West Virginia State University is a historically black college, located just outside the greater Charleston area in Institute, West Virginia. Simply referred to as “State” by the locals, the University is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. It is also one of the original 1890 land-Grant colleges and the smallest land-grant institution in the country. West Virginia State has been brought up on a rich history stemming in 1891 when the school was established as the West Virginia Colored Institute under the second Morrill Act which provided for land-grant institutions for black students in the 17 states that had segregated schools. Booker T. Washington, a noted African American educator and statesman, was instrumental in having the institution located in the Kanawha Valley as he visited the campus often and even spoke at its first commencement ceremony.
When the school was renamed in 1915 as West Virginia Collegiate Institute it began to offer several college degrees. Until then it had provided students with the equivalent of a high school education, giving professional training and teacher preparation for the segregated public schools. In 1929, the institution was again renamed, as it became known as West Virginia State College. In 1954, following the Brown vs. Board of Education decision to desegregate public education, the college transformed from an all-black college with a primarily residential population to a predominantly commuter school with mostly white students. West Virginia State proceeded to lose its land grant status, the only land-grant institution to ever do so, due to desegregation of the school. However, under the leadership of President Hazo W. Carter, Jr., a 12-year quest was begun to restore the land-grant designation. Through a series of steps that included being recognized as an original 1890 land-grant institution and gaining recognition at the Federal level with a mission of teaching, research, and public service, the land-grant status was again attained. The land-grant institution of WVSU is named the Gus R. Douglass Land-Grant Institution. In 2004, West Virginia State College gained university status, becoming West Virginia State University and began to offer graduate degrees in Biotechnology and Media Studies.
The athletic teams at “State” are known as the Yellow Jackets and include such sports as football, basketball, baseball, track & field, volleyball, and golf. Their marching band saw resurgence under the direction of Chris Card and has always been known for its small size, yet huge sound. Jazz and vocal ensembles are also available at West Virginia State. The Concert Choir goes on tour every spring and have recently taken groups to Cleveland, Ohio, Virginia Beach, and St. Louis, Missouri.
The Wingate by Wyndham is around a 10 minute drive from the campus of West Virginia State and a free local shuttle for visits is available upon request. If you would like to know more about WVSU check out their website (www.wvstateu.edu) and if you have any questions, our front desk where any of our outstanding employees will be happy to assist you.