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Welcome to West Virginia State University (WVSU)! At WVSU we are committed to access and providing a quality student-centered education that fosters our students’ holistic development in the classroom and beyond. WVSU exemplifies the transformative power of education. We believe students learn best in an environment that challenges, supports and prepares them to become the problem solvers, innovators, leaders, and social justice advocates our nation needs.

At WVSU, students and parents will find nationally ranked academic programs taught by exceptional faculty who are leaders in their respective fields of study. Our 123 acre campus gives our students a spacious and beautiful safe environment to study, live and start their journey. Students attend WVSU from across West Virginia, 25 states, to include the District of Columbia, and 19 countries.
By leveraging our strengths, we have repositioned WVSU to play an integral role in the economic development and higher education needs of the Kanawha Valley, the state and the region. We have a strong rich storied history in lifting our community, and excelling in academics and sports, and we look to the future with great confidence.

Whether you are a first-time visitor, a potential student exploring the unique opportunities only STATE can provide, a current student or alum seeking to learn more and connect, know I appreciate your interest and welcome any feedback or ideas you would like to share with me and my senior cabinet. Thank you for visiting us online and I look forward to seeing you around campus.

Ericke S. Cage is the 13th president of West Virginia State University. He was unanimously selected for the position on March 31, 2022, by the WVSU Board of Governors, having served the university previously since September 2021 as interim president.

A native of Halifax County, Virginia, Cage joined the university in July 2021 as vice president and chief of staff and was subsequently appointed by the Board as the university’s chief operating officer on July 30, 2021 with responsibility for managing the day-to-day operations of the university. Since assuming the leadership of West Virginia State University, Cage has prioritized institutional stabilization and operational optimization, renewal of the “state spirit,” the development and expansion of high demand academic programs, and the cultivation of a diverse range of internal and external relationships to support WVSU’s forward momentum and growth.

Prior to joining WVSU, Cage most recently served as executive advisor to the president and Board of Visitors at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia – where as a member of the university’s executive management team he served as principal advisor to the university president and board of visitors on matters related to institutional policy making, governance, government relations, and university ombudsman. Cage also served as speechwriter for Norfolk State’s presidents and board chairs.

While at Norfolk State University, Cage led the university’s 2019-2025 strategic plan committee, served as the chief architect of the university’s 2019-2020 self-assessment, and modernized the university’s policymaking process to improve decision making and compliance. As a former education lobbyist, Cage was instrumental in expanding Norfolk State’s presence and impact on Capitol Hill and before the Virginia General Assembly. He directly supported outreach efforts that helped Norfolk State secure the largest state appropriation in the history of the university. While at Norfolk State, Cage also authored a successful $2.7 million grant proposal to support student access, retention, and completion. As the principal advisor and speechwriter to Norfolk State’s presidents and governing board chairs, Cage played a pivotal role in developing the institution’s strategic priorities and crafting the narratives that helped to move these priorities forward. As university ombudsman, he advanced a culture of care and inclusion at Norfolk State by serving as a confidential resource for employees as they worked through issues of conflict and challenge.

Prior to joining Norfolk State University, Cage served as director of government affairs for Teach for America, and also served as state policy and research director for the Obama-Biden 2012 reelection campaign. Cage served as legislative counsel for U.S. Congressman Tom Perriello, where he managed a legislative portfolio that included federal education, healthcare, defense, and veterans affairs policy.  Cage also served as a law clerk for the U.S. Department of Defense, and a legislative fellow for the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. He also served as a congressional fellow in the office of U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison. During law school, he completed summer legal placements in the New York City Law Department’s Special Litigation Unit and at Prudential Financial Corporation. Cage began his professional career as a high school government teacher in his hometown of Halifax County, Virginia, where he was recognized as teacher of the year by the senior class in 2004.

Cage is a graduate of Virginia Tech and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in leadership studies. He holds a juris doctorate from the Rutgers University Law School, where he served as an Associate Editor of the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, Associate Editor of the Rutgers Business Law Journal, Member of the Rutgers Moot Court Board, and Third Circuit Governor of the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division. Cage holds a masters of law degree in litigation and dispute resolution from the George Washington University Law School. He is also a graduate of the United States Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College and the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

Cage currently serves on the boards of the Mountain East Conference, the West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation, and the West Virginia State University Foundation. He is a past board member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni Association and the U.S. Selective Service System (local board). Cage is an active member of the Rotary Club of Charleston, West Virginia.


