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President Gee recognizes legislation that created the Extension Service


May 8, 2014

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and Friends:

On May 8, 1914, a door swung open — a door connecting land-grant universities to the people they serve.

On that date, the U.S. Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, creating a unique system called the National Cooperative Extension Service. Through federal, state, and county partnerships, this innovative system took land-grant university research, youth programs, training, and education into communities to improve people’s lives.

Since then, the West Virginia University Extension Service has been one of the most powerful forces for making life better in our state. Local experts serve in each of our 55 counties, delivering trusted programming that improves the health and prosperity of West Virginians.

There are programs such as 4-H youth development that support more than 80,000 young people each year to learn leadership and life skills — while having fun. There are health and nutrition programs guiding people to lead healthier, longer lives. WVU Extension also helps people start businesses, maximize their farm output, protect our state’s natural resources, and so much more.

For 1.8 million citizens, our county offices are the front door to West Virginia University and often the first connection to higher education. Through Extension, West Virginians learn that West Virginia University is their University, working for them in every county, every single day.

I would like to thank the men and women who have made Extension so successful for the past 100 years. I am also grateful to the volunteers who support our WVU Extension programs and the county commissioners, boards of education members, and local and state leaders who serve as vital partners.

By the end of this summer, I will have visited all 55 counties of our beautiful state and witnessed WVU Extension’s presence in each of those counties. And as I travel our state’s winding highways and byways, I will help tell the WVU Extension story — for it is an innovative idea that has stood the test of time.

Today, on this important anniversary, we are proud to launch a second century of WVU Extension’s service to West Virginians. And as a land-grant institution of this state, let us never forget that at West Virginia University we have a national opportunity — and a local responsibility — to make a difference in people’s lives.


E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University