Governor Presents $2 Million to Concord at “Unveiling Ceremony” Today
Athens, W.Va. - Governor Bob Wise was the featured speaker at the Concord University “Unveiling Ceremony” held on the front lawn of the campus.
Concord University President Jerry Beasley welcomed more than 200 students, faculty, staff and guests to a ceremony commemorating the newest milestone in the institution’s history—the name of Concord University.
“What we are doing is celebrating what those before us foresaw and planned for,” stated President Beasley. “This is a happy day, a very happy day but there are sobering challenges before us.”
“These are interesting and exciting times,” stated Margaret Sayre, chair for the institution’s Board of Governors. “Now is the operative word. It is now time for a new name and a new image and a new beginning. We want to set unnecessary fears aside and recognize our potential for creating a university.”
Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid, Michael Curry, provided an inspiring meditation. “Life is not quite as linear as conventional wisdom may suggest. Life is not like a long line of standing dominos; each in turn awaiting it’s toppling, then forgotten and irrelevant to the moment yet to be. No, life is more akin to the relay race, with the baton passing from one leg to the next. But far from forgotten irrelevancy, each runner, having completed his or her leg, remains transfixed upon and deeply invested in those who follow. For the later runners efforts definitely carry profound effects upon those who went before.”
Next, the Concord University Brass Quintet under the direction of Dr. Andrew Necessary performed “Campus Beautiful” and the “Alma Mater” with Sherman Brown performing the first song and leading the next.
President Jerry Beasley and Board Chair Margaret Sayre then unveiled the institution’s new sign.
President Beasley introduced Governor Bob Wise by saying, “He believed an investment in students and their future was of paramount importance not only to them but to the State of West Virginia. At no time in our history have we had a more significant investment in the young people of our state through scholarships than we have had during the last three years. We have a variety of achievements to celebrate, particularly in the improvement of the public schools. We can thank our legislature; we can thank Governor Wise. We have had the greatest increase in ACT scores in this state’s history and one of the most significant increases in the country, partially attributable to the PROMISE Scholarship but partially attributable to the redirection of our public school systems. We lead the South in our ability to retain high school students to graduation. Governor Wise’s message has been a simple but powerful one to the young people of this state. ‘Work hard, play by the rules and rise to the expectations that your parents, teachers and others have set for you.’”
“This is my first time on the campus of Concord University,” stated Governor Wise. “Concord is about making investments in our young people and in our state. Investments are critical. We read in the book of Proverbs that those who have no vision are doomed to perish. We also read in second Corinthians that those who sow sparingly shall reap sparingly; those who sow bountifully shall reap bountifully. And that’s what we are about today, what we sow or invest means we will also reap in kind.”
Regarding the PROMISE Scholarships, he noted that, “Our young people continue to excel beyond what we projected. We thought there would be 3,600 students a year that might qualify. This year, even after the standards were raised to a higher level, we had over 4,000 students who qualified for the PROMISE Scholarship. Right now, there are almost 10,000 PROMISE Scholars sitting in our classrooms as school starts. It is about keeping our young people at home and giving them opportunities that we want them to have. We know that 75 percent of our young people who go to school in West Virginia will stay in West Virginia. They are the seeds of our growth. The PROMISE Scholarship is keeping many of them at home. Also, the number of students attending schools out-of-state has declined. We face record enrollments at our colleges and universities.
“In three years, we have increased the amount of financial aid through PROMISE Scholarships and grants from roughly $15 million to almost $60 million. It is the best investment that we can make. Economic development is critical and the legislature is vitally important to this process.
“As a result of the legislature’s efforts, we are here today to allocate $215 million for economic development. It has leveraged a half-billion in additional investment from the private sector and the federal government.
“This is the single largest job creation package in our state’s history and it is going on this summer right here.”
Governor Wise then presented a check for the sum of $2 million from the Economic Development Grant Commission to President Beasley for a regional technology center. He also unveiled a new road sign that says “Concord University.”
The Brass Quintet played the University’s fight song and Dr. Beasley invited guests to attend a special luncheon in the valley.
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