INSTITUTE, W.Va. — West Virginia State University President Ericke Cage kicked off homecoming weekend at the institution on Thursday with his first State of the University Address.
The address centered around three major announcements: plans for adding Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams, developing a School of Agriculture and a West Virginia State University (WVSU) Center in downtown Charleston.
Cage told MetroNews that he has laid out a clear path for the university over the next five years.
“We are a vibrant community of learners, thinkers and doers. We are well-positioned for our next chapter of excellence and growth,” Cage said.
According to Cage, WVSU is the only 1890 land-grant institution in the United States that does not have a School of Agriculture. He said the university is now working to put together a committee that will conduct a feasibility study on the school. He said he hopes the committee reveals what resources are needed to start the school.
Cage was also excited about a WVSU Center in nearby Charleston because he said it’s important to have a presence in an area of the state where many alums live and work. The
As for the launch of men’s and women’s track & field programs, as well as men’s and women’s cross-country programs, the planned start is for the 2023-24 academic year.
“We are very excited to announce the addition of both track & field and cross country at WVSU, increasing our sport offerings to 17 sports,” said WVSU Athletic Director Nate Burton in a release.
“A national search for a head coach will commence immediately and we look forward to welcoming student-athletes for these sports this Fall.”
Enrollment at WVSU, like many other institutions in West Virginia, is down for the 2022-23 academic year compared to pre-pandemic figures. Cage said the university currently has 1,600 full-time students. The goal for WVSU is to have 2,100 full-time students by next fall.
“We’re going to be aggressive when it comes to recruitment and retention. We’re investing to make sure all of those offices and initiatives are well-funded and staffed.”
Cage delivered his address at the Ferrell Hall Auditorium.
Homecoming weekend activities include a Presidential Portrait Unveiling for former WVSU President Thomas W. Cole Jr. on Thursday night and a Dr. Hazo W. Carter Jr. Integrated Research Extension Building Dedication on Friday morning.
The homecoming parade and tailgating begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with the football game against West Virginia Wesleyan kicking off at 1:00 p.m.