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Message from the President

Welcome to West Virginia State University (WVSU)! At WVSU we are committed to access and providing a quality student-centered education that fosters our students’ holistic development in the classroom and beyond. WVSU exemplifies the transformative power of education. We believe students learn best in an environment that challenges, supports and prepares them to become the problem solvers, innovators, leaders, and social justice advocates our nation needs.

At WVSU, students and parents will find nationally ranked academic programs taught by exceptional faculty who are leaders in their respective fields of study. Our 123 acre campus gives our students a spacious and beautiful safe environment to study, live and start their journey. Students attend WVSU from across West Virginia, 25 states, to include the District of Columbia, and 19 countries.
By leveraging our strengths, we have repositioned WVSU to play an integral role in the economic development and higher education needs of the Kanawha Valley, the state and the region. We have a strong rich storied history in lifting our community, and excelling in academics and sports, and we look to the future with great confidence.

Whether you are a first-time visitor, a potential student exploring the unique opportunities only STATE can provide, a current student or alum seeking to learn more and connect, know I appreciate your interest and welcome any feedback or ideas you would like to share with me and my senior cabinet. Thank you for visiting us online and I look forward to seeing you around campus.

Anthony L. Jenkins signature
Anthony L. Jenkins
Twitter icon@JenkinsWVSU11
Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D., is the 11th President of West Virginia State University, joining the university on July 1, 2016. As president, he has engaged the university community in a visionary plan to advance WVSU to becoming a premier regional research university recognized nationally for its innovative teaching, quality education and experiential learning.   
Under President Jenkins’ leadership, enrollment growth at the University has occurred at both the undergraduate, graduate and online levels. President Jenkins fostered growth in these areas through the development of the University’s first comprehensive enrollment management plan, WVSU Loyalty Program and the “Straight 2 STATE” program. Both programs are the first of their kind in the state of West Virginia and promote partnerships with state high schools and community and technical colleges. He also created the Yellow Jacket Bridget to Success Program and the Celebration Registration initiatives resulting in the University’s highest retention rate in five years.  
President Jenkins’ commitment to research has expanded the research portfolio of WVSU, which has resulted in millions annually in federal and state grant funding. In addition, the University completed a $9 million dollar renovation creating its first Integrated Research Building, and over $700,000 in structural and technological upgrades to the University Library and Student Union.  
President Jenkins’ commitment to global partnerships has resulted in formal MOU agreements with institutions of higher education in a number of countries, including the People’s Republic of China, Africa, and Mexico. These agreements have opened the door to foster experiential learning, student/faculty exchanges as well as other teaching and research collaborations. The partnerships have provided WVSU students with opportunities for international experience while also enhancing the diversity of our campus community.
President Jenkins’ work to increase the national visibility and brand of WVSU, has garnered unprecedented national recognition among small colleges and universities as the 3rd ranked Biology Program, 3rd ranked Business Program, 4th Most Affordable Online Criminal Justice Program, 9th Most Affordable University in the nation, 11th Most Innovative Small University in the nation, 12th Most Affordable Social Work Program in the nation, 15th Best Online Bachelor of Arts Technical Writing Program in the nation, and ranked the 2nd Best Public College or University in West Virginia (these are the highest rankings in the history of the University).
President Jenkins, underscores the primacy of WVSU academic programs, and in collaboration with the provost and academic leadership, he has championed the development of reforming academic offerings and an academic curriculum for the 21st century. Under President Jenkins the university underwent its first major curriculum reform and course redesign, which lead to establishing math pathways that increased student success and decreased time-to-degree completion. Additional collaboration with the faculty resulted in developing seven new fully online programs, three new face-to-face master’s programs, and the university’s first engineering and nursing programs.
Born in Washington D.C., and raised between our nation’s capital and North Carolina, President Jenkins is a vocal proponent for education and public policy issues. He has fostered meaningful dialogue within the national higher education community. His research, speeches and publications focus on crisis management, enrollment and retention, diversity, African-American male initiatives, first-generation college student success, state funding for higher education, mentoring and high-risk college campus behavior such as alcohol consumption and sexual misconduct. Throughout his career, he has enhanced the quality of the university experience for students, developed and successfully implemented comprehensive retention and enrollment plans leading to greater access, opportunity and higher graduation rates; thereby enabling more individuals to improve their quality of life by earning a college education.
President Jenkins began his path to West Virginia State University as a United States Army veteran and first-generation college graduate of Fayetteville State University. He earned a master’s of science from North Carolina Central University and a doctorate from Virginia Tech University.
Prior to leading the WVSU family, President Jenkins served as Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Senior Associate Vice President for the University of Central Florida – the nation’s second largest university; Virginia Tech’s Housing and Residence Life Office and later the Office of the Dean of Students; Assistant Dean of Students at Northeastern Illinois University; Associate Dean of Students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington; and the Dean of Students at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
President Jenkins faithfully represents West Virginia State University on the national, state and regional level through his active engagement in the following organizations: the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), Council of 1890 Presidents and Chancellors, and the 1890 Universities Executive Committee; the National HBCU Leadership Caucus; the NCAA DII President’s Council; Board of Directors for the Charleston West Virginia Regional Chamber of Commerce; Board Member for the West Virginia Business Roundtable, Inc; Member of the Rotary Club of Charleston, West Virginia; the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA); the American College Personnel Association (ACPA); the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP); the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU); and the Association of Student Conduct Administration (ASCA).
President Jenkins has been inducted into several of the most prestigious academic honor, business and leadership societies in the nation: Alpha Kappa Psi; Phi Kappa Phi; Sigma Alpha Pi; Alpha Sigma Lambda; Omicron Delta Kappa; Alpha Phi Sigma; and Order of Omega.
President Jenkins is joined at West Virginia State University by his wife, Toinette Jenkins, and they have two daughters.



