Clements: ‘lots to be proud of’
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 07:10
West Virginia University President James P. Clements delivered the annual State of the University Address Monday during the regularly scheduled faculty senate meeting.
In his address, Clements discussed the successes of the University in the past year and the momentum to continue to grow as a land-grant University in the future.
"We should never forget the honor that it is to serve at the flagship, land-grant, research institution University for West Virginia," he said. "We are the future of the state – there’s no question."
Clements reminded the Faculty Assembly of the significance of this year – the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, record-breaking private giving, research achievements, enrollment records consistent with the 2020 Strategic Plan for the Future, additions to WVU’s legacy of national and international scholars, continued recognition for Morgantown and WVU in national rankings and entrance into the Big 12 powerhouse academic and athletic conference.
"We’re here to transform lives – that’s what we do," he said. "I’m 100 percent convinced (our students) will make a real, long-lasting difference. Our students come here with big dreams."
In 2007, a report from the National Academies Committee report titled "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" called for increased efforts within universities’ STEM disciplines.
The report called for efforts to: improve K-12 science and math education, invest in science and engineering research, keep the "Best and Brightest" in Higher Education Research and promote innovation.
"At WVU, we heard their call," Clements said. "We put faculty innovation front and center in our strategic plan to enhance educational delivery and create a more vibrant research enterprise."
Clements discussed faculty additions to coincide with the "Mountains of Excellence" initiative, which aims for strategic investment in research areas where there is potential for growth and substantial return on the University’s investment.
Clements also noted the initiatives brought about from various colleges within the University and their efforts to improve health care not only in Morgantown but also across the state and throughout Appalachia.
"There are a lot of things to be proud of in regard to our outreach and our service to West Virginia," he said. "Our students don’t have to do this. They want to do it. They want to make a difference."
Clements said he believes the driving-force behind the positive changes throughout the state and University is the students at WVU.
"Step by step, project by project, we are impacting the world, and I think we’re doing a great job," he said.
Clements used the story of Cody White, a sophomore mechanical engineering and Russian studies student, to highlight the change WVU students are working to bring about in the world.
White has spent time in China, Kenya and Russia and has served as an English and math teacher in Moscow.
While his success story may be huge, White said it’s the smaller, lesser-known stories at WVU that have been his vehicle for success.
"WVU is a place where great stories are being written every day," White said. "There’s stories that, maybe you don’t hear about so often, that make all these stories possible. It’s the little stories, yes they may not be as grand, but they are what makes everything here at WVU possible."
Clements said he is excited for the future of the University, as it rides on the success of WVU’s students.
"Many of you have heard the famous words Mahatma Gandhi said about making a difference: ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world,’" Clements said. "It’s evident, our WVU students want to be that change – and with the knowledge and mentoring that you, our faculty and staff, are giving them – they are becoming the change."