Monday, May 5, 2014

“Dr. and Mrs. Campbell, Senator Fitzsimmons, Ms. Guidi; members of the West Liberty University Board of Governors; friends and members of the West Liberty University campus community. On behalf of the faculty, staff and students of West Liberty University, it’s truly a pleasure to welcome you here today on this historic occasion.

We would first like to recognize a number of individuals who couldn’t join us today, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge their contribution to this celebration.

From left President Capehart shakes hands with Dr. Clyde D. Campbell, president emeritus and namesake of the new Hall of Health Sciences.

From left President Capehart shakes hands with Dr. Clyde D. Campbell, President emeritus and namesake of the new Hall of Health Sciences.

First, we’d like to offer our deepest appreciation to former Chancellor of Higher Education, Brian Noland, who is now serving as the President of East Tennessee State University, and who understood of the need for a facility that would contribute to the long-term health care needs of the people of West Virginia.

It was through Dr. Noland’s support that the Higher Education Policy Commission identified this facility that we dedicate today as the highest priority among all new construction projects for higher education in the State of West Virginia.

We’d also like to thank Dr. Paul Hill, our current Chancellor of higher education who continued to support this project when he assumed his leadership position after Dr. Noland’s departure.

We’d also like to recognize and offer our sincere appreciation to now-Senator, but, then, Governor Joe Manchin who – likewise – provided vital support for this project – and to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin who continued that support.

And, thank you to our legislative delegation that continues to serve as our supporters and our advocates when it comes to projects such as these.

On campus, there are so many people to thank and you run the risk of leaving someone out, but it’s important that we recognize those such as:

Our CFO, Jack Wright, and Pat Henry, our Chief Operating Officer and his crew for all their contributions.

John Davis, our Executive Vice President and General Counsel, and Ed Stewart, our Chief Procurement Officer.

We’d especially like to thank our project coordinator, Larry Skrzypek, who, I believe, was here every minute of every hour of every day that work was being performed on the building. Larry, you’ve been tireless in your efforts and we can’t thank you enough for your contribution. It’s my hope that you have a special sense of pride in knowing that this was a job well done.

We’d like to thank all of the members of our Board of Governors who have served throughout the development and construction of this project and especially to Lynn Exley, Brian Joseph and Rich Carter who have provided leadership on the Board during this period.

The purpose of this facility is to provide our health science students with a high quality education and, in that regard, it’s important that we recognize our academic leadership team that served throughout the planning and construction of Campbell Hall.

Please let us thank Dr. John McCullough, Dr. Tony Koyzis and Dr. Brian Crawford who have served as provost during this time period.

And, perhaps most importantly, we’d like to recognize Dr. Robert Kreisberg, our Dean of the College of Science, who provided outstanding leadership and direction in the planning of Campbell Hall and to all of the faculty and staff from the College of Science for all of your work over the past few months in occupying the building so as we may begin to serve our students.

 Lastly, we’d like to recognize an extremely important group and that is the over 100 donors who contributed nearly $1 million to the building and equipping of Campbell Hall. It’s our hope that you take great pride in the assistance you’ve provided and that you’ll always feel a sense of attachment to this University and students whose lives will be enriched thanks to your generosity.  In recognition of your kindness, we will be placing bronze plaques throughout the building and we hope to have all of you back in the fall for a special ceremony honoring your contributions.

In regard to this fundraising effort, we’d like to thank our Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Jason Koegler, our Director of Development, Angie Zambito-Hill and the institutional advancement staff for your efforts in connecting these donors with this project.

It’s truly a day in which so many people can take pride in this accomplishment.

It’s fitting that we gather on this day – to dedicate this building – in honor of this gentleman – having just passed the 5th anniversary of this institution becoming a university.

For the proud heritage of this institution, the opportunity that lies within this building and the life of service unselfishly provided by the building’s namesake all share one thing in common – the ability to transform the lives of countless number of individuals.

Over the last seven years that we’ve had the opportunity to be a part of this great institution, there’s never been an end to the number of stories we’ve heard about young men and women who came from places and from families where a college education was merely a dream – and that West Liberty provided them the opportunity to have their dreams fulfilled.

These were young people from steel towns and small towns; from homes high upon a hill or nestled in a bright green valley or so close to the river that every few years the waters of the Ohio would invite themselves in.

