PARKERSBURG - Throughout the region and state, political leaders and organizations have taken the time to thank West Virginia University at Parkersburg for 50 years of service to the Mid-Ohio Valley.
During the past several months school systems throughout the region have been reading proclamations on the college's 50th anniversary, while West Virginia state and federal leaders have been praising the college for its dedication to higher education.
"Education is paramount to West Virginia's future," West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a letter to the college. "The knowledge and skills your students embrace will become their foundation for a successful career. I believe WVU-P will be on the forefront and continue to offer students an exceptional future built upon a solid education foundation."
On Feb. 14 Tomblin issued a state proclamation on the college's anniversary, and on Feb. 21 the governor issued a certificate of recognition.
The state Senate approved a joint resolution Feb. 17 recognizing WVU-P's anniversary. Among the sponsors of the resolution were Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, Sen. Karen Facemyer, R-Jackson, and Sen. David Nohe, R-Wood.
On Feb. 25 the state Legislature issued a citation recognizing the college's 50th anniversary. The citation was signed by delegates Dan Poling, Tom Azinger and John Ellem of the 10th District, Larry Border of the 9th District, Bill Anderson of the 8th District, Mitch Carmichael of the 12th District and Woody Ireland of the 7th District.
On March 3, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller entered a statement into the Congressional Record in celebration of the college's founding.
"For five decades now, West Virginia University at Parkersburg has provided affordable and accessible higher education opportunities to the citizens of the Mid-Ohio Valley and the state of West Virginia," he said. "Thousands of West Virginians have started or resumed their college educations at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. It truly is 'the community's college.'"
The college chose March 3 as a celebration date because on that date in 1961, the state Legislature passed legislation allowing the creation of branch colleges. The Parkersburg Branch of WVU opened six months later.
The Wood County Board of Education was one of several local school systems to issue proclamations on the college's anniversary. The board presented the proclamation at its Feb. 8 meeting.
Sue Woodward, assistant superintendent of school services, spoke in place of Superintendent Pat Law during the meeting, reading aloud the proclamation with college President Marie Foster Gnage and WVU-P Board of Governors Chairman Joe Campbell in attendance.
"Therefore, be it now resolved that we, members of the Wood County Board of Education on this eighth day of February 2011, do hereby recognize the 50-year celebration of West Virginia University at Parkersburg, and express our sincere appreciation to the administration and staff at West Virginia University at Parkersburg for providing a quality college education for the Mid-Ohio Valley and the communities served."
Senator Joe Manchin, who as governor of West Virginia was a fierce proponent of the community college, also gave his congratulations.
"West Virginia needs quality institutions like WVU-P to keep our state strong and competitive," he said in a statement to the newspaper. "Higher education is critical to shaping another generation of strong West Virginia leaders. We need our children to earn degrees, take on challenging professions, and work toward the betterment of our communities. WVU-P has been preparing our students for future success for the last 50 years, and I congratulate the school on a job well done."
All of the letters and proclamations can be read in their entirety at www.wvup.edu under the college's 50th Anniversary link.