I am honored to be President of West Virginia University at Parkersburg, the college that the community built. I am in awe of the members of the community who worked diligently to bring public higher education to Parkersburg. Celebrating the 50th is an opportunity for the college to recognize the community and the community leaders responsible for a legacy to their belief in the power of a college education.
West Virginia University at Parkersburg has come a long way since 1961, when it was located in an old school building. Now with a main campus located on a sprawling 133 acres in Parkersburg, and the Jackson County Center completely visible from I-77 in Ripley, the college offers a career ladder/lattice of opportunities: an individual can begin with noncredit courses and certificates and go on to complete credit certificate, associates and bachelors degree programs. Over 40 programs are offered. Students may complete degrees on campus, online, and in hybrid format. Quality higher education is made accessible and affordable.
I know thousands of you have taken at least one course at WVU Parkersburg (WVU Branch, WVU Center, Parkersburg Community College) and therefore, understand that this college has been a first step, has opened doors to opportunities-career and community service, and enrichment. We recognize in those who have completed course work and programs the college's success as we see you in all occupations/vocations-doctors and nurses, lawyers, dentists, teachers, craftsmen, engineers.
Despite the budgetary challenges as we embark on the next half century, we will continue to have as our mission meeting the needs of the citizens of the counties in our region for higher education and training. Our vision, to be the regional college of choice, will mean continually assessing our programs to ensure that we are offering the right mix for those interested in certificates and degrees, community education courses and customized training. We will partner with many more businesses and organizations on education and training and grant opportunities for the good of the community. We know that partnerships will make possible the completion of our Downtown Center projects, expansion of our Jackson County Center, the renovation of our science labs in addition to new program development.
I respectfully acknowledge the contributions of Board of Advisors' members in the past and Board of Governors. I also want to acknowledge the diligence of our State Senators and Delegates over the years and the U.S. Representatives and Senators who recognize the importance of WVU Parkersburg to this region. I thank you all for your advocacy.
WVU Parkersburg is your higher education gem in the Mid-Ohio Valley: The college is our founders' great idea and the community's excellent investment. Thank you, Mid- Ohio Valley. WVU Parkersburg's educational imprint on the lives of individuals is evident in the region, the state, the nation, and internationally.
Marie Foster Gnage, Ph.D.