West Virginia State: Repurposed + Repowered

West Virginia State University was founded on March 17, 1891 with the aid of Hampton University alumnus and Tuskegee University founder Booker T. Washington under the provisions of the Second Morrill Act of 1890 as the West Virginia Colored Institute. Hazo Carter, Jr. In an ironic twist of fate, the 1954 Brown v. Board decision led to West Virginia State’s “rapid transition from a black college to an integrated institution serving a predominantly white, commuting, and older student population” (Thorn, West Virginia State College). In 2009, WVSU’s student body was 16% black and 1% Hispanic. Led by Tennessee State University alumnus President Hazo W. Carter, Jr., West Virginia State  had its land-grant status fully restored in 2001, received university status, and has been approved to begin offering graduate courses. Driven by its charge, “Experience the Power of Education,” WVSU “still emphasizes the diversity of its people and derives important values and elements of its mission from its tradition as a historically black college” (Thorn). WVSU is also the alma mater of actor and theatrical director Lou Myers best known as “Mr. Vernon Gaines” in the beloved sitcom A Different World, and of Earl Lloyd, the first African American to play in the National Basketball Association.

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A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D. is a graduate of the historic Fisk University ’03. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in history from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Tennessee State University, ’14, where she formerly taught in the department of history, geography and political science. A professional historian and passionate HBCU advocate, she is editor-in-chief of the forthcoming The Journal of HBCU Research + Culture. She is also a regular contributor to HBCU Digest, is a co-host of Black Docs radio show, and offers a wide-range of expertise on multiple topics including history, culture, education, black fraternity and sorority life and of course HBCUs. Follow her on twitter at @HBCUstorian, visit her website at www.CrystaldeGregory.com, or contact her via email at cadegregory@HBCUstory.com.

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