Skip to main content

Looking forward in the new year

January 16, 2024

Dear West Virginia University Faculty and Staff,

Welcome to a new year, a new semester at West Virginia University.

Just a few days into 2024, it is clear that our University is advancing as the modern, land-grant R1 institution.

Our research stature is reaching new heights with an important potential advancement in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, as highlighted in the New England Journal of Medicine. The next phase of this clinical trial will begin this year, offering hope to the 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and all those who love them. I encourage you to read about this research and watch the two-segment special which aired Sunday (Jan. 14) on “60 Minutes.”

The University also played an important role in a partnership announced on Jan. 4 between LG Electronics and West Virginia to develop technologies in renewable energy, telehealth and other energies. This $700 million investment will give WVU faculty and students an unprecedented opportunity to work on building and deploying next generation technologies.

LG is interested in conducting research with our Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, Statler College of Engineering and Peak Health. They also are very interested in workforce development and partnering with faculty members from our Chambers College of Business and Economics. This is a tremendous moment for new discoveries and learning.

In terms of opportunity, we know that robotics is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in robotics is expected to grow by 11% between 2016 and 2026. To meet that growth, we have launched a robotics engineering major that will build on the globally recognized success of our existing robotics-related efforts. If you will recall, West Virginia University is home to the championship team that won the 2023 University Rover Challenge last summer, besting dozens of student teams from 10 countries to design and build the next generation of Mars rovers. This new major will offer exciting career possibilities for students this fall.

And as the West Virginia legislative session began last Wednesday, we had experts participating in the West Virginia Press Association’s Legislative Lookahead. Erienne Olesh, executive director of the Office of Student and Faculty Innovation, spoke to the economic value of partnerships with local and state governments while Dr. Stephen Pachuta, dean of the School of Dentistry, was part of a health care panel discussing how to best invest in dental education to serve the oral health care needs of our state. Our government relations team will be working closely with our legislators this session to assist in the critical efforts needed to improve education, health care and prosperity for all. To stay informed on what is happening during the session, be sure to read the weekly newsletter, Under the Dome.

As we begin a new year, it is clear we are evolving as a university. The year ahead is an important one as we strategically invest in areas that are important to student success and the future of West Virginia University. As we move forward, each of us can contribute by honing our strengths and being a partner in our University’s growth. By working smart, celebrating success and supporting each other, we will make 2024 a bright and purposeful year.

Let’s go!

Signature of E. Gordon Gee

E. Gordon Gee