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||This article is missing information about Leadership, governing board, relationship with faculty, student governance, faculty governance, constituent schools, endowment, fundraising. (October 2010)|
|West Virginia State University|
|Motto||A Living Laboratory of Human Relations|
|Type||Public, Land-grant, HBCU|
|President||Brian O'Harold Hemphill (President)
Hazo W. Carter, Jr. (President Emeritus)
|Location||Institute, West Virginia, United States
|Former names||West Virginia Colored Institute
West Virginia Collegiate Institute
West Virginia State College
|Colors||Black and Gold
|Athletics||NCAA Division II|
Football, Baseball, Basketball, Golf, Tennis, Track & Field
Basketball, Cheerleading, Golf, Softball, Tennis, Track & Feld, Volleyball
|Nickname||"State" or "West Virginia State"|
|Affiliations||West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference|
West Virginia State University (WVSU) is a historically black public college in Institute, West Virginia, United States. In the Charleston-metro area, the school is usually referred to simply as "State" or "West Virginia State". It is one of the original 1890 Land-Grant colleges and the smallest land-grant institution in the country. The University is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
WVSU is located on Mound Builder Native American land granted to George Washington for his service in the King's Military before the Revolutionary War. As a slave plantation, it belonged to Governor Cabbel. His son, Sam Cabbel, married one of his slaves, Mary Barnes. After his death she sold the land to the state as the site of the 'West Virginia Colored Institute. Sam and Mary Cabbel and their children are buried on the campus.
The school was established as the West Virginia Colored Institute in 1891 under the second Morrill Act which provided for land-grant institutions for black students in the 17 states that had segregated schools. Booker T. Washington, noted African American educator and statesman, was instrumental in having the institution located in the Kanawha Valley. Dr. Washington visited the campus often and spoke at its first commencement exercise.
From 1891 through 1915, the school provided the equivalent of a high school education, with vocational training and teacher preparation for segregated public schools. Renamed in 1915 as West Virginia Collegiate Institute it began to offer college degrees. It became West Virginia State College in 1929.
During World War II, West Virginia State College was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.
In 1954, following the Brown decision to desegregate public education, the college transformed from an all-black college with a primarily residential population to a predominantly commuter school with mostly white students. WVSU's student body of 3,003 students in 2009 included 480 (16%) black and 28 (1%) Hispanic students.
In 1957, WVSU lost its land grant status, the only land-grant institution to ever do so, in part due to desegregation. Although land-grant university funding is governed by federal laws, the federal aid is conditioned upon matching state funds. The WV State Board of Education voted to end the matching state funds in 1957 and WVSU also lost the federal funds for instruction, research and extension activities. Under the leadership of President Hazo W. Carter, Jr., a 12-year quest was begun to restore the land-grant designation. The first step toward regaining the status came when Governor Gaston Caperton signed a bill on February 12, 1991 that had been passed by the WV legislature to recognize the land-grant status on the state level. With the assistance from WV Senator Robert C. Byrd, the land-grant status was regained in 2000, effective in 2001. WVSU's birth right was restored and is recognized as an 1890 land-grant institution with recognition at the Federal level along with funding to carry out the mission of teaching, research, and public service. The land-grant institution of WVSU is named the Gus R. Douglass Land-Grant Institution.
In 2003 the school's community college, established in 1953, was separately accredited as the West Virginia State Community and Technical College but remained administratively linked to West Virginia State College. In 2004, West Virginia State College gained university status, becoming West Virginia State University and began to offer graduate degrees in Biotechnology and Media Studies. In the fall of 2011, WVSU began to offer a graduate degree in Law Enforcement.
In 2008, the legislature fully separated the community and technical college. However, both schools continue to share the same campus. In 2009, the Community and Technical College went through a name change. The new name was announced on April 20, 2009 as Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College. Beginning in the fall 2012 semester, KVCTC will move to its new location where the former Dow Chemical research facility is located in South Charleston, West Virginia.
Brian O'Harold Hemphill is the tenth president of West Virginia State University. Hazo W. Carter, Jr., the university's ninth president and first to serve under the "university" status, is president emeritus.
In August 2011, the faculty, by majority (67 to 19), voted "no confidence in [Carter's] leadership" and as such, President Carter retired on June 30, 2012. After a recommendation to the WV Higher Education Policy Commission by the WVSU Board of Governer's to amend Carter's contract, Carter will remain at the school until June 30, 2014 as president emeritus. Chancellor of the HEPC Brian Noland noted that "this concept of president emeritus is extremely fitting given President Carter's more than 20 years of service" and that it's "extremely well-deserved." Under his new role, Carter will help the university fundraise, act as a spokesman, and help ease the transition for the university's new president.