President Jenkins is assisted in the leadership of West Virginia State University by members of his Senior Cabinet, including: Dr. DeNeia Thomas, Chief of Staff; Dr. R. Charles Byers, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Ms. Patricia Schumann, Vice President for University Advancement, Communications and Marketing; Dr. Yvette Underdue Murph, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs; Ms.Kristi Williams, Interim Vice President for Business and Finance; and Mr. Nate Burton, Director for Intercollegiate Athletics; along with support from Ms. Crystal Walker, Executive Assistant to the President and Campus Events Coordinator; and Mrs. Amanda Fellure, Communications Liaison to the President.
Dr. DeNeia Thomas
Dr. DeNeia Thomas
Chief of Staff
Dr. R. Charles Byers
Dr. R. Charles Byers
Interim Provost & Vice President for
Academic Affairs

Dr. Yvette Underdue Murph
Vice President for Enrollment Management
& Student Affairs


Ms. Patricia Schumann
Vice President for University Advancement,
Communications & Marketing


Mr. Nate Burton
Director for Intercollegiate Athletics
Kristi Williams
Ms. Kristi  Williams
Interim Vice President for
Business & Finance

Ms. Crystal Walker
Executive Assistant to the President &
Campus Events Coordinator

Mrs. Amanda Fellure
Communications Liaison to the President

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowPublic Engagement and Service
The collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities is important for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in the context of partnership and reciprocity. 

President Jenkins is intentional in his efforts to enhance the profile of West Virginia State University through service, partnerships and collaboration. He proudly volunteers service on local and national boards and committees listed below, as a fulfillment of his civic responsibility to give back through shaping policy and outcomes for the advancement of our community and the greater good. 
  • The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU)
  • Chair elect, Council of 1890 Presidents and Chancellors
  • The APLU 1890 Universities Executive Committee
  • National HBCU Leadership Caucus
  • NCAA DII President’s Council
  • Board of Directors for the Charleston West Virginia Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Board Member for the West Virginia Business Roundtable, Inc.
  • Member of the Rotary Club of Charleston, West Virginia
In addition to his board service, President Jenkins also gives freely of his time to donate and support community organizations including:
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowMessages from the President
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowAdopting A Broader Vision: Strategic Plan
As the 11th President of West Virginia State University on July 1, 2016, during my inaugural State of the University address, I forged a new vision for  West Virginia State University to become a premier regional research university that is recognized nationally for its quality education, innovative teaching and experiential learning.

