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Letter to WVU community provides updates on University presidential search process

Dr. Patrice Harris, vice-chair of the WVU Board of Governors and chair of the Presidential Search Committee, said input and perspectives from members of the University community will be sought throughout the presidential search process. (WVU Video)

West Virginia University Board of Governors Vice-Chair and Presidential Search Committee Chair Dr. Patrice Harris sent the following letter to members of the University community Monday (June 24), providing an update on the presidential search process.

June 24, 2024

Dear West Virginia University Community,

The West Virginia University Board of Governors continues to advance the process of selecting our next president. It is my pleasure to share with you some actions the Board of Governors has taken in recent meetings, and to outline important next steps that anticipate your active participation.

In May, a selection committee consisting of Board of Governors’ members and WVU staff reviewed 11 proposals from executive search firms. After careful consideration, the committee chose WittKieffer to support our presidential search process. We are particularly impressed with the expertise and experience of the personnel, their understanding of West Virginia University and their plan of execution. We look forward to partnering with them throughout this process.

The Board of Governors deeply values the perspectives of our University community, and will provide multiple opportunities for you to share the experience, areas of expertise and qualities you feel are important in our University’s next leader. This input will be of vital importance as the Search Committee develops the expectations for the position, as well as the leadership profile that will attract top candidates to our beloved University.

In order to provide ample opportunity for your engagement, and as previously promised, the Search Committee will extend community listening sessions (both in-person and by Zoom) into the fall semester. This decision maximizes opportunities for faculty, staff and students to participate actively and to provide their valuable input. The remainder of the search timeline remains unchanged.

Listening sessions will begin in July, after an initial convening of the Search Committee. The listening session schedule will be released in the coming weeks, and I strongly encourage you to take full advantage of these opportunities to share your insights. In order to ensure all can participate, we will also distribute an online survey in late summer to gather additional feedback. We look forward to receiving your input.

At our June 21 meeting, the Board of Governors also endorsed the composition of the Presidential Search Committee. It is my privilege to chair this vital process and I am pleased to share the names of those who have agreed to serve on this committee. The representatives are:

     Board of Governors Representatives

          •      Patrice Harris, MD, WVU Board of Governors Vice-Chair
                  Chair, Ad Hoc Governance Committee

          •      Kevin Craig, WVU Board of Governors member
                  Chair, Finance Committee

          •      Charles Capito Jr., WVU Board of Governors member
                  Chair, Academic Committee

          •      Bray Cary, WVU Board of Governors member

     Faculty Representatives

          •      Jennifer Walker, PhD, Assistant Professor of Musicology, College of Creative Arts & Media

          •      Lauren Prinzo, Assistant Professor, WVU Extension, Community & Economic Development

          •      Maura McLaughlin, PhD, Chair and Eberly Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Eberly College of Arts & Sciences

     Staff Representative

          •      Joan Crabtree, Secretary/Treasurer, Classified Staff Council, Manager, Physical Plant II, Auxiliary Operations

     Student Representative

          •      Zachary Ellis, Biochemistry, Honors College, Class of 2025

     Dean Representative

          •       Joshua Hall, PhD, WVU Milan Puskar Dean of the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, Professor of Economics

     Athletic Representative

          •      Natasha Oakes, WVU Deputy Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator

     WVU Medicine Representative

          •       Ben Gerber, Chief Executive Officer of Peak Health, Chief Strategy Officer of WVU Medicine – WVU Health System

     WVU Foundation Representative

          •      William “Bill” Sheedy, Chair, WVU Foundation Board of Directors

     WVU Alumni Association Representative

          •      Marilyn McClure-Demers, Chair, WVU Alumni Association Board of Directors

     Divisional Campuses Representative

          •      T. Ramon Stuart, President, West Virginia University Institute of Technology

     At-large Members

          •      W. Marston “Marty” Becker, Former WVU Board of Governors member

          •       William D. Wilmoth, Steptoe & Johnson, Former WVU Board of Governors Chair (2019 – 2021)

          •      Louise T. Veselicky, DDS, Associate Vice President for HSC Academic Affairs, Professor of Periodontics, School of Dentistry

     Ex-Officio Members

          •      Sarah Armstrong Tucker, PhD, Chancellor, WV Higher Education Policy Commission

          •      Taunja Willis-Miller, WVU Board of Governors Chair (2023-2024)

          •      Richard A. Pill, WVU Board of Governors Chair (2024 to present)

I am grateful for the committees willingness to serve our University. I am confident in our ability and commitment to conduct a thoughtful, thorough process based on best practices.

As we head into the summer months, we look forward to hosting the listening sessions and encourage your participation. Please watch this video outlining the Committee’s pledge and our process, and follow WVUToday, MOUNTAINEER E-News, Unews and the Alumni Newsletter for updates on these sessions in the coming weeks. In addition, be sure to visit the Presidential Search website,, where you can find the timeline and additional information. And, if at any time you have concerns or questions, or wish to offer a confidential candidate nomination, please email our search consultants at

As the work progresses to select our next president, I again welcome you to be part of this history-making process. Your input and perspectives are valued and will be critical in the months ahead. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Together we are building the future of West Virginia University.


Dr. Patrice Harris
Vice-Chair, WVU Board of Governors
Chair, WVU Presidential Search Committee



Executive Director of Communications
University Relations

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