The leadership of West Virginia State University consists of members of the Senior Cabinet, including: Ericke S. Cage, President; Eric L. Jackson, Vice President and Chief of Staff; Dr. J. Paige Carney, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Justin McAllister, Senior Vice President for Strategic Finance, Operations and Chief Innovation Officer; Dr. Dr. Lee Young, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs; Patricia Schumann, Vice President for University Advancement; Dr. Ami Smith, Vice President and Dean and Director for Agricultural Research and Extension; Nate Burton, Director for Intercollegiate Athletics; and Alice Faucett, General Counsel; along with support from Crystal Walker, Executive Assistant to the President and Campus Events Coordinator; and Amanda Fellure, Communications Liaison to the President.
Ericke S. Cage
Ericke S. Cage

Dr. J. Paige Carney
Dr. J. Paige Carney
Provost & Vice President for
Academic Affairs

Eric L. Jackson
Eric L. Jackson
Vice President and
Chief of Staff


Justin McAllister
Justin McAllister
Senior Vice President for
Strategic Finance, Operations
and Chief Innovation Officer

Dr. Lee Young
Dr. Lee Young
Vice President for Enrollment
Management and Student Affairs

Patricia Schumann
Patricia Schumann
Vice President for University Advancement

Dr. Ami Smith, Interim Vice President for Research and Public Service
Dr. Ami Smith
Vice President and Dean and Director
for Agricultural Research and Extension


Nate Burton
Nate Burton
Director for
Intercollegiate Athletics

Alice Faucett
Alice Faucett
General Counsel

Crystal Walker
Crystal Walker
Executive Assistant to the President &
Campus Events Coordinator
Amanda Fellure
Amanda Fellure
Communications Liaison to the President

Brief Historical Sketch of West Virginia State University

West Virginia State University was founded under the provisions of the Second Morrill Act of 1890 to provide education to black citizens in agriculture and the mechanical arts.  Like many other states at that time, West Virginia maintained a segregated education system.  On March 17, 1891, the Legislature passed a bill creating the West Virginia Colored Institute to be located in the Kanawha Valley. Federal funds provided $3,000 for faculty salaries and the West Virginia Legislature appropriated $10,000 to purchase land and to construct a building.  We now celebrate March 17 each year as the official “Founders Day” of West Virginia State University.
In 1915, the West Virginia Collegiate Institute began offering college degrees, academic programs were expanded and new buildings were constructed. In 1927, the Institute received accreditation from the North Central Association and in 1929 it became West Virginia State College.
After the 1954 United States Supreme Court historic decision outlawing school segregation, the Institution welcomed integration and met the unprecedented challenges of enrollment that quadrupled and transformed the institution into a racially and culturally diverse college. At that time, land-grant status was lost due to a decision of the West Virginia Board of Education. The College regained land-grant status in 2001, by an act of Congress and leveraged the accompanying federal funding to strengthen its mission of teaching, research and service to the community.
The first graduate degree programs were established in fall 2003 and with the passage of Senate Bill 448 during the 2004 legislative session, the Institution became West Virginia State University.
The University is a distinctive “living laboratory of human relations,” attracting students of all races, creeds, and backgrounds. In 2011-2012, WVSU's student population was 61 percent White, 12.5 percent Black, 1 percent Asian, 1 percent Hispanic, 0.5 percent American Indian and 24 percent of students who preferred not to identify race.Those who work and learn at WVSU do so in an environment that more accurately reflects the diversity of America than any other college or university in West Virginia.
As a 21st Century, master’s-level university, WVSU has attained national prominence as a historically black institution (HBCU) of higher education that is filling a need for higher education for students who want to obtain the knowledge and leadership capabilities to compete in a global marketplace.
The University has a fully accessible, multigenerational population of faculty, staff and students. Currently, WVSU has an enrollment of approximately 2,644 undergraduate and graduate students, served by approximately 200 full- and part-time faculty members, in 15 academic departments. Ninety percent of entering freshmen receive financial aid.
WVSU students have become judges, educators, mathematicians, chemists, nurses, pilots, activists, dentists, ministers, actors, athletes, lawyers, military generals, artists, musicians, NASA personnel, CEOs, biotechnologists, coaches, and one Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Past Presidents

West Virginia State University has only had 10 presidents in its history. The first three were technically called "principals".

The first administrators lived in Fleming Hall, a multipurpose facility, that was the first building constructed on the campus. It was James McHenry Jones who selected the dormitory, East Hall, as his residence. Five of the president's resided there raising their families and entertaining distinguished visitors to the campus.

Dr. Harold McNeil was the last president to live there. A new president's home was completed in 1990. East Hall was named to the Register of Historic Places and refurbished. The Planning and Advancement administrative area and the WVSU R & D Corp. are currently housed in the building.

James Edwin Campbell
1892 - 1894

The first president was James Edwin Campbell a poet, free-lance writer and mathematician from Pomeroy Ohio. At age 24, he was responsible for starting the new school. With experience in both administration and teaching, he also had a book of poems to his credit. The Campbell Conference Center is named for him.

John H. Hill
1894 - 1898

The second president (1894 - 1898) was John H. Hill, a lawyer, teacher, administrator and soldier, who oversaw the first commencement. He resigned to fight in the Spanish-American War and later returned as an instructor. Hill Hall is named for him.

James McHenry Jones
1898 - 1909

James McHenry Jones was the third president (1898 – 1909). He is responsible for adding a "normal" department. Mr. Jones is buried in the cemetery near the Rehabilitation Center on Barron Drive. Jones Hall is named for him.

