West Liberty University is proud to sponsor the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the City of Wheeling. Activities are planned for June 19 and 20 in the Friendly City, which was the birthplace of West Virginia.
“We are honored to support this historic moment in West Virginia history and join all West Virginians in marking our state’s 150th Birthday Celebration,” said President Robin C. Capehart.
Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie and West Virginia Division of Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith announced the schedule of events planned in Wheeling a few weeks ago at a press conference held at West Virginia Independence Hall, 1528 Market St.
West Liberty University is sponsoring the official VIP tent at Heritage Port, which includes an historic gathering of the West Virginia Legislature for a reenactment of the speeches and political drama at the birth of the state in the restored courtroom of West Virginia Independence Hall, formerly known as the Wheeling Custom House.
Nearly six years before President Lincoln signed the proclamation making West Virginia the 35th State in the Union, construction had begun on the Wheeling Custom House, headquarters for federal offices for the Western District of Virginia. Its completion, coinciding with the beginning of the Civil War, provided a facility for heated political discussions and constitutional conventions that led to eventual statehood for West Virginia in 1863. Here, issues dividing many Virginians – slavery being one of many – were debated, compromised and shaped into the skeleton of statehood.
Serving as the Restored Government of Virginia (aligned with the Union) from 1861-1863, it is appropriately known today as West Virginia Independence Hall.
Other highlights of the 150th Celebration include a 5 p.m., June 19, Statehood Block Party at River City Restaurant, 14th and Main streets, followed by a Waterfront Wednesday concert at the Heritage Port and a 7:30 p.m., premiere of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s, “WV: The Road to Statehood,” at Independence Hall. Thursday is filled with activities that end with a West Virginia Day Concert at Heritage Port, beginning at 4:30 p.m. and concluding with a special performance by the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, featuring West Virginia natives and musical stars, Johnny Staats, Kathy Matea and Laundau Eugene Murphy, Jr., followed by fireworks.
West Liberty University predates the state of West Virginia by 26 years and is the state’s oldest institution of higher education. Established as West Liberty Academy in 1837, WLU was created in response to the need for higher educational opportunities west of the Appalachians as the country expanded.
Today, five colleges make up WLU: the College of Arts and Communication, the College of Education, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science and the Gary E. West College of Business. Led by President Robin C. Capehart, West Liberty University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, please call 1.866.WESTLIB.