West Virginia State University Celebrates Historic Founders Day March 17

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363
March 10, 2016
West Virginia State University Celebrates Historic Founders Day March 17

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – As part of a year-long celebration of the 125th anniversary of its founding, West Virginia State University (WVSU) will hold a special Founders Day ceremony Thursday, March 17, beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Doris W. and General Walter F. Johnson arena in the D. Stephen and Diane H. Walker Convocation Center.

Authorized by the U.S. Congress as a land-grant institution under the Second Morrill Act of 1890, the West Virginia Legislature established the West Virginia Colored Institute, now WVSU, on March 17, 1891, to provide education to African-American citizens.

“This day is truly historic as the State family celebrates 125 years of service to the Kanawha Valley, state, region and nation,” said WVSU President Brian O. Hemphill. “We invite all Yellow Jackets past, present and future to join together at the place we love so dear, our beautiful campus, to mark this important milestone.”

The Founders Day ceremony will include a formal program highlighting the history of the University and its impact, as well as the debut of a new short film discussing the University’s history and impact on the state and nation.  The ceremony will also include a birthday cake and a luncheon and is free and open to the public.

Also on Thursday, March 17, there will be a book signing and reception beginning at 6 p.m. in the Davis Fine Arts Building for the newly released book, “A Place We Love So Dear, A Collection of Campus Drawings” by Dr. R. Charles Byers. The book features drawings and description of campus buildings by Byers, a former provost and vice president for academic affairs at WVSU.

Following the book signing at 7:30 p.m. in the F.S. Belcher Theater of the Davis Fine Arts Building the Charleston Chamber Orchestra at WVSU will perform a concert in honor of the 125th anniversary. The orchestra is comprised of students, faculty and community members. 

In addition to Thursday’s events, beginning on Wednesday, March 16, the campus wide Founders Day celebration will kick off with open houses of historic campus buildings, an exhibit on the University’s history of service in the Drain-Jordan Library and an art display in the Della Brown Taylor Hardman Art Gallery in the Davis Fine Arts Building. These events will continue through Friday, March 18.

Following Founders Day, the University will continue to celebrate its 125th anniversary with events throughout the remainder of the year including a celebration of 100 years of ROTC on April 22, and the University’s annual Homecoming celebration Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

For a complete listing of all 125th anniversary events and activities please visit, www.wvstateu.edu/125.

Follow West Virginia State University on Facebook and Twitter @WVStateU.
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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