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Cabell, Mason and Wayne counties

June 3

Nothing starts the day off right than meeting with the ever-jubilant WSAZ reporter (and former WVU Extension agent) John Marra, who interviewed me for his television show and shared my vision for West Virginia University.

President Gee and John Marr

I believe it’s important that institutions of higher education work together. And that’s why I was eager to head to Huntington and meet with President Stephen Kopp of Marshall University.

As I have mentioned before, our only competition should occur on the field. We are all part of ONE West Virginia.

Education is the most precious commodity our country has to offer. We need to keep convincing our policymakers that higher education is the one investment that can push our state and country to the next level.

Cooperation – not competition – is sometimes the best strategy to blaze new paths.

Dr. Kopp and I had an open dialogue of challenges and opportunities. He gave me a grand tour of campus before we headed into a press conference where we shared our visions on the future of higher ed.

The Marshall community was gracious. A group of creative arts students there designed a hand-crafted plate for me which I prominently display in my office. It will be perfect for serving ‘Flying WV’ cookies!

President Gee with President Kopp

Mason County found me taking a selfie with the terrific students of Point Pleasant High School. I was thrilled to discover that many are planning to attend West Virginia University. Dean of the Honors College Ken Blemings answered many of their questions – but he didn’t take a selfie.

President Gee takes a selfie with Point Pleasant High School students.

Extension agent Rodney Wallbrown introduced us to Darlene Haer who was instrumental in the development of the Point Pleasant Mural Project at Riverfront Park. The artwork and history depicted on the flood walls was remarkable.

And it wouldn’t be a stop in Point Pleasant without seeing the Mothman. What a great treasure in folklore – and the perfect spot for a photo op. Check out my Mothman pose. Don’t you think they could have cast me as the Mothman in that Richard Gere movie?

President Gee at the Point Pleasant Mural Project at Riverfront Park

President Gee and staff at Mothman Statue

I then visited the farm of Dan Foglesong. It is a second-generation farm that participates in the Farm-to-School Program, where local produce is purchased for use in the local schools. This truly benefits everyone.

President Gee at the Fogleson farm

More than 100 alumni and friends of West Virginia University later gathered in Huntington for a reception. Thanks to WVU Alumni Association President Steve Douglas and his team for hosting a grand affair in a beautiful space. It was wonderful to see so many supporters of the University, including local and state leaders.

Guests mingle at Alumni reception.

And what a splendid way to end the day by visiting the Heritage Farm Museum and Village. It was so good to see my dear friend Mike Perry and his wife, Henriella. They have poured their hearts and souls into the replication of a time gone-by. The experience is one I hope to someday share with my twin granddaughters. The time passed by much too quickly and I plan to make another visit back soon.

President Gee and Mike Perry