Statement from WVU President James P. Clements on U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd becoming the longest serving member of Congress
WVU President James P. Clements congratulates Senator Robert C. Byrd on becoming the longest serving member of Congress:
To the people of the Mountain State, West Virginia University represents leadership, knowledge, innovation and pride. It attained that stature partly through the hard work, clear vision and incredible talents and service of Robert C. Byrd. As President of WVU, it is my honor to reflect upon the remarkable work of Senator Byrd and revere the progress he has made possible.
In 1953, when Senator Byrd first went to Washington to represent West Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives, WVU was a hard-working but small University in an Appalachian town serving its state and following its land-grant mission to help make people’s lives better. It is no coincidence that in the 56 years since, as Senator Byrd’s vision and ability to serve grew, so too did WVU in incredibly effective ways.
Today, WVU has a global impact cooperating with scientists in China in seeking new energy research breakthroughs; creating new fiber reinforced composites for use in new roads and bridges all over the world; and helping develop new biometrics innovations that help law enforcement across the globe make people’s lives safer and much more.
At WVU’s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, physicians are studying the implications of head injuries; pioneering brain surgeries and cancer treatments; reaching out to the state’s children to improve health conditions; and saving lives every day in hundreds of different specialties.
All of that work, all of that hope, all of that vision and all those lives touched would not have been possible without the vision, ability, work and focus of Robert C. Byrd. He is one of the core inspirations for WVU’s success, and it is with great pride and respect that we honor his milestone of service to West Virginia and to America.
Senator Byrd has cast more than 18,000 votes; held more leadership positions than any other senator; and never lost an election in all the times he stood before West Virginia citizens and asked for their support. To WVU and the thousands and thousands of men and women who have been educated here, worked here, sent their children here and felt the benefit of the University’s mission to serve and to heal, Senator Byrd is an icon of public service.
WVU not only marks this occasion because of the Senator’s service longevity, but we also celebrate a productive friendship and a partnership for helping people that we, as an institution, share with pride and gratitude with Robert C. Byrd the man.
Thank you, Senator Byrd.
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