student scholarship fundraising campaign to support students as they “dream big” in the pursuit of their academic passions. The University is also increasing need-based student aid by $2.25 million.

And as we are increasing our financial support to students, we also are investing in a Student Success Initiative that will provide a more integrated, personalized four-year approach to students’ development. The initiative will enhance all facets of student life, including a more unified approach to advising; investments in additional team-building and leadership programs like Adventure West Virginia; and the expansion of Living-Learning communities.

These new initiatives will work together to increase retention and graduation rates, improve the student experience, attract the best faculty, and offer the modern facilities that today’s students need.

With these new programs, I believe we are positioning West Virginia University to become one of the premier institutions in this country—while remaining affordable and accessible, especially when compared to our regional and Big 12 peers and other in-state colleges and universities.

We cannot and will not sacrifice the quality of this institution. We will continue to invest in our University and in our students’ future.

Gee-Signature