West Virginia University President David C. Hardesty Jr. said his election to CONSOL Energy Inc.s board of directors, announced today (Oct. 18), will benefit the Universitys energy initiatives and governance practices.

Hardesty said he is pleased to accept the appointment, which was approved by the WVU Board of Governors at its Sept. 30 meeting.

He said the coal industry, with the help of academia, is undergoing a rebirth as the country grapples with rising energy costs rooted in its dependence on foreign oil.

The nation has a renewed interest in coal as an energy source and a specific interest in coal conversion, clean-coal technologies and a method of producing methane by extracting it from coal bed seams,Hardesty said.This appointment is a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of this growth industry and the ways the University can play a role.

Hardesty also said serving on the board of a major company will give him insight into some governance practices that might be helpful to the University, especially since more nonprofit organizations are applying the financial and accounting disclosure principles of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Serving on a board of a corporation that is heavily regulated according to Sarbanes-Oxley, I hope to learn how these principles might be applied to not-for-profit organizations,Hardesty said.Our University has accepted Sarbanes-Oxley principles in the management of its board, and the experience gained from sitting on this board will help us to stay on top of changes in this area.

Hardesty became president of WVU in 1995. He also serves as the chairman of WVU Research Corp., WVU Hospitals Inc. and United Health Systems Inc. The combined budget for these entities is about $1.6 billion.

He also teaches at the WVU College of Law and practiced law prior to joining WVU .