Tomblin, education leaders aim for improved higher education


Kasey Madden

Interim President Gary White (right) and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Corley Dennison (left), talk during West Virginia Higher Education Day Tuesday in Charleston.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin urged West Virginia college and university presidents to continue their efforts in adapting higher education for Higher Education Day at the Capitol.

Tomblin is familiar with the duties and responsibilities of those in higher education, as his wife serves as president of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.

Tomblin said according to recent studies, West Virginia is on track to create 30,000 new jobs every year through 2018. At least 60 percent of those jobs will require a form of higher education.

“Whether our students choose to pursue a two-year degree at one of our community and technical colleges or a four-year degree at a state college or university, it’s important that we all continue to stress the same message to our students,” Tomblin said. “It doesn’t matter which path they choose, as long as they choose one.”

Paul Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, said West Virginia set a new state record, awarding more than 13,300 bachelor’s degrees in 2014.

“At the end of the day, it’s those students out there that we provide the opportunities for in the workforce in building a stronger West Virginia for tomorrow,” Hill said.

Tomblin said the state government is working to provide students with the financial aid they need to succeed through tax free savings programs, needs-based programs and low interest loans.

“Together we’re committed to ensuring every student has the opportunity to succeed in West Virginia,” Tomblin said.

The PROMISE scholarship program provided $400 million for more than 35,000 West Virginia students to attend state colleges and universities.

“We are investing the“We are investing the future of our state right by providing students with quality higher education systems they deserve,” Tomblin said.

Marshall University Interim President Gary White represented the university for his first Higher Education Day at the Capitol.

“You don’t understand the magnitude of it until the whole higher education system is represented here in the Capitol,” White said. “It’s very impressive as to what we have to offer in West Virginia.”

White attended the event sporting a green and white bow tie and took his first selfie with West Virginia University’s President Gordon Gee.

Kasey Madden can be contacted at [email protected]