History

A History of WVU Parkersburg

WVU Parkersburg was founded in 1961 as the Parkersburg Branch of West Virginia University. In 1971, it became Parkersburg Community College, one of the state’s first comprehensive community colleges. Three years later, the college established its Jackson County Center in Ripley. The institution was renamed West Virginia University at Parkersburg in 1989 and rejoined West Virginia University as a regional campus. State legislation created a statewide network of independently-accredited community and technical colleges in 2008. This allowed WVU Parkersburg to become an independent institution while maintaining affiliation with WVU.

1957
1961
1965
1967
1969
1971
1971
1975
1976
1989
1995
1999
2008
2015
2018

1957

History 1957

An enthusiastic group of individuals meet at the Wood County Courthouse to advocate for a Parkersburg institution of higher learning. Later, a 30-person committee was formed to assist in the pursual of such an establishment.

1961

History 1961

The Parkersburg Branch of West Virginia University opens in the old Madison school building at the intersection of Emerson Avenue and 31st Street; 104 student enroll in classes.

1965

History 1965

Wood County citizens pass a bond issue that, with matching federal funds, provides $3.6 million to build and educational complex provided by the the Wood County Court.

1967

History 1967

The branch’s first commencement ceremony is held in the sanctuary at the First United Presbyterian Church. There are 37 students in the graduating class, all receiving Associate in Arts degrees.

1969

History 1969

The first WVU Parkersburg Center nursing graduates receive their diplomas in May.

1971

History 1971

The institution becomes Parkersburg Community College following legislative action to create a comprehensive community college system for West Virginia of two freestanding community colleges.

1971

History 1971

The college hires Madam Shao Sheng, the first native of China to teach at Parkersburg Community College.

1975

History 1975

The Jackson County and Tri-County centers are opened in Ripley, W.Va. and Sistersville, W.Va respectively to offer off-campus enrollment.

1976

History 1976

Parkersburg Community College hosts California Governor Ronald Reagan on May 4, 1976 during his presidential primary campaign. In 1984, he makes another visit to Wood County, as president, and speaks at the Parkersburg High School field house.

1989

History 1989

Dedication Weekends marks the West Virginia Legislature establishing the college as West Virginia University at Parkersburg, a regional campus of West Virginia University. The $3.9 million multi-purpose facility also opens, which consisted of an assembly hall, cafeteria, classrooms, meeting rooms and a teleconference room.

1995

History 1995

The new Jackson County Center opens.

1999

History 1999

The Caperton Center of Applied Technology opens, featuring a unique partnership of education, business, industry and labor between the public and higher education.

2008

History 2008

West Virginia legislation establishes new governance structure for state community colleges. WVU Parkersburg becomes an independent institution while maintaining an association with West Virginia University.

2015

History 2015

WPKM 96.3 The Beet first airs at WVU Parkersburg becoming the state’s first community college radio station.

2018

History 2016

The WVU Parkersburg Entrepreneur Center hosts its grand opening on September 6 in the Workforce & Economic Development building. The center provides public access to technologies such as 3D printing, CNC machining, laser cutting, Arduino (electronic prototyping platform), industrial-capable sewing, and more.

College Bell

College Bell

The college bell is originally from the Emerson Avenue school building where the Parkersburg Branch of West Virginia was established in the fall of 1961. It is used in campus ceremonies, including Commencement.

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