West Virginia University will host about 300 distinguished visitors this week when many of the Universitys visiting committees meet Friday (Sept. 12).
Every WVU college and school and many other units rely on friends and alumni of the University to give advice and assistance throughout the year. The combined Sept. 12 meeting gives these committee members a chance to meet one another at a noon luncheon during which WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. will speak. They also will attending their own respective meetings throughout the day.
For John Cuthbert, curator of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection, his 13-member visiting committee serves as his eyes and ears in the art world.
I have the perfect mix of people,Cuthbert said, citing art collectors, a former art publisher, relatives of renowned West Virginia artists, a president of an arts grants program and one of the most prominent living state historians.These people help me in all kinds of wayscertainly with fund raising, but beyond that. We have a limited staff here, and our committee functions almost like staff members out in the field.
For example, Dr. Cuthbert calls visiting committee member Jim Guihera resident of New York City, center of the nations art marketwhen he gets a lead on a West Virginia artist or artwork in that area.
This permits me to get work done in New York City without the effort of getting up there, which would be a great investment of time and money,Cuthbert said.
Within the state, Cuthbert relies on Hornor Davis of Charleston to check out leads in that region. Davis recently helped Cuthbert investigate two paintings. As it turned out, Davis knew the owner of the paintings and was able to find out more about the works without Cuthbert ever leaving Morgantown.
Building the West Virginia historical art collection and other WVU Libraries special collections with limited resources presents a constant challenge for Cuthbert, but relying on the diverse backgrounds and expertise of his committee members helps to prioritize acquisitions. While the visiting committee for the West Virginia historical art collection and special collections WVU Libraries meets formally just once a year, Cuthbert maintains close contact with them throughout the year, as often as weekly in some cases.
I can honestly say the program would not be what it is today without the assistance Ive received from these individuals,Cuthbert noted.
For the School of Nursings committee, fund raising and bridging the gap between academe and the outside world are key issues, said Christine Meredith, director of development. She said this year the committee is taking a new nameBoard of Advisorsand an expanded role.
Like nursing schools and public universities across the country, Meredith said the WVU School of Nursing is seeking ways to tap into private funding sources.
The School of Nursing has experienced a 40 percent enrollment increase in the past few years with only 2.5 more faculty. In addition, the school opened the states only doctor of science in nursing program last year.
Nursing is very labor intensive to teach. Classes have to be small in order to provide quality instruction,she said.We have to educate more students and maintain quality.
As a relatively new schoolstarted in 1960the School of Nursing has a unique challenge in raising funds, Meredith noted, because it has a very young and relatively small (about 3,500) alumni population. Therefore an active, well-connected Board of Advisors is vital to raise the money needed to continue providing superior training for nurses at WVU .
Among the board members are two alumna, Cheryl Richter, chair of the board, who works as a nurse anesthetist in Wilmington, Del., and Diana Mason, editor of the American Journal of Nursing, the largest circulated nursing journal in the world. Both are 1970 graduates of the School of Nursing and, along with other board members, are charged with raising awareness and helping to build private support for the school.
“The new Board format is both timely and exciting. It promises to provide unparalleled opportunities for external support of the school at a time of significantly greater student enrollments as well as increased faculty research productivity,commented Jane Martin, dean of the School of Nursing.I am very grateful to the board members for accepting these challenges to help move the school to new levels of accomplishment.”