The dawning of a new year directs our thoughts in opposing directions: back, as we
review the journey that led us here, and forward, as we plan for new destinations.
As you have probably heard, my 2018 journey got off to a rough start with a fall at the Pittsburgh airport, followed by a procedure to implant an internal cardiac defibrillator. I have appreciated the unmatched kindness of the West Virginia University family during my recovery, and as I prepare to resume my presidential duties next week, I have been reflecting with pride on our University’s recent successes.
The past year found us among the top 1.5 percent of universities worldwide, according to the Center for World University Rankings. We also welcomed our biggest class of Honors College freshmen ever, as well as our largest overall freshman class, with the highest-ever GPA. And we opened our Beckley campus to provide amazing educational opportunities for people in southern West Virginia.
With a strong finish, the WVU Foundation State of Minds Campaign concluded raising more than $1.2 million to support research, academics, student aid and more. And our researchers earned national recognition for a broad-based charge against this region’s devastating opiate epidemic and advanced a collaboration with China Energy that will bring more than $83 billion to West Virginia.
As the video below shows, these and other achievements made 2017 a perfect culmination of 150 years serving West Virginians and opening doors to the American dream. In 2018, we will only accelerate our momentum as we apply our knowledge and energy to moving West Virginia forward toward a healthy, prosperous horizon.
Recent events have reminded me that life can change at any moment, so we must always strive to make the best of whatever comes our way. As we begin a new semester, I encourage you to seize the opportunities before you, while recommitting to the values that define our community. Embrace service to others. Seek innovative solutions. Respect and care for each other. And always hold yourself accountable to your highest standards.
And, at this special time when past and future dominate our thoughts, appreciate your present—surrounded by old friends, new ideas and the sustaining warmth of belonging to ONE West Virginia University family.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2018.
E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University