The Board of Governors finalized the makeup of the presidential search committee in January 2012 to find a new president to lead the school by July 2012. On May 9, 2012, as the unanimous choice, the WVSU Board of Governors offered Brian O. Hemphill the position of president to which he accepted. The WV Higher Education Policy Commission approved Hemphill on May 18, 2012 and he became the university’s tenth president on July 1, 2012. His selection followed a nationwide search.
Past presidents of the university include James Edwin Campbell (1892–94), John H. Hill (1894–98), James McHenry Jones (1898–1909), Byrd Prillerman (1909–19), John W. Davis (1919–53), William J.L. Wallace (1953–73), Harold M. McNeill (1973–81), Thomas Winston Cole, Jr. (1982–86), and Hazo W. Carter, Jr. (1986-2012). Several buildings on campus are named after the past presidents (Campbell Conference Center, Hill Hall, Jones Hall, Prillerman Hall, Davis Fine Arts Building, Wallace Hall, McNeill Facilities Building, and Cole Complex). John W. Davis is the longest serving president in the university's history, having served for 34 years.
On October 19, 2009, West Virginia State University dedicated a monument to the memory of noted African American educator and statesman Booker T. Washington. The event took place at West Virginia State University's Booker T. Washington Park in Malden, West Virginia. The monument also honors the families of African ancestry who lived in Old Malden in the early 20th Century and who knew and encouraged Booker T. Washington. Special guest speakers at the event included West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, Malden attorney Larry L. Rowe, and the president of WVSU. Musical selections were provided by the WVSU Marching Yellow Jackets.
February 24, 2010 was named WVSU Day by the West Virginia legislature. President Hazo W. Carter, Jr. and other WVSU officials were on hand to witness the declaration. WVSU Gus R. Douglass Land-Grant Institute extension agents and staff members presented various demonstrations and interactive displays throughout the day with a performance by the WVSU Jazz Band.
In October 2011, Sandra Orr, professor and Chair of WVSU's Department of Education, was listed as one of the 50 most influential professors in education on the website, Masters In Education.
WVSU's Fall and Spring Commencement Ceremonies are held in December and May, respectively, at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston. Until 2009, WVSU and WVSCTC, had joint commencement ceremonies.
During the segregation era, the school competed in athletics as "West Virginia" and played other segregated schools as a member of what was then known as the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association. After desegregation, the school withdrew from the CIAA (today's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and began to bill itself as "West Virginia State" to avoid confusion with West Virginia University. The school then moved to the formerly all-white West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which today competes in the NCAA's Division II. This move was met with opposition by many alumni from the segregated era. The school continues to play other historically black institutions on occasion.
During the segregation era, black high schools were barred from competition in the WVSSAC and State therefore sponsored an unofficial "state colored championship" from 1932 to 1959.
The athletic teams are known as the Yellow Jackets. Students from KVCTC can also play on these teams, but are only recognized as WVSU. WVSU athletic teams include men's football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, and track & field and women's basketball, cheerleading, golf, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.
On September 6, 2008, the Yellow Jacket Football team played in the 11th Annual Chicago Football Classic, which is for HBCU colleges and universities, in Chicago, Illinois at Soldier Field. The Yellow Jackets defeated the Marauders of Central State University 47 to 13. 2008 was also the first year the football team was ranked in NCAA's Division II Football Poll since WVSU joined the NCAA Division II in 1995. The Yellow Jackets have also played in two other, unsuccessful, football classics: the Palmetto Capital City Classic against Benedict College and the Dayton Classic against Central State University.
Other accolades of the Yellow Jackets athletic teams include the men's basketball team ranking #24 in the U.S.A. on the NCAA's Division II preseason top 25 bulletin for 2009-10, the men's baseball team receiving the WVIAC Sportsmanship Award for 2008-09, the women's cheerleading squad taking third place for the WVIAC Presidents' Cup in 2007-08, the women's golf team finishing sixth place at the WVIAC Women's Golf Championship in 2009, and the 2009 WVIAC Coach Poll ranking the WVSU women's volleyball team at number 2 for the start of the 2009 season.
In the mid-late 1990s, the band saw a period of resurgence under the direction of Chris Card. From 1995 until 2000, the band had an enrollment of between 35-50 members. Many of the members during this time period were scholarship recipients, and the band often contained 5-10 veterans or active members of Drum Corps International. The band was known for its small size and huge sound.
