Though a historically Black public college, the West Virginia State University is now a racially diverse university. Through the years, it had evolved into a fully accessible, multi-generational educational institution that offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees.
Established in 1891 as the West Virginia Colored Institute, it was a land-grant under the second Morrill Act. It was one of the institutions across 17 states that had segregated schools. The school initially provide the equivalent of a high school education and vocational training to African-American students. They also offered teacher preparation for the state’s other segregated system of pubic schools. In 1915, they started offering college courses, and the school was renamed as the West Virginia Collegiate Institute. It was later on changed to West Virginia State College.
The institute went through a major transformation in 1954, after the Brown decision to desegegate public education. Surrendering its land-grant status, the West Virginia State College was incorporated into the general system of public colleges. In ten years, the college transformed from being an all-black school into a predominantly white student body. Its student population has also changed from being primarily residential to a heavily commuter school. Today, most of the students residing on campus are atill the African-Americans, as is most of the university’s administration.
The college has been granted its university status in 2004, and began offering graduate degrees in Biotechnology and Media Studies.
West Virginia State offers baccalaureate programs in Arts and Sciences. WVSU also has athletic programs for its students, with teams on football, basketball, track, baseball, tennis, softball and volleyball for both men and women. Its athletics teams, known as the Yellow Jackets compete in Division II of the NCAA.
The State university is only 9 miles out of Charleston. To get there, drive west towards Huntington on the I-64, and get of at exit 50 (Institute Exit). Turn left at the intersection, onto US Highway 25.
West Virginia State University
Rt #25, Institute
West Virginia 25112