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WVU To Create ‘Purpose Institute’

Photo Courtesy of WVU/Brian Persinger West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee announces the creation of a Purpose Institute, the first of its kind on a college campus, during his State of the University address Monday in Morgantown.

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University, according to President E. Gordon Gee, will harness the power of purpose to transform higher education. To help in that mission, the university is creating a first-of-its-kind Purpose Institute.

WVU’s Purpose Institute will be the first one designed for a college campus, