West Virginia University is dedicated to serving the Mountain State and connecting it and the world beyond its borders, President James P. Clements told an overflow crowd Wednesday (Jan. 19) at the 15th annual Capital Classic Luncheon in Charleston.

“WVU opened its doors in 1867 with a land-grant mission to teach agriculture and engineering to a broad segment of our population,” Clements said. “Over time, our mandate has grown to encompass nearly every pursuit. Our tools have evolved into the most sophisticated technology. Our impact has radiated beyond our state, bringing West Virginia to the world and the world to West Virginia.”

The luncheon, sponsored by the WVU Alumni Association, is held in conjunction with the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic men’s and women’s basketball games between WVU and Marshall University.

“We are the hub of a vast and vibrant network of service, education, change, innovation and dedication,” Clements said. “The University, the state and the nation engage interactively to improve, save and transform lives ? beyond borders and boundaries and limits. Together, we represent the newest evolution of the land-grant mandate – a cooperative community of partnerships: land-grant 2.0.”

Clements’ speech focused on WVU’s strategic framework for the future, of which the “foundation” is to “enhance the well-being – and quality of life – for the people of West Virginia.”

“This is the roadmap for WVU’s future. And, to put it simply, our future is you,” he said. “We are committed to partnering with you – government, communities, businesses, K-12 and other colleges and universities – to create what we all want for West Virginia: a vibrant economy, healthy people and prosperity for our children.”

He shared the other goals of the strategic framework, which include excelling in academics, in research, fostering diversity and advancing global engagement. A summary of the goals can be found online at http://strategicplan.wvu.edu/draft_plan .

To help reach those goals, Clements outlined three ambitious University priorities, including the establishment of a School of Public Health at WVU (Here is announcement from Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center).

“By training the next generation of public health professionals and conducting high quality population health research, our school will help us elevate West Virginia from the bottom of our country’s public health rankings,” he said. “More importantly, it will help us confront the preventable health threats that are increasing our health care costs, driving away private sector investment and shortening our lives.”

Clements explained efforts to focus on economic development and jobs in the state.

“As the flagship University in this state, we must excel in research areas that spark innovation, commercialization and jobs,” he said. “And we must continue to offer support and expertise of our scientists, engineers and policy specialists to further our state’s rapidly developing biomedical sciences industry as well as leverage our many energy opportunities, such as the Marcellus Shale.”

He also shared WVU’s commitment to partner with state educators to improve K-12 science and math education, and ultimately increase interest and opportunities in these vital fields.

“We want all our children to have opportunities to succeed,” he said.

Clements’ talk followed a video presentation that featured a few WVU programs that help improve the state and world.

The video highlighted: the University’s innovative biometrics research initiative, which contributes to the economic vitality of the state; the Benedum Collaborative and Noyce initiative, teacher preparation programs that partner area teachers with students and faculty at WVU, especially in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines; Health Sciences and Technology Academy, a partnership between WVU and communities in the state that gives minority and underrepresented students the tools they need for college and careers; Statewide Business Plan Competition, a program that provides young entrepreneurs with the resources to begin their own businesses; and WVU’s Clinical Law Program, which brings students to communities around the state to help obtain justice at no cost.

“All of us who serve the University – and the state – are West Virginia,” he said.


CONTACT: University Relations/News

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.