West Virginia University at Parkersburg will welcome its first woman president as it begins its 15th year as a WVU regional campus.

WVU President David C. Hardesty announced today that Marie Foster Gnage, senior vice president for academic affairs at Raritan Valley (NJ) Community College, will become the sixth president of the Parkersburg campus.

Dr. Gnage’s appointment is effective July 1.

Marie was highly recommended by the search committee,said Hardesty.Her interview on campus revealed many strengths including a strong community college background and a breadth of experiences that will serve her well as she provides leadership to the campus. I look forward to working with her as we move the agenda for WVU -P forward during these challenging times.

The chair of WVU Parkersburg’s Board of Advisors echoed Hardesty’s comments.

Dr. Gnage’s experience and credentials are a perfect fit for WVU Parkersburg,said Joe Campbell, who also served as co-chair of the search and screening committee.I’m pleased that she will be leading the college, and I appreciate the input of all those who participated in the process.

In addition to serving as president of WVU Parkersburg, Gnage will also be a regional vice president of WVU .

I am so very pleased to be selected for this very important dual position,Gnage said.I look forward to working with all of the WVU -P stakeholders. I am excited about the opportunity to work with WVU administration to continue to strengthen WVU -P and position the college to grow and thrive despite economic impact and other challenges.

It will be my goal to ensure that WVU -P is recognized by all within the region served-households, community organizations, school districts, business and industry-as the College of choice for education and training.

Gnage has extensive community college and university experience as a faculty member and administrator. She has been at Raritan since 2001. Prior to that, she was assistant vice chancellor for educational services at Pima Community College for four years. From 1994-96, she was vice president for instruction at Central Florida Community College. She served as dean of academic affairs at Broward Community College from 1991-1994.

She has taught at Alcorn A&M University, Florida A&M University, the University of Southwestern Louisiana and Florida State University, among others.

She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Alcorn A&M College, her master’s in English from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and her doctorate in English from Florida State University. She has completed professional development programs through the League for Innovation and the American Council on Education.

Gnage’s appointment follows a four-month national search to fill the position vacated in 2003 when Erik Bitterbaum took a similar position at SUNY Cortland after three years at Parkersburg. Dr. Joseph L. Badgley, dean of academic affairs, has been serving as interim president.

WVU Parkersburg became a regional campus of WVU in 1989. Approximately 3,700 students attend the Parkersburg campus and its Jackson County Center. WVU Parkersburg is the only community college in West Virginia accredited to offer select bachelor’s degrees.