WVSU Extends Condolences to Family of Former Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363
March 19, 2015
WVSU Extends Condolences to the Family of Former Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass
INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- West Virginia State University (WVSU) is saddened to learn of the passing of former West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass, who served 11 four-year terms in the role, making him the longest-serving agriculture commissioner in the nation’s history.

During his tenure as Agriculture Commissioner, Douglass was a tireless supporter of WVSU, including championing the re-establishment of State as an 1890 Land-Grant Institution in 1999 and advocating for university status in 2002 through 2004. In addition, he supported the expansion of WVSU’s agricultural research initiatives, such as the procurement of an anaerobic digester facility on campus in 1998 and the provision of funds to construct a biotechnology research facility.

“It is a sad day at WVSU as we learn of the passing of Commissioner Douglass,” said Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, WVSU’s Vice President for Research and Public Service. “Our thriving portfolio of agricultural research, outreach and educational initiatives are forever indebted to his tireless support of State’s land-grant mission.”

In 2006, to honor Douglass’ ongoing support of State's land-grant mission, WVSU renamed its land-grant administrative unit the Gus R. Douglass Land-Grant Institute, which currently encompasses WVSU Extension Service, the Agricultural Environmental Research Station and the Center for the Advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

WVSU’s Drain-Jordan Library is home to the Agriculture Collection of Gus R. Douglass, a collection of historical materials related to the study of agriculture in West Virginia.

“Commissioner Douglass’ work made a significant and lasting impact here at State and throughout West Virginia,” WVSU President Brian O. Hemphill said. “On behalf of the University, my wife, Marisela, and I extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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