March 02, 2011

Manchin Statement Honoring Marshall University

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Marshall becoming a university

Washington, D.C. — United States Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today congratulated Marshall University on its 50th anniversary of becoming a university, and entered a statement of commemoration in the Congressional Record on the institution’s behalf.  

“Marshall University is a proud and historic educational mainstay in West Virginia,” Senator Manchin said. “Marshall makes an exceptional contribution to our state, with tens of thousands of well-educated graduates and with more than 14,000 students. Today, we celebrate the many accomplishments of Marshall, its staff and students in the 50 years since the school earned university status and the decades since Marshall’s founding in 1837. We eagerly anticipate great things from Marshall in the coming years.” 

Below is the statement that will be entered into the Congressional Record, which was also presented to Marshall University President Stephen Kopp:

M. President, today I rise to recognize Marshall University, which this week celebrates its 50th year as a designated “university.” Founded in 1837, Marshall is the oldest public institution of higher education in the state of West Virginia. However, the granting of university status to the school formerly known as Marshall College did not occur until March 2, 1961.

The change from “college” to “university” was far more than a shift in nomenclature. Marshall’s greatest champions – including Dr. Stewart H. Smith, president of Marshall from 1946 to 1968; state legislators and the local community – had to overcome entrenched beliefs that West Virginia did not need another large university.

Marshall’s supporters made a strong case for the school, which was growing in enrollment as well as offering many academic programs and advanced degrees. The institution earned “university status,” which recognized its role as an advanced institution of higher learning in the state, and all of West Virginia has benefited as a result.

Marshall University now educates more than 14,000 students at campus locations in Huntington, Point Pleasant, South Charleston, Beckley, Logan and Gilbert, offering degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. The school boasts 90,000 proud alumni around the world.

For every dollar the state of West Virginia invests in Marshall University, the school generates more than $20 in economic impact, resulting in the generation of $1.5 billion per year in economic impact. This figure has tripled since 2005.

Marshall offers 159 majors and 105 degrees through its 12 colleges. The school has earned a national reputation for its research in biotechnology, forensic science, and medicine, and is currently launching a new School of Pharmacy, which will create good-paying jobs and generate an estimated $150 million economic impact. The Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing is providing services to all 55 state counties and expertise to 5,250 small and medium-sized manufacturers that employ more than 81,000 individuals across West Virginia. Marshall University’s medical and health science schools and departments train hundreds of West Virginians to serve as doctors, nurses, therapists and health technicians each year.

As your United States Senator, it is truly my honor to extend my most sincere congratulations to Marshall on its 50th anniversary of becoming a university.  

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