President Gilbert plans to capitalize on South Charleston Campus


Rick Haye | University Communications

President Jerry Gilbert (middle) speaks to Carolyn Haden (far left) and David Haden (far right) Monday at The Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing.

Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert urged members of the university’s South Charleston campus to help advance Marshall’s standing in the global economy Monday at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing.

Gilbert said Marshall has a role to play in the region and in the country in terms of producing graduates and educational programs that will make a difference in the world.

“Whether we realize it or not, we’re all citizens of the world and not just citizens of West Virginia,” Gilbert said. “A lot of people don’t realize it, but we’re competing globally. It’s leaders that will come from universities like Marshall that will help us transform the world and that’s what I’m excited about.”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have predicted that the world population will increase to about 9 billion people by the year 2050.

Gilbert said Marshall has the capability to prepare its graduates to compete in the global economy and work to solve the challenges of the century.

“I believe that it’s institutions like Marshall who will produce the leaders that will go on and solve these very complex problems, so that we will have a soft landing when we get to 2050 and not a hard landing, in terms of dealing with the population explosion,” Gilbert said.

Member of the Marshall University Board of Governors David Haden said he hopes the Marshall community will rise up to the challenge of engaging in Gilbert’s efforts to make Marshall a more competitive university in the national and global field.

“It’s something we have to do,” Haden said. “We have to be more relevant, because we are. We’ve got to tell our story. And that’s something that we haven’t done a very good job of.”

Second-year healthcare administration graduate student Christabel Cobbina said she believes Marshall is already on the right track for earning national and international accreditation for its programs, which aim to produce graduates who can effectively solve the world’s future crises.

“If we keep promoting our values at Marshall University, it will attract more students and more talent,” Cobbina said. “The work that we’re doing now, the skills that we’re developing at Marshall, help us to go out in the world and further show off what we learned.”

Director of South Charleston campus facilities Joyce Harrah said not only is it important to send Marshall graduates out into the global economy, but it is also important for those graduates to return and contribute to the education of future Marshall students.

“We are in the running to keep students here so that they can graduate and hopefully come back for a masters or a doctorate to become a better contribution to society and give back to the university,” Harrah said.

Gilbert said he wants to grow the university as a whole, including the South Charleston campus.

Gilbert said as of now, Marshall plans to make more science-based programs available in Fall 2016 for students at the South Charleston campus to serve the needs of the Charleston area.

Rebecca Turnbull can be contacted at [email protected]