Almost five years ago my family and I moved to Morgantown, West Virginia. At that time we didn’t really know anyone in the state. We quickly learned that West Virginia is filled with wonderful, hard-working, loyal, and dedicated people – and that West Virginia University is made up of great faculty, staff, administrators, and students. I am so thankful and honored that I had the chance to serve with so many outstanding people in the pursuit of the important land-grant mission at WVU.
Together, we built momentum for our University. We have broken numerous records including many in enrollment, fundraising, and research. We have been blessed to have alumni and friends who give so much to make a difference in the lives of others. The support through private giving has been overwhelming. Our hospital system has grown significantly with WVU health care providers saving lives as they reach out to every corner of the state. Our extension program expanded, and continues to be recognized as the go-to place in the local communities. Although there is much more to do in terms of salaries and benefits for the faculty and staff, we have made critical gains in funding more competitive salaries. We are in the midst of nearly $1 billion in construction projects that will provide an enhanced learning environment, better research labs, patient care, and improved housing for our students. These projects are building a better future for the generations that follow us.
We accepted an invitation into the Big 12 – one of the major power conferences in college athletics. This move was also about a realignment in academics and research with universities that share a common profile and mission with WVU. The benefits of this new partnership will continue to grow over time.
We tried our best to keep tuition low for our students – and we should be proud that our tuition is still several thousand dollars below our peer average both for in-state and out-of-state students. And, through strategic investments and the efforts of our faculty and staff, we have kept our academic quality high. In the past few years our students won numerous national awards, proving time and again that WVU can compete with anyone in the world. And, I am very proud of the fact that during my time at WVU we graduated 25,473 students. The amazing faculty and staff at WVU deserve all of the credit for this accomplishment.
When my family arrived at WVU we didn’t realize how much we would fall in love with the state and the university. Beth and I knew that it would be very difficult for any university to convince us to leave WVU. However, Clemson is a university that is very special to our family. Beth’s family lives near the university and her two brothers, and a sister-in-law, are graduates of Clemson.
I wasn’t looking to leave WVU. In fact, when I first was called I simply responded that I love WVU, the students, faculty and staff and the community. However, after much thought, reflection and prayer, Beth and I decided that this is an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.
West Virginia and WVU will always have a very special place in our hearts. Three of our children currently attend WVU and they love it. Our son is in his fourth year at WVU and will graduate soon. Our twin daughters recently graduated from Morgantown High School. They are now enjoying their first semester at WVU.
Our youngest daughter Grace, who has special needs, did well at North Elementary School and Suncrest Middle School. She has been surrounded by loving and kind friends. However, as she enters the next phase of her life we believe that having her extended family close to her is something that will be very important.
In addition, Beth and I developed many strong friendships that we will cherish forever. We are so thankful to the large number of people who have been incredibly kind to us and our children.
We are also thankful to the WVU Board of Governors. They are an outstanding group of individuals who truly care about all aspects of the university. Their advice and counsel have been instrumental in our success. We are also thankful for the support of the governor, our elected officials at the state and federal levels, the Higher Education Policy Commission, the senior leadership team at WVU, the WVU Foundation Board, the WVU Alumni Board, the WVU Hospital Boards, the WV United Health System Board, and the wonderful faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of WVU.
We are very proud of what we accomplished together.
We wish you all the very best in the future. May God Bless the entire Mountaineer Nation now and always!
Jim and Beth Clements
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