The band marches in a "corps-style" fashion, the only band of its type at an HBCU, as most have a "show-style" band.
Over the last few years, the Yellow Jackets Marching Band, known as the "Marching Swarm", has broken enrollment records by over 800% under the direction of Mr. Scott E. Woodard. Mr. Woodard has been the Director of Bands since 2006 and as of 2010, the Chair of the Music Department of WVSU. When he became the Director of Bands, only 7 students were enrolled. The Assistant Band Director is Mr. David Lawson who is also a music professor for WVSU (2011–present). Mr. Keaton Neely is the Drumline Instructor (2011–present). The band does a different marching show at every home football game, with the exception of homecoming as half-time is taken up by the presentation of the homecoming court and a short speech by the president. The bands pre-game show consists of a "funky" version of the school's fight song, "Hail to the Team", while spelling out WVSU. This is then followed by the playing of the "National Anthem" and WVSU's Alma Mater. Another song/piece may be played between the fight song and the National Anthem.
The band performs in one parade unless invited to others: the WVSU Homecoming Parade. The band also plays for the president's "State of the University Address" and for WVSU's ROTC Hall of Fame Ceremony (in 2011, they also played for the Founder's Day ceremony). The marching band has served as the exhibition band at high school marching band festivals, including Nicholas County's Mountain Band Spectacular (2008–2010) and Poca High School's Invitational Festival in Poca, WV (2009–2011). In 2008, the Band was invited to go to Chicago with the football team for the Chicago Football Classic to participate in the Battle of the Bands competition; the only competition the band has participated in. The competition occurred after the game and was against Central States Marching Band, "The Invincible Marching Marauders".
The Symphonic Wind Ensemble takes place during the last month of the Fall Semester and the entire Spring Semester. The Wind Ensemble performs a concert at the end of the Fall Semester and two during the Spring Semester. There are also concerts for the student conductors in the beginning Instrumental Conducting class and the Advanced Conducting studio when the beginning class is offered. The Advanced Conducting studio is a unique feature of WVSU as not many colleges offer it at the undergraduate level. The Wind Ensemble also plays at WVSU's Fall and Spring Commencement Ceremonies. In addition to select pieces as a prelude, the pieces played for the Commencement Ceremonies include the "Star Spangled Banner", the "Fanfare and Processional", WVSU's Alma Mater, and for the recessional, the "Raiders March".
The Jazz Ensemble is one of the most visible groups performing for various events on and off campus. In November 2007, the WVSU Jazz Ensemble traveled to Austria to perform in Vienna, Graz, and Salzburg. On April 12 and 13, 2012, the Jazz Ensemble played two concerts for Washington, D.C.'s 150th Emancipation Day celebrations at the Lincoln Theatre. The April 12th concert featured the WVSU Jazz Ensemble and saxophonist Brian Lenair and the April 13th concert again featured the WVSU Jazz Ensemble and Brian Lenair, but also featured a comedy show by famed comedian, Dick Gregory.
Other instrumental groups at WVSU include the Brass Ensemble, the Guitar Ensemble, the Percussion Ensemble, and Woodwind Ensembles (including one of the premier groups, "3 Hits and a Ms. Saxophone Quartet"). In addition, WVSU is home to the community group, the Mountain State Brass Band, also under the direction of Mr. Scott Woodard.
In addition to the instrumental ensembles, WVSU also features the WVSU Concert Choir, the "State" Singers, and two Barbershop Quartets (one female group and one male group). The State Singers consist of eight to ten vocalists with a required audition. The State Singers also perform as the WVSU Vocal Jazz Choir. The State Singers act as ambassadors for the University and frequently perform off campus for important community and cultural events. Every spring, the Concert Choir goes on tours. Recent tours have taken the group to Cleveland, Ohio, Virginia Beach, and St. Louis, Missouri. On April 13 and 14, 2012, the Concert Choir had the unique opportunity of singing the music of "Queen" with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Dirk Johnson is the Director of Choral Activities for WVSU and has been at that position since the fall of 2009.
Many of the students who live in dorms on campus are from large urban areas outside of West Virginia or from the rural counties in the state. Those who stay on campus generally congregate at Wilson Student Union.
The campus radio station at WVSU can be heard locally on 106.7 FM or over the internet. The station has hosted live music and interviews with recording artists. The campus newspaper, The Yellow Jacket, is published and edited by students and can be picked up in major buildings across the campus.