POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Forget about New Hampshire, Marshall University’s Mid-Ohio Valley Center had its own version of a presidential visit this week.
MU President Jerome A. “Jerry” Gilbert, who only recently took over the position, attended a reception at MOVC on Monday, meeting with not only community leaders but also students.
“I just want this community to know that this campus is part of Marshall and we value it, and that the president came to see it for himself because I’d never been up here before and I wanted to make that an early stop on my tour of the facilities,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert was named the 37th president of Marshall University on Oct. 20, 2015. He assumed the presidency Jan. 16. A Mississippi native with a background in biomedical engineering, Gilbert previously served for nearly six years as provost and executive vice president of Mississippi State University.
As Gilbert pointed out, this was his first visit to MOVC and he was impressed with what he encountered.
“It’s a beautiful facility,” Gilbert said. “I talked to a nursing faculty member and got a sense of the labs here. I’d say these (off campus) facilities are as good as you’d find at any university, so, that to me is really assuring that we have quality programs here that would stand the test of anybody’s scrutiny.”
Gilbert said he was equally impressed with the distance learning classrooms at MOVC which allow local students to connect with professors on the main campus in Huntington. In fact, Gilbert walked into one of those classrooms that was in progress Monday night and accidentally interrupted the lecture.
“She (the instructor) was talking and I was waving … she looked up and said, ‘Oh, my goodness, it’s the president,’” Gilbert said. He added, she must’ve thought, “What is he doing on this television?”
Gilbert went on to say: “Homer (Preece) was telling me that the IT you have here … the electronic connections, are as good as we have in Huntington.”
Showing up to get a sense of what’s happening at MU firsthand seems to be something Gilbert intends to continue.
As for long-term goals, Gilbert said maintaining a strong liberal arts education remains important, but growing the university’s reputation as a research facility holds a lot of promise. He specifically pointed to the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the work that’s going on there now, though with a background in biological engineering and biomedical engineering, he seems interested to learn about what’s going on across the entire campus in terms of fostering a research community.
He also said he wants Marshall to be known for its merits not just locally, but nationally, hoping to take the work of faculty and students to as large of an audience as possible.
Biographical information regarding Gilbert provided by the MU Office of Communications.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.