Commencement is a time for reflection and also a time of new beginnings. As West Virginia University Institute of Technology prepares for its 107th commencement Saturday (May 6), plans are under way to strengthen the Montgomery school as it transitions to a division of WVU .


A critical step for Tech’s future will be a $10 million capital improvement plan that calls for upgrades to the Tech Center , and Maclin and Ratliff residence halls. This plan will be implemented with help from an $1.8 million increase in state funding.


“These facility improvements are essential for Tech and we are extremely appreciative that Gov. Manchin and the West Virginia Legislature have provided much needed support to begin these projects,”said WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr.


WVU Tech President Charles Bayless added,”We really look forward to these capital projects as they will make us a much stronger school. The residence halls are so key for our future in attracting and retaining students, on top of providing for the health, safety and contentment of our students. This is the first step of many things we will do in the next few years as we strengthen our ties with WVU .”


President of the Community and Technical College at WVU Tech, Jo Harris, added,”The investment in residence halls on our campus will complement the quality education programs and provide a wonderful environment in which our students can live and learn. With the unique technical programs offered by the CTC at WVU Tech, students are attracted to the College from across the state and region.”


In addition to the capital improvement program, plans are in the works for Tech to be directly linked toWVU’s Office of Information Technology, freeing up other operations at Tech.


WVU ’s study abroad programs may soon be offered at Tech, along with online minors in advertising, public relations, entrepreneurship, and writing and editing. And, an already established tie between engineering and nursing programs at the two schools will strengthen.


“Our relationship is strong,”Hardesty said of the two schools,”and our collaboration will grow even stronger with time.”


That’s the underlying message Hardesty is taking with him to Montgomery this weekend when he delivers the commencement address to some 300 Tech graduates. The outdoor ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. at Martin Field. In the event of rain, the proceedings will be moved indoors to the Baisi Athletic Center .


No matter the weather, the WVU president is predicting sunny days ahead for Tech.


“WVU is committed to doing its part,”he said, �€?and I believe the changes that begin with these much-needed facility improvements on the Montgomery campus will lead to a resurgence of the WVU Institute of Technology and the Community and Technology College at Tech,�€? Hardesty said.


“We have had great interest and support from Tech alumni and the outcomes of our work over the next year will add value to the degrees that students will earn, as well as instill a sense of pride in about their alma mater,”he added.


John Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and West Virginia native who inspired the book and movie,”A Beautiful Mind,”will be on hand receive an honorary doctorate from WVU Tech. Others receiving honorary degrees are:


  • Architect Henry Elden, who designed Tech’s glass-fronted Vining Library and Toporock, his landmark home in Charleston

  • Ronald Alexander, a Tech alum who would go on to chair its history department while writing a book about the history of the school.