A long-time West Virginia University professor who has served as interim president of Potomac State College of West Virginia University since July 2003 has been named the schools new provost.

Kerry S. Odell has been tapped to lead Potomac State as it becomes a fully integrated division of WVU , rather than a regional campus, effective July 1, 2005. Under legislation passed in 2003, the two-year residential college will become a division of WVU on July 1 with a provost rather than a regional campus president.

Provost Gerald Lang called Odell avisionary leader who cares about the mission of Potomac State, one that provides educational programs that springboard students into careers as well as onto four-year, degree-granting institutions.

Lang added,Dr. Odell was highly recommended by the search committee and a popular choice of the community. He has demonstrated that he has the administrative ability to move the college forward in the years ahead.

Odells background in agricultural and environmental education is also a good match with Potomac States two college-owned working farms, Lang said.

Before becoming interim president at PSC , Odell served as an associate professor of agricultural and environmental education in WVU s Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences. The program stresses communication and leadership skills to prepare students for positions in teaching, extension, environmental technology, government, industry or entrepreneurship. His research focuses on leadership and education in agriculture and natural resource production.

He also served as the college’s associate dean for academic affairs and development from 1994-2000. Before that, he was an associate professor of agricultural education and assistant professor of agricultural education.

Odell has a doctorate from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and an associate’s degree from State University of New York at Alfred.

I am excited about the opportunity to continue to promote Potomac State College and to build upon the many improvements made to campus facilities, academic programs and student life activities over the past two years,Odell said.The energy and enthusiasm of the faculty, staff and students as well as the Colleges positive relationship with its alumni, area school districts and the community significantly influenced my desire to remain in Keyser. My wife Cathy and I look forward to becoming a permanent part of this community.

Potomac State, created in 1901, offers 50 two-year associate of arts programs, 9 career/technical programs, a bachelors degree in nursing through WVU and a bachelors degree through WVU s Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree program.

The student population at Potomac State is approximately 1,300.

The campus is located in the Eastern Panhandle, a recreation haven for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing and white-water rafting.