INSTITUTE, W.Va. — The West Virginia University State Board of Governors gave approval Friday to BOG Chairman Mark Kelley to enter into a new contract with State President Ericke Cage.

It’s a five-year deal and will need final approval from the state Higher Education Policy Commission before June 30 when Cage’s current contract expires.

Ericke Cage

Cage has been president at WVSU for two years. He told MetroNews Friday the five-year contract is a great vote of confidence from the BOG.

“I’m just excited to have the opportunity to continue as the university’s president, to continue to advance the great work we have done to move West Virginia State forward,” Cage said.

Cage said the success of the last two years has included adding new academic programs, bringing new resources and relationships WVSU and helping to raise the university’s profile in the state and across the country.

Gov. Jim Justice and several legislative leaders were on the State campus earlier this week for a ceremonial bill signing that will bring a $50 million new state Agriculture lab to the WVSU campus that will coincide with university establishing a School of Agriculture.

“That is going to be a game-changer not just for West Virginia State University but for the entire state of West Virginia,” Cage said.

State will face the challenges that other colleges and universities face over the next five years but Cage said he believes the HBC, land-grant institution, has positioned itself to be able to grow during that time.

“I believe the future of higher education is very much focused on the needs of our clients, our customers, and in this case our customers are the students, the taxpayers, the businesses,” he said.

Cage expects growth in State’s doctorate degree programs, agriculture research and training and cyber security in connection with a partnership involving Marshall University.

Cage said WVSU will also lean into what he calls “tailor-made industry solutions.”

“We’re going to partner with industry, sit down with them, and shape programs and solutions to the workforce challenges they face,” Cage said.

WVSU is currently in discussions with Nucor Steel to develop an operators training program.

“I think the future at West Virginia State University is very bright,” Cage said. “Most importantly, we are never going to lose sight of our connection to this community.”

A native of Halifax County, Virginia, Cage was previously serving as the university’s chief operating officer and managing the day-to-day operations of the university for then president Nicole Pride. Pride resigned July 30, 2021. Cage received the permanent appointment in March 2022.

The state Higher Education Policy Commission will likely meet next week to approve the new five-year contract.

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