May 10, 2022EducationArticle

Committed to West Virginia: The Brad D. Smith and Gordon Gee Partnership

West Virginia University (WVU) President Gordon Gee was recently featured in the Spring 2022 issue of Chamber Magazine, a publication produced by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Gee spoke of the efforts and initiatives focused on the future of West Virginia’s economy. Gee’s vision and shared passion for the state of West Virginia, led to a friendship and partnership with Brad D. Smith. Before taking on his new role as president at Marshall University, Smith has had a long-term plan to increase West Virginia’s population and create new economic opportunities.

“There is no one more pleased than me that Marshall had the wisdom and foresight to appoint Brad Smith as its president. We share similar worldviews including the critical role higher education can play in reshaping West Virginia’s new economy.”
– Gordon Gee, president of WVU

Over the years they held regular phone calls to discuss current affairs in the state and what they could do to help. These conversations fueled the ideas for future initiatives and programs for the state. Their work together has included initiatives aimed at getting younger people to stay and build their careers in West Virginia. Example initiatives include Startup West Virginia and Ascend West Virginia. Smith and his wife Alys founded Ascend West Virginia within the West Virginia University Outdoor Economic Collaborative.

“We want to do away with the notion that there is any competition between our two institutions. WVU and Marshall are going to be the very best they can be. We’re different types of institutions, and we can fill each other’s gaps. I think you will see a deeper commitment and greater strategic intent between the two schools going forward. The only competition we should have is on the playing field.”
– Gordon Gee, president of WVU

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