No university in the country means more to its state than WVU means to West Virginia, WVU President James P. Clements said Wednesday (Jan. 20).

And while WVU has remained focused on its service to the state, as a 21st century land-grant institution, Clements said it has also expanded its reach across the nation and the globe, becoming a leader in the rapidly evolving world of education, energy, health care, national security and diversity.

“We open the world to our students through our educational programs and we prepare them to thrive in a global marketplace,” Clements said at the 14th annual Capital Classic Luncheon in Charleston. “We perform research that helps our state attract business from around the world and creates jobs for our citizens.”

“WVU is West Virginia’s gift to the world,” he said.

The luncheon, sponsored by the WVU Alumni Association, is held annually in conjunction with the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic basketball games between the men’s and women’s teams from WVU and Marshall University.

The crowd of nearly 500 alumni, government leaders, parents and friends of WVU, welcomed Clements message of stability, growth, prominence and possibility.

“WVU educates the most students in West Virginia,” Clements said. “We offer health care to our state. We provide a 20-to-1 return on state investment, generating $4 billion for West Virginia annually. We perform research with international impact. We field an athletic program that has made the Flying WV recognizable around the world. It’s clear that no university means more to its state than WVU means to West Virginia.”

And Clements noted that WVU and its satellite campuses of West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery and Potomac State College in Keyser graduate more than 6,000 students a year, more than the rest of the state’s other four-year colleges and universities combined.

He also cited a recent Education Trust report that indicated WVU is a national leader in providing access for low-income and underrepresented minority students.

WVU was one of four institutions with the highest marks for overall performance on measures of equity and for their progress between 2004-2005 and 2007-2008.

The national report was issued the same day Gov. Joe Manchin called on West Virginia’s colleges and universities to do more to make higher education accessible.

WVU’s commitment to community involvement and outreach stretches beyond the state borders, he said, pointing to the University’s numerous financial and humanitarian efforts to help the residents of Haiti following the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated that country. He urged everyone to do what they can to get involved, and said students would be distributing ribbons at the game Wednesday evening to remind people of the need to serve.

Clements praised WVU students’ commitment to public service, saying they had contributed 72,000 volunteer hours in the past year, which would be valued at $1.3 million.

Clements also said the University, especially through its research, would be able to help Gov. Manchin obtain his vision of economic stability.

Manchin, a WVU grad, noted that “in this little state we’re doing well” and that “education has not been cut a penny,” because “we’ve prepared ourselves.”

Manchin, acknowledging he was wearing a “politically correct” blue, gold and green tie, recalled several times he’s addressed WVU athletes and each time he tells them, “you may not be from West Virginia, but by the time you leave here you will be.”

He also reminds them of the importance they have for West Virginians. “We don’t have that professional sports team, we’ve got you ? you mean everything to us,” Manchin said.

Clements then introduced a new video about the University, saying, “WVU’s reach is global, but our commitment as West Virginia’s 21st century land-grant university remains constant,” Clements said. “We will improve West Virginians’ lives. We will be West Virginia’s window to the world. We are – and always will be – West Virginia’s University.”

To view the video online go to:


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