Byrd Prillerman
1909 - 1919

Byrd Prillerman, a faculty member and one of those responsible for having the land-grant school located in the Kanawha Valley, was the fourth president. During his tenure, academic programs were expanded and the institution was given a new name “The West Virginia Collegiate Institute.” The former Prillerman Hall residence hall was named for him.

John W. Davis
1919 - 1953

John Warren Davis was the fifth president (1919 – 1953). He focused on recruiting the best Black faculty members he could find and developing the curriculum. He persuaded noted historian, Carter G. Woodson, to assist him as Academic Dean. During his tenure the school was first accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1927. The name became West Virginia State College in 1929. Davis is the longest-serving president. The Davis Fine Arts Building is named for him.

William J.L. Wallace
1953 - 1973

The sixth president was William James Lord Wallace (1953 – 1973). The greatest challenge of his presidency came following U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregated schools to be unconstitutional. Following that, the historically black West Virginia State College opened its doors to all students. Dr. Wallace not only met the challenge but set an example for the world to follow. The ease with which the College was integrated gave rise to the motto, “A Living Laboratory of Human Relations.” Wallace Hall is named for him.

Harold M. McNeill
1973 - 1981

Harold M. McNeill served as the seventh president of the University (1973 - 1981). During his tenure, the community college component was established; a building was erected for community college programs; and Ferrell Hall and the Drain-Jordan Library were renovated. The McNeill Physical Facilities Building is named for him.

Thomas W. Cole, Jr.
1982 - 1986

The eighth president was Thomas W. Cole, Jr. (1982 – 1986). During his administration Dr. Cole made several organizational changes in the institution creating new academic divisions and establishing a planning and advancement unit. Dr. Cole left West Virginia State in 1986 to become Chancellor of the West Virginia Board of Regents. The Cole Complex is named for him.

Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr.
1987 - 2012

Shortly after he became the ninth president in September 1987 Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr. began what would become a 12-year quest to regain the College’s land-grant status that had been transferred in the 1950s. Since "State" was the only institution to have the status removed, there was no precedent for recovering it. By the year 2000, West Virginia State was once again recognized on both the state and federal levels as an 1890 land-grant institution with accompanying funding to carry out its mission.

With the birthright land-grant status restored, the quest began for West Virginia State to be designated a university. West Virginia State University became a reality in 2004. These achievements, accompanied by two highly successful accreditations by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the addition of graduate programs highlight his administration.

2012 - 2016
The University's 10th president was Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. (2012 - 2016). He served with unwavering passion and inspired a campus-wide focus on excellence, accountability, and student-centeredness through rebranding, marketing and community engagement. During his tenure, the University implemented new academic programs, expanded international programs and partnerships, including an ESL program, and began the process of launching fully-online degree programs. Under his leadership, the Research Rookies Program for student researchers and the PEER program for research faculty were created and implemented. Dr. Hemphill led a $53.9 million campus facilities revitalization, which included the construction of three state-of-the-art facilities including the D. Stephen and Diane H. Walker Convocation Center, the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Hall, and the Gregory V.  Monroe Athletic Complex. Under his leadership, the University completed its first Capital Campaign surpassing the $18 million goal more than a year ahead of schedule and nearly doubling the University’s endowment. Dr. Hemphill left West Virginia State University in 2016 to become the seventh president of Radford University in Radford, Virginia.


The University's 11th President Dr. Anthony L. Jenkins, 2016-2020, was a visionary, powerful orator and a leader of action, who ushered in a new era at West Virginia State University. He lifted the national brand of WVSU and repositioned the University to be more competitive, relevant and sustainable. He was the first president to secure full funding of the University’s state land-grant match, and he worked with the White House and Congress to pass the historic landmark 2018 Farm Bill and FUTURE Act. He expanded academic offerings by re-establishing the University’s authority to grant associate degrees as well as creating the University’s first Nursing, Engineering and Agricultural programs, seven fully online degree programs, and international partnerships in China, Mexico and Africa. Dr. Jenkins commitment to increasing access to higher education drove him to develop innovative student-focused initiatives such as: WVSU STEM Academy, Straight 2 STATE, WVSU Yellow Jacket Summer Bridge Program, and the Yellow Jacket Loyalty Program, all of which were the first of their kind at the University. He transformed campus with the creation of the Katherine Johnson Plaza, and the University’s first Integrated Research and Extension Building. Dr. Jenkins left WVSU in May 2020 to become president of Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland.


Dr. Nicole Pride was the first woman to serve as president of West Virginia State University. Dr. Pride began her service as the university’s 12th president in September 2020. Prior to coming to WVSU, she began her career in the corporate and non-profit sectors, and left industry to begin her service in higher education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. At North Carolina A&T, she served as principal liaison and senior adviser to the chancellor, a member of the chancellor’s executive cabinet, and provided strategic and operational support for internal and external constituencies. 

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