For as much good-natured ribbing as supporters of West Virginia University and Marshall University give each other, most of us are able to abandon such feelings of rivalry once we have left the athletic arena. In reality, our state is incredibly lucky to have two outstanding institutions of higher learning that offer valuable educations to students and valuable resources to our state as a whole.
Marshall University President Stephen Kopp and West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee announced this week the two schools will work together in an effort to improve higher education in West Virginia. With the research capabilities and deep intellectual wells at both universities, they will surely do exponentially more good working together than they could separately.
Both schools need to figure out how to improve the quality of the educations they offer – preparing future generations to better participate in our ever-changing workforce – while reducing costs. Working together, WVU and Marshall will likely do just that.
“I think our university helps the people of this state, and I think (Marshall) helps the people of this state,” Gee said. “I think there needs to be an expectation that the only competition we have is for maybe three hours on a Saturday afternoon for a basketball game.”
Kopp and Gee are to be commended for recognizing the need to collaborate, if the two schools are going to reach their potential to serve our state. Of course, it is also good that each recognizes the need to maintain at least a friendly athletic rivalry. If WVU and Marshall strive to push each other to greater heights on the athletic field, while working hand-in-hand for the good of West Virginia, there may be no stopping them.