The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 12, 2012

Historic Day

Approval from HLC now complete for establishment of UC-Beckley

— There’s a lot of history in higher education in Beckley.

Beckley College.

The College of West Virginia.

Mountain State University.

And now, officially and perhaps most notably, UC-Beckley.

The University of Charleston made the announcement Tuesday of receiving approval from the Higher Learning Commission to open locations in Beckley and Martinsburg, facilities formerly operated by MSU. Additionally, UC will provide online and technology-aided instruction, all beginning January 1.

“This is a historic day for the University of Charleston,” said UC President Ed Welch.  

We agree.

It’s historic for many.

Welch added: “It is vitally important for Beckley to have a four-year college, and we are pledging a long-term commitment to educate students for a life of productive work, enlightened living and community involvement.”

That’s a very welcome assurance, especially given the bleak outlook of MSU this past summer.

There were several months of uncertainty surrounding MSU’s status here, upon losing accreditation.

It left students, faculty, employees and many others in our region wondering if anything could be salvaged of the Beckley-based university - until UC stepped up.

Without UC, the void that MSU would have caused in our area would have been devastating to many.

UC has currently hired 65 former MSU faculty and staff members in Beckley and three in Martinsburg.

Dr. Jerry Forster will serve as area president and direct UC’s operations at both locations.

Forster has become involved in Beckley since his appointment in October, an important step in becoming integrated with the local community. We’re glad he’s here and already engaged with the area. We look forward to his continued leadership.

UC-Beckley will help our area, educationally, economically and culturally.

The year of 2012 meant the wide spectrum of things in terms of higher education in Beckley.

What looked to be terribly devastating news several months ago has evolved into very promising news.

Our hats are off to the folks at UC for taking on the challenge, one that now accomplished, will pay dividends for many years to come.