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Gee Mail: 150 reasons to celebrate WVU's milestone birthday

One hundred and fifty years ago today, in a four-year old state, in a country healing from cataclysm, people looked to education to bind the wounds of division and open the door to a better future.

And so, on February 7, 1867, Gov. Arthur I. Boreman signed a bill creating the Agricultural College of West Virginia. From those humble beginnings, West Virginia University has grown into a premier research university, educating more than 30,000 students each year and driving innovation in alternative fuels, gravitational waves, the neurosciences and many other critical fields.

Amid constant change, through challenges ranging from economic depression to world war, our calling as a land-grant institution has stood fast: We create and share knowledge that improves lives in West Virginia and around the world.

Our year-long sesquicentennial celebration enables us to reflect on that calling — on our history of educating ever-greater numbers of people and, most importantly, on our vision for the next 150 years of transforming lives.

It is a time to ensure that we are nurturing the creativity, flexibility and the entrepreneurial spirit that will help students succeed in today’s economy— and tomorrow’s.

It is a time to reassert the value of education in building a prosperous and healthy society.

It is a time to expand education’s reach in every possible way, from opening a new campus in Beckley to making every hour count for students through Project 168.

It is a time to broaden our global vision, extend our imagination and create bold, new partnerships that magnify our state’s potential.

It is a time to model for the world the importance of fearless inquiry, critical thought and civil discussion on even the most contentious of issues.

Knowing the passion and dedication that our faculty, staff and students embody, I have no doubt that this 150th year is a milestone on our journey to an even more effective future.

So, I invite you to join us in this year of celebration — and to continue the important work that empowers our students and 1.8 million West Virginians. Today, let us join our voices with all Mountaineers who have come before to exclaim, “Let’s go.”

E. Gordon Gee signature
E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University