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West Virginia Day program explores WVU history

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Martin Hall is on the left and the Woodburn Female Seminary is to the right. Martin Hall was the first building constructed for the University. The former seminary building served as a dormitory and burnt down in 1873. Woodburn Hall was built soon afterwards on the site.

Photograph from the West Virginia & Regional History Center, WVU Libraries

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Much has occurred since that first day of class in the fall of 1867 when West Virginia University consisted of just two buildings, six faculty members, six college-level students, and 118 young men preparing to attend college.

WVU Libraries and the West Virginia & Regional History Center will provide a crash course in history to celebrate the University’s sesquicentennial as part of this year’s West Virginia Day program on June 20.

“As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of West Virginia University, it is essential for us to reflect on the early years of the institution to truly understand our land-grant mission and to appreciate the many significant milestones that have brought us this far,” WVRHC Director John Cuthbert said. 

Festivities begin at 9 a.m. with a continental breakfast reception in the Milano Reading Room in the Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library. Dr. Ron L. Lewis, professor emeritus in the WVU History Department, will speak at 10 a.m. Well known for his research in Appalachian and West Virginia history, Lewis is the author of Aspiring to Greatness: West Virginia University since World War II (WVU Press, 2013). 

Following the keynote, a new exhibit, “Flowing Outward and Beyond: West Virginia University” will open in the WVRHC’s Davis Family Galleries. A selection of documents and artifacts from the Center’s archives will illustrate the University’s founding and early years. WVRHC staff will distribute commemorative posters to all in attendance.

The program continues in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium. Stop by to get a slice of birthday cake and to meet the speaker. Also, Lewis will sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase.

For more information, contact WVRHC Director John Cuthbert or Assistant Director Lori Hostuttler at 304.293.3536.

-WVU-

mm/06/06/17

CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, communications coordinator for West Virginia University Libraries
304.293.0306; monte.maxwell@mail.wvu.edu

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