August 16, 2017
It never ceases to amaze me how exciting it is to start a new academic year. There is an energy that envelops you — a sense of optimism and enthusiasm, mixed with a twinge of nervousness and anxiety. The start of a new semester can be overwhelming, no matter if you are a freshman or a seasoned faculty member. And it is the unknown that is both exhilarating and intimidating.
However, braving that unknown is what we do at West Virginia University. We take risks. We create new opportunities. We challenge ourselves to push boundaries and question the status quo. That is, indeed, why universities were created. As classes start, open the doors to all possibilities, expand your knowledge and share your experiences. That is how you will discover your true self.
And as an institution, our true self is best reflected in our values: Service, Curiosity, Respect, Accountability and Appreciation. These five values establish for us the foundation on which every decision is made. These principles are shared among all: faculty, staff, students and alumni. And it is with these core values that we stand strong as we begin a new year.
These are challenging times in higher education. Across the nation, institutions are facing reductions in state funding. Our campuses are being used as platforms for both personal and political agendas. And the national dialogue has our young people and their parents questioning whether a college education is of value.
Though we may face these same challenges, I stand resolved in knowing that an education is of value — particularly an education at West Virginia University. Our University family demonstrates this every day in our teaching and research, our health care initiatives and in service to our communities. And our commitment to each other manifests in the values we have chosen to embrace. Those values, along with our spirit of rugged determination and optimism, will allow us to serve as a bright example of what an institution of higher education can do for its state, its people and its country.
E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University