These were young men and women who would hug their mothers – and shake the hands of their fathers as they left for college – and take with them on their hands the residue of the rich farm soil that had provided for their families for generations. And after four years of studying and – more likely than not – four years of holding down a job to pay for college – they would walk across the stage and out into a world full of countless opportunities. There lives had been truly transformed.

Likewise, the building we’re here to dedicate today will only enrich the opportunity that’s available on this campus, but the rooms and the equipment will provide a learning experience that is second to none.

Later today, you’ll have the opportunity to tour Campbell Hall and we believe you’ll be amazed and inspired by this state-of-the-art facility. But, we’d ask that – on occasion – you look past the splendor of the building and glance at the students who are inside. For it’s their lives – and the lives of the people they’ll serve in the future – that are truly being transformed – and therein lies the true beauty of Campbell Hall.

Dr. Campbell, believe us when we say that there could not have been a more fitting person after whom this magnificent building could be named. Saun and I have been a part of this campus community for nearly seven years and I’ve lived in this valley most of my 61 years and Saun for all of her – 29 years.

 And as many stories as we’ve heard about West Liberty change people’s lives, we’ve heard just as many about the tremendous influence and impact you’ve had on hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals and their families. And it’s been not just your guidance, your encouragement and your wisdom – but it’s also been your example – the way you’ve lived your life – a life of hard work and innovation; a life of service and leadership; a life of loyalty and faith; a life of humor and grace.

You’ve been an inspiration to many – and through that inspiration – you’ve transformed lives. May this building, so appropriately named in your honor – continue to reflect your life and your values as it transforms the lives of generations to come.

On a personal note, Saun and I’d like to – again – thank you and Joan, for their support, your guidance and your friendship over the past seven years and we look forward to continuing our relationship far into the future.

Today is a day of celebration – a day we pause to offer our appreciation; to reflect upon our accomplishment; and to honor an individual who embodies the values and principles of this institution.

But, in closing, let’s look to the future because the opportunity offered by Campbell Hall is all about the future and the students who will enter through these doors, pursue instruction of the highest quality and depart this building equipped to make a significant contribution to our communities.

Last week, we had the opportunity to address the faculty and we talked about the elements necessary for an institution – or any organization – to establish and maintain a high degree of success. First, an institution has to be strong and, as we look to the future, we’re pleased to report that despite the challenges facing higher education in West Virginia, West Liberty University is strong academically, structurally, financially and in terms of its engagement with our community and our State. This magnificent facility as well as new programs and a vibrant and robust strategic plan that is on the horizon provides great optimism for the future.

A second factor contributing to the success of an organization is its knowledge base, i.e. its ability to understand and undertake its mission with a significant degree of competency. In this regard, we know what it takes to be a great university. We’re blessed with a dedicated and accomplished faculty and a committed and hard working staff who knows what it takes to excel and achieve success in the rapidly changing world of higher education.

 It’s clear that we have the strength and the know-how to be successful. However, as legendary coach Vince Lombardi once observed, ‘the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength or not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.’ Success is relative to others. And, while we have the strength and we have the knowledge, there are others who are strong and capable. There are also others who will attempt to build new facilities that rival Campbell Hall.

 As we approach a time when we’ll turn the page to a new chapter in the history of this institution, the question for we, as an institution, and all of the individual members of the campus community is whether we’ll continue to possess and expand our will to become a great university. In particular:

Will we maintain the will to take risks and make investments in programs that will strengthen our academic foundation?

When a program, an initiative or a decision falls flat on its face, will we have the will to get up, not look back and keep moving forward?

 Will we have the will to push aside our personal concerns and dedicate ourselves to a spirit of collaboration and engagement that focuses on what truly matters: providing our students with a high quality education?

Will we have the will to learn from our experiences, yet move beyond comfort in order to develop and grow both as individuals and as an institution?

Will we have the will to make the tough decisions that will be necessary to maintain our high standards of excellence?

As we begin to finalize our strategic plan, will we have the will to not just define our vision for the future, but to align every decision we make with that vision?

There will always be challenges and changes and opportunities. And, as I look around this campus, I see a lot of strength, a lot of know-how and a lot of will.

And, currently, West Liberty has a momentum that is unmatched by any other college or university in this state.

I believe that Campbell Hall and the values and principles of its namesake will continue to guide us down a road to distinction and distinctiveness.

As such, I believe the future of West Liberty University is bright and boundless.

So, at this time, on behalf of the entire campus community, I would to thank all of you for being here today to be a part of this stop along the way as we continue our journey from a good college to a great university. Thank you.”