Former Governor Gaston Caperton has been named the first F. Duke Perry Professor of Leadership Studies. He will be on the WVU campus Wednesday, Nov. 4 for a roundtable discussion on leadership. President James Clements will moderate the discussion.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

“Gaston Caperton is a world-class businessman, public servant and educational innovator,” said Lisa DeFrank-Cole, director of the Leadership Studies Program. “We are pleased that he has agreed to serve as the first F. Duke Perry Professor of Leadership Studies. He represents a portrait of what one can accomplish in life through determination and a commitment to the principals of leadership. Our students, and the community, will benefit greatly from his insight and experience.”

Gaston Caperton, a former two-term governor of West Virginia, is the eighth president of the College Board, a not-for-profit membership association founded in 1900 that consists of 5,000 of the nation’s leading schools, colleges and universities. Among its best-known programs are the Advanced Placement Program and the SAT.

Caperton began his career as a businessman in West Virginia. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, he went to work for a small insurance agency in Charleston, W.Va. Under his leadership, the company grew into the tenth-largest privately owned insurance brokerage firm in the nation.

As the state’s 31st governor, Caperton brought West Virginia back from the brink of bankruptcy with more than $500 million in debts, and transformed it into a state that could boast of a $100 million surplus. Under his leadership, West Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 percent to a low of 6.2 percent. This was accomplished by creating more than 86,000 jobs. The sound financial management approach that he initiated led Financial World magazine to call West Virginia the most improved state in the nation.

Leaving the statehouse, Caperton spent the spring of 1997 teaching as a fellow at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University. He then taught at Columbia University, where he founded and managed the Institute on Education and Government.

Gaston Caperton has received numerous state and national awards and special recognition, including eight honorary doctoral degrees. He was chair of the Democratic Governors’ Association and served on the National Governors Association Executive Committee. He also served as chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, Southern Regional Education Board and the Southern Growth Policies Board.

In addition to his public lecture, Caperton will address students enrolled in the Leadership Studies Program in a private lecture that day.

The F. Duke Perry Professor of Leadership Studies was endowed by the Board of Directors of the WVU Foundation in 2007. The endowment honors former WVU Foundation President F. Duke Perry and benefits the Leadership Studies Program in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

Perry led the nonprofit WVU Foundation from 1999 to 2006. During that time, he provided leadership and direction that produced over $900 million in private and corporate gifts to support the mission of West Virginia University.

For more information about the event, please contact Lisa DeFrank-Cole at


CONTACT: Rebecca Herod, Eberly College of Arts & Sciences
304-293-7405 ext. 5251,