The month of April is a time for accolades and acknowledging accomplishments ahead of spring commencement on college campuses, thus was the focus of much of Friday’s, April 22, meeting of the West Virginia University’s Board of Governors.
“Preparing students to succeed is our primary purpose. The past month has shown in many different ways that we are giving our students the skills they need to change their lives and our world,” President Gordon Gee said during his report to the Board.
Gee praised three faculty members honored this week as Foundation Outstanding Teachers, and he highlighted this year’s five Foundation Scholars awarded the highest student academic scholarship the University awards.
Student Body President Amaya Jernigan, who is also finishing her term as the student representative to the BOG, led a presentation about Student Government Association efforts during the past year, including a successful initiative to highlight local small businesses to help them during the pandemic and increased work with the office of accessibility to support students to improve accessibility services on campus. SGA also worked with the University and state lawmakers to introduce legislation to support higher education mental health funding in West Virginia.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed mentioned the inaugural GradFest underway this week which will culminate with commencement ceremonies May 13-15, marking a transition from one chapter to the next for graduates – and for the University.
Reed noted next steps in Academic Transformation focused on undergraduate advising to better serve students and improve retention and graduation rates.
“We are close to completing changes that will ensure that every undergraduate student has access to centrally coordinated professional advising within the next two years,” Reed said.
She also updated leadership changes recently announced for the Keyser and Beckley Campuses, as well as the search for the founding dean of the new College of Applied Human Sciences on the Morgantown Campus.
WVU is also moving forward with a Modernization Program overhauling finance, human resources and student information systems. Current efforts are focused on redesigning the University’s budget model.
The Board approved the University’s request to issue up to $22 million in bonds to finance a dozen projects as part of its annual capital improvement program, including renovations to the B&E Building, E. Moore and Chitwood halls, lighting upgrades at the Canady Creative Arts Center’s Clay Theatre and a new roof at Davis Hall at WVU Potomac State College.
Additionally, WVU Athletics received approval to increase the budget for construction of the Coliseum Courtside Club from $3 million to $3.5 million to be paid for through available marketing rights funds. The Club, to completed by November, will be in the current strength and conditioning space which was vacated as part of a planned move to the Athletic Performance Center.
The University will also negotiate an extension of its current Athletics concessions contract with Sodexo from 2031 through June 30, 2036, as it develops a banquet-type facility at the Coliseum called the Concourse Club located at the Mountaineer gate area to host functions of up to 350 people. Upgrades are also planned to Milan Puskar Stadium.
The Board also approved several new academic offerings, including a Master of Public Health degree program within the School of Public Health and Master of Science in Engineering Management degree in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for June 24.
CONTACT: April Kaull
Executive Director of Communications University Relations
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