Longtime West Virginia University faculty member Royce J. Watts has been inducted into the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame.
The Coal Hall of Fame was established in 1998 by the West Virginia Coal Mining Institute, West Virginia Coal Association and Central Appalachian Section of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the coal industry in the state.
Watts has been a member of the WVU faculty for more than 50 years. He was born in the coal mining community of Cassity in Randolph County. His father died in a coal mining accident in Boone County in 1942.
After graduating from high school, Watts served in the U.S. Army for several years, both in World War II and the Korean War. During his Army service, he received numerous awards and decorations, including the Silver Star. After leaving active duty, he served in the Army Reserve for many years, retiring as a full colonel in 1989.
Watts earned both his bachelors and masters degrees from WVU and joined the faculty as an instructor of accounting and economics in 1955. He continues to teach while also serving as associate dean for administration of WVU s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
Watts has received many awards for his service to WVU , the Mineral Resources Alumni Chapter of WVU and the West Virginia coal industry. In 1997, he was recognized as a Distinguished West Virginian by then-Gov. Cecil Underwood for his contributions to the continuing education of mining professionals.
Watts has long been involved in the Mining, Petroleum and Natural Gas Museum at WVU . In 2005, the West Virginia Coal Mining Institute endowed the museum and renamed it the Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum to honor the couples contributions to WVU and the states mining heritage.
In 2007, Watts received the Erskin Ramsey Gold Medal by the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers. In the same year, he received the Most Loyal Faculty Mountaineer during WVU s Homecoming celebrations.
Watts is married to the former Caroline I. Baker of St. George, W.Va. She also earned bachelors and masters degrees from WVU , and is a retired high school teacher who taught in Monongalia County schools. The couple has one son, Royce J. II (R.J.), a graduate of WVU and of the Emory University School of Law.