With this new vision and the collaboration of our university community of students, faculty, staff and alumni, together we will achieve this vision as we build the future through new ideas and initiatives in the classroom, and the overall student experience. This coming year presents opportunities and challenges to build on the strong foundation through the culmination of the Vision 2020: State's Raodmap for the Future (2012-2020) plan

Vision 2020: State's Raodmap for the Future, plan detailed in the links below guides the collective efforts in achieving the key areas and overall success. Through the plan energies were committed to four broad principles that define the University’s areas of strength, and sixty-two initiatives created by students, faculty, staff and alumni in areas that fit squarely within the core mission and vision. 

To demonstrate the institution’s progress in achieving the goals and objectives outlined herein, a series of reports were produced. These reports provided status updates regarding where we were, how far we have come and what is needed for the future. It is upon this foundation that serves as our spring board for the development and implementation of the 2020-2025 plan. 

The Yellow Jacket Nation is poised and ready to address key initiatives that will move the University forward demonstrating our competetiveness, relevance and sustainability for today, tomorrow and into the future. It Starts at STATE. GO STATE!


Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D.
President, West Virginia State University

Read the Vision 2020 Plan
Download Vision 2020 as a PDF
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowHistory and Past Presidents

Brief Historical Sketch of West Virginia State University

West Virginia State University was founded under the provisions of the Second Morrill Act of 1890 to provide education to black citizens in agriculture and the mechanical arts.  Like many other states at that time, West Virginia maintained a segregated education system.  On March 17, 1891, the Legislature passed a bill creating the West Virginia Colored Institute to be located in the Kanawha Valley. Federal funds provided $3,000 for faculty salaries and the West Virginia Legislature appropriated $10,000 to purchase land and to construct a building.  We now celebrate March 17 each year as the official “Founders Day” of West Virginia State University.
In 1915, the West Virginia Collegiate Institute began offering college degrees, academic programs were expanded and new buildings were constructed. In 1927, the Institute received accreditation from the North Central Association and in 1929 it became West Virginia State College.
After the 1954 United States Supreme Court historic decision outlawing school segregation, the Institution welcomed integration and met the unprecedented challenges of enrollment that quadrupled and transformed the institution into a racially and culturally diverse college. At that time, land-grant status was lost due to a decision of the West Virginia Board of Education. The College regained land-grant status in 2001, by an act of Congress and leveraged the accompanying federal funding to strengthen its mission of teaching, research and service to the community.
The first graduate degree programs were established in fall 2003 and with the passage of Senate Bill 448 during the 2004 legislative session, the Institution became West Virginia State University.
The University is a distinctive “living laboratory of human relations,” attracting students of all races, creeds, and backgrounds. In 2011-2012, WVSU's student population was 61 percent White, 12.5 percent Black, 1 percent Asian, 1 percent Hispanic, 0.5 percent American Indian and 24 percent of students who preferred not to identify race.Those who work and learn at WVSU do so in an environment that more accurately reflects the diversity of America than any other college or university in West Virginia.
As a 21st Century, master’s-level university, WVSU has attained national prominence as a historically black institution (HBCU) of higher education that is filling a need for higher education for students who want to obtain the knowledge and leadership capabilities to compete in a global marketplace.
The University has a fully accessible, multigenerational population of faculty, staff and students. Currently, WVSU has an enrollment of approximately 2,644 undergraduate and graduate students, served by approximately 200 full- and part-time faculty members, in 15 academic departments. Ninety percent of entering freshmen receive financial aid.
WVSU students have become judges, educators, mathematicians, chemists, nurses, pilots, activists, dentists, ministers, actors, athletes, lawyers, military generals, artists, musicians, NASA personnel, CEOs, biotechnologists, coaches, and one Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Past Presidents

West Virginia State University has only had 10 presidents in its history. The first three were technically called "principals".

The first administrators lived in Fleming Hall, a multipurpose facility, that was the first building constructed on the campus. It was James McHenry Jones who selected the dormitory, East Hall, as his residence. Five of the president's resided there raising their families and entertaining distinguished visitors to the campus.

Dr. Harold McNeil was the last president to live there. A new president's home was completed in 1990. East Hall was named to the Register of Historic Places and refurbished. The Planning and Advancement administrative area and the WVSU R & D Corp. are currently housed in the building.

