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Dr. R. Charles Byers Land-Grant Administration Building

Dr. R. Charles Byers

The dedication ceremony for the

DR. R. CHARLES BYERS
LAND-GRANT ADMINISTRATION BUILDING


on the campus of
West Virginia State University.

Friday, May 13, 2022 | 11:30 a.m.

Please park in the Wilson University Union Parking Lot.
Shuttle service will be provided.

Reception to follow the dedication ceremony
in the Art Gallery in the Davis Fine Arts Building.
Dr. R. Charles Byers is a distinguished 1968 graduate of West Virginia State University who has served his alma mater in a variety of capacities during a career that spanned more than four decades.

Dr. Byers joined the WVSU faculty in 1972 and spent the next 17 years as an associate professor of teacher education. He served for 12 years as the Vice President for Planning and Advancement, Title III Director and Executive Director for the WVSU Research and Development Corporation before being named Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Beginning in the fall of 1988, WVSU President Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr. began an effort to reclaim the university’s land-grant status, which was surrendered in 1957. Dr. Byers was an integral member of the university administrative team that successfully worked on regaining the university’s land-grant status over a more than 10-year period.  On November 28, 2001, with the passage and subsequent signing of the fiscal year 2002 Agricultural Appropriations Bill, the University Compendium 212 regained its birthright of becoming again an official and fully recognized 1890 Land-Grant Institution.

Dr. Byers retired as Provost of the University in 2014 after 41 years of service at WVSU. The Dr. R. Charles Byers Endowed Scholarship was established at that time to honor his legacy of mentorship and support for students. He returned to WVSU as Interim Provost in July 2019, and later served from May through August 2020 as the University’s Interim President, becoming the first alumni of WVSU to serve in that capacity.

In 2015, Dr. Byers, an accomplished painter and sketch artist, published “A Place We Love So Dear: A Collection of Campus Drawings,” featuring pen and ink drawings of every building on the WVSU campus at that time.

Dr. Byers is a 1968 graduate of WVSU with a bachelor’s degree in art education. He later earned a master’s of fine arts degree from The Ohio State University while working as a commercial artist and art teacher in Columbus, Ohio. Later, Dr. Byers earned a doctorate degree from Kent State University in higher education administration.

Dr. Byers is married to the former Edithe Rosebourgh of Charleston, a retired public school educator. They are the parents of three adult children, and five grandchildren.

On May 13, 2022, the Dr. R. Charles Byers Land-Grant Administration Building was dedicated to Dr. Byers for his lifetime of service to West Virginia State University.
 
A History of Land-Grant Programs at West Virginia State University
 
The historical progression of Land-Grant Status at West Virginia State University is unique among Land-Grant Universities. Land-grant institutions were established under of the Morrill Acts (also known as Land-Grant Acts) of 1862 and 1890. On March 17, 1891, West Virginia State University (WVSU) was designated by the U.S. Congress as one of the original 1890 land-grant schools under the Second Morrill Act. These schools were created to provide “instruction in agriculture, the mechanical arts, English language, and the various branches of mathematical, physical, natural, and economic science” to the Black citizens of the states where these individuals had no access to other higher education institutions because of segregation laws. The university was the first 1890 land-grant school to be accredited and has been accredited longer than any other public college or university in West Virginia. WVSU faithfully met its duties to the citizens of West Virginia as a land-grant college in an outstanding manner. However, on October 23, 1956, the West Virginia State Board of Education voted to surrender the land-grant status of West Virginia State University (effective July 1, 1957) and on March 5, 1957, instructed the state legislature through Senate Bills 93 and 219 to transfer $21,900 worth of personnel and expense funds to West Virginia University. For 31 years, alumni of the university, interested in regaining land-grant status, looked for the right time, place, and key persons to reverse the decision in 1957. In the fall of 1988, the university’s ninth President, Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr. and several members of his administration including Dr. R. Charles Byers undertook the challenge to regain the land-grant status. These efforts to regain land-grant status resulted in WVSU finally being federally and financially recognized as an 1890 land-grant institution through the signing of the Agricultural Appropriations bill by President Bill Clinton on October 22, 1999. Through Dr. Byers’ significant contribution to regaining the land-grant status and building WVSU’s Agricultural Research and Extension programs from scratch, the university has and continues to experience significant research and development growth and delivers Extension programs which directly and positively impact all 55 counties of the state of West Virginia. The building that serves as the administrative center for land-grant programs was acquired by the WVSU Board of Governors in 2005 after being built in 1995 and serving the headquarters for Kanawha Home Health Inc. The building has served as the administrative center for land-grant programs since its acquisition, and today, May 13, 2022, is fittingly dedicated to  Dr. R. Charles Byers.
 
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