Founders Week - Celebrating 119 Years



            West Virginia State University has set aside the week of March 15 - 19, 2010 to celebrate the 119th anniversary of its founding. A series of events is planned throughout the week to recognize the achievements of faculty, staff and students.  The week also marks the 10th anniversary of the re-establishment of the land-grant programs area now known as the Gus R. Douglass Land-Grant Institute. 
                         Tues., March 16  - - Residence Hall Achievers Banquet
                          6 p.m
 - -
Goldston Cafeteria Sullivan Hall
                                    Students living in the campus residence halls will be
                                     recognized for their academic accomplishments.

                        Wed., March 17  - - Founders/Honors Convocation
11 a.m.  - - Davis Fine Arts Bldg Auditorium
Featured speaker: Bryce Casto, VP for Student Affairs 

Noon - - Birthday Party
                                    Della Brown Taylor Gallery, Davis Fine Arts Bldg.
Join President Carter in cutting the 119th birthday cake.
Take the opportunity to join the WVSU Tuskegee Airmen Chapter.

                                    2 p.m. - - Open House - - Curtis House
Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Gus R. Douglass Institute and tour
                                    the historic, newly remodeled, faciltiy, former homr of Austin W. Curtis.

                                    Thurs., March 18 - - Gus R. Douglass Institute 10th Anniversary
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. - - Erickson Alumni Center

                                    3 p.m.  Employee Service Awards - - University Union
                                    Members of faculty and staff will be honored for their
                                    years of service.

            West Virginia State University was founded on March 17, 1891 by an act of the West Virginia Legislature.  The state's measure followed the Federal Second Morrill Act of 1890.  The First Morrill Act of 1862, known as the Land-Grant College Act, was set up to establish institutions in each state to educate people in agriculture, home economics, the mechanical arts, and other professions that were practical at the time.
 The Second Morrill Act of 1890 was aimed at the former Confederate states. This act required each state to show that race was not a factor in admissions, or else to designate a separate land-grant institution for persons of color.  Since segregation was the law of the land, West Virginia followed suite by establishing the West Virginia Colored Institute (now West Virginia State University). 
Mr. J. Edwin Campbell, the first principal (president) of the West Virginia Colored Institute, gives the following account of its establishment: "An appropriation of $10,000 was made by the Legislature with which to purchase a farm of not more than fifty acres and to build a suitable building for such an institution. As the act provided that the institution should be located in Kanawha County it was first thought best to purchase the property known as "Shelton College," situated on the lofty hill overlooking the village of St. Albans. But the committee appointed, after investigation, reported adversely. It was then decided to erect at some suitable location a building. Finally, thirty acres of level bottom land were purchased from Mrs. Elijah Hurt, near "Farm," on the Great Kanawha River. This land is a part of the estate left by Samuel Cabell, deceased."
The Institute opened for an experimental term in May 1892 with 20 students enrolled.  The course of study was agriculture, horticulture, mechanical arts, and domestic science. The faculty consisted of three individuals including Mr. Campbell, the principal. Tuition was free.  Room and board cost $7 per month. 
From humble beginnings, West Virginia State University has attained national prominence as an institution of higher education.  Voluntary integration in 1954 created a distinctive “living laboratory of human relations” attracting a racially and culturally diverse student body, faculty, and staff.  A distinguished accreditation record testifies to WVSU’s concern for quality in its academic and co-curricular programs.  The University offers 76 program areas of study leading to a bachelor's or master's degree.


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