James Edwin Campbell
1892 - 1894

The first president was James Edwin Campbell a poet, free-lance writer and mathematician from Pomeroy Ohio. At age 24, he was responsible for starting the new school. With experience in both administration and teaching, he also had a book of poems to his credit. The Campbell Conference Center is named for him.

John H. Hill
1894 - 1898

The second president (1894 - 1898) was John H. Hill, a lawyer, teacher, administrator and soldier, who oversaw the first commencement. He resigned to fight in the Spanish-American War and later returned as an instructor. Hill Hall is named for him.

James McHenry Jones
1898 - 1908

James McHenry Jones was the third president (1898 – 1909). He is responsible for adding a "normal" department. Mr. Jones is buried in the cemetery near the Rehabilitation Center on Barron Drive. Jones Hall is named for him.

Byrd Prillerman
1909 - 1919

Byrd Prillerman, a faculty member and one of those responsible for having the land-grant school located in the Kanawha Valley, was the fourth president. During his tenure, academic programs were expanded and the institution was given a new name “The West Virginia Collegiate Institute.” The former Prillerman Hall residence hall was named for him.

John W. Davis
1919 - 1953

John Warren Davis was the fifth president (1919 – 1953). He focused on recruiting the best Black faculty members he could find and developing the curriculum. He persuaded noted historian, Carter G. Woodson, to assist him as Academic Dean. During his tenure the school was first accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1927. The name became West Virginia State College in 1929. Davis is the longest-serving president. The Davis Fine Arts Building is named for him.

William J.L. Wallace
1953 - 1973

The sixth president was William James Lord Wallace (1953 – 1973). The greatest challenge of his presidency came following U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregated schools to be unconstitutional. Following that, the historically black West Virginia State College opened its doors to all students. Dr. Wallace not only met the challenge but set an example for the world to follow. The ease with which the College was integrated gave rise to the motto, “A Living Laboratory of Human Relations.” Wallace Hall is named for him.

Harold M. McNeill
1973 - 1981

Harold M. McNeill served as the seventh president of the University (1973 - 1981). During his tenure, the community college component was established; a building was erected for community college programs; and Ferrell Hall and the Drain-Jordan Library were renovated. The McNeill Physical Facilities Building is named for him.

Thomas W. Cole, Jr.
1982 - 1986

The eighth president was Thomas W. Cole, Jr. (1982 – 1986). During his administration Dr. Cole made several organizational changes in the institution creating new academic divisions and establishing a planning and advancement unit. Dr. Cole left West Virginia State in 1986 to become Chancellor of the West Virginia Board of Regents. The Cole Complex is named for him.

Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr.
1987 - 2012

Shortly after he became the ninth president in September 1987 Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr. began what would become a 12-year quest to regain the College’s land-grant status that had been transferred in the 1950s. Since "State" was the only institution to have the status removed, there was no precedent for recovering it. By the year 2000, West Virginia State was once again recognized on both the state and federal levels as an 1890 land-grant institution with accompanying funding to carry out its mission.

With the birthright land-grant status restored, the quest began for West Virginia State to be designated a university. West Virginia State University became a reality in 2004. These achievements, accompanied by two highly successful accreditations by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the addition of graduate programs highlight his administration.

2012 - 2016

The University's 10th president was Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. (2012 - 2016). He served with unwavering passion and inspired a campus-wide focus on excellence, accountability, and student-centeredness through rebranding, marketing and community engagement. During his tenure, the University implemented new academic programs, expanded international programs and partnerships, including an ESL program, and began the process of launching fully-online degree programs. Under his leadership, the Research Rookies Program for student researchers and the PEER program for research faculty were created and implemented. Dr. Hemphill led a $53.9 million campus facilities revitalization, which included the construction of three state-of-the-art facilities including the D. Stephen and Diane H. Walker Convocation Center, the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Hall, and the Gregory V.  Monroe Athletic Complex. Under his leadership, the University completed its first Capital Campaign surpassing the $18 million goal more than a year ahead of schedule and nearly doubling the University’s endowment. Dr. Hemphill left West Virginia State University in 2016 to become the seventh president of Radford University in Radford, Virginia.

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