September 11, 2014
It is an honor to be with all of you today to celebrate 100 years of Mining Extension at West Virginia University. I remember the first day it started.
Just kidding. If you believed that, I will have you removed.
In all seriousness, this is a testament to our long-standing foundation as West Virginia’s flagship, land-grant institution.
We owe it all to a couple of gentlemen named Smith and Lever, who in 1914 pushed a federal law that created the Cooperative Extension Service.
Extension is one of the most powerful forces for making life better in our state. Through this, 1.8 million West Virginians learn and see that West Virginia University is their University, working for them in every county, every single day.
Service to our state, nation and world is part of everything we do at West Virginia University, inseparable from our research and teaching missions.
Mining Extension has been a huge part of our outreach mission. It is the epitome of what we do as West Virginia University.
The very formation of the Mining Extension unit was to extend the resources and expertise of West Virginia University to coal miners of this state and, consequently, the nation.
While so much has changed in the mining industry, we are still running strong 100 years later. How about that?
Now I have been here before, as you know, and I know what mining means to West Virginia. I grew up in Utah, which is embedded in the mountain states out West that are also large producers of coal.
Coal mining is still a part of the American fabric. It is a livelihood and an economic engine for our state. Despite that, everyone recognizes the hazards associated with the field, which is why Mining Extension exists.
The unit has provided expertise in mine safety for a century, saving lives and training our miners to perform the safest job possible.
Right here is where it all happens. West Virginia University and its team of experienced faculty give hands-on instruction in areas ranging from electrical, foreman, self-contained self-rescuer training, first responder training, and emergency response training.
Another wonderful thing about Mining Extension, which illustrates its longevity, is that it is based on partnerships.
This University has worked side-by-side with partners in industry and government toward the goal of service to our state, its communities, and its people.
Mining Extension has provided for the people extension courses, workshops, conferences, applied research, and more for the betterment of the individual miner.
And I must say that Jim Dean has been doing a remarkable job as director.
This University and its researchers are not on its own island. We want to be good stewards and partners with industries and communities and we want to do what’s not best just for the University, but for the entire state of West Virginia.
Keep doing what you are doing and we can do this again in 100 years. Thank you.