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Longtime West Virginia State University Administrator Announces Retirement

Reported by: Send eMail Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Nov. 5, 2013 3:39 PM EST

West Virginia State University Photo
West Virginia State University Photo

Institute , Kanawha County , West Virginia

After 41 years of service at West Virginia State University, Provost R. Charles Byers announced his retirement effective June 30, 2014.

Byers began his lifelong career at WVSU as a professor in the education department and has held several leadership roles but his first connection with West Virginia State was as a student in the mid-1960s, according to a news release from the university.

“Charles is one of State’s greatest assets, a champion for education and a son of West Virginia State University,” West Virginia State University President Brian Hemphill said. “Throughout my presidency, Charles has provided me with quality and insightful support because he is dedicated to our students. His candor, friendliness and commitment to ensuring this university maintains high quality faculty who provide a rigorous and excellent education from which our students can build successful careers, is second to none.”

Upon stepping down as provost, Byers will serve as senior advisor to the president for one year with primary responsibilities including the campus master plan and the university’s accreditation.

Byers said he is positive about the university’s future.

“I feel fortunate that the university is in good hands with Dr. Hemphill. His positive vision is motivating faculty, staff and students. It has been a joy working and being part of the State family and I look forward to an additional year of service working directly alongside the president in his office,” Byers said.

Born in Logan County, Byers was raised in West Dunbar. He is a 1968 graduate of WVSU with a bachelor’s degree in art education. Byers later earned a master of fine arts’ degree from The Ohio State University while working as a commercial artists and art teacher in Columbus. Later, Byers earned his doctorate from Kent State University and, to date, has more than 430 graduate hours from various higher education institutions.

Byers held his first job at WVSU when he was a student, working in the bookstore. During his undergraduate studies, Byers was also an active student leader serving as Basileus Omega Psi Phi fraternity, president of the Pan Hellenic Council and president of the Men’s Senate. Byers attributes these leadership roles to his ability to listen closely to the needs of others and working with a collective group to address those needs. The school said he has maintained this same leadership style throughout his career and it was instrumental in helping then West Virginia State College gain university status, a career highlight for Byers.



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