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We can move West Virginia forward

August 31, 2017

West Virginians share one unwavering quality: We love West Virginia. The people who dwell among these magnificent hills and hollows deserve lives as soaring and strong as our landscape. They deserve the economic security, stellar education and first-rate healthcare that would allow them to approach life’s starting line on even footing with all Americans.

Unfortunately, at this moment, many of them lack those essentials.

To address problems, I am a fan of creating strategies that turn into immediate actions. Some such strategies succeed. Some fail. But failure is not as perilous as inaction. As Franklin D. Roosevelt urged in the bleak atmosphere of 1932: “Above all, try something.”

And we are.

This year, West Virginia University partnered with the state Department of Commerce and Marshall University to commission the McKinsey & Company in a search for a fresh look at our problems and pathways to solving them. Only private dollars, rather than state appropriations, funded this effort.

The result is a plan that we call West Virginia Forward. And this plan has three objectives:

  • Reinforcing the foundation that supports economic growth, including our infrastructure, talent base and business climate.
  • Identifying potential sectors in which West Virginia can grow to diversify our economy.
  • And helping partners around the state navigate these new pathways toward our shared destination: A prosperous West Virginia.  

Helping West Virginians thrive is the mission of our land-grant university. By building on the assets we have, creating new opportunities for potential businesses and investing in our people, we can move from a state of despair to a state of prosperity.

Looking forward requires our unwavering focus. It demands courage. It impels us to embrace our strengths and tackle our problems in the firm faith that we can solve them.

In a time when society seems more fragmented than ever, we are all working toward the same goal. With our road map in hand, we can all advance in the same direction. With hard work, we can clear new pathways.

And, together, we can move West Virginia forward.

Signature of E. Gordon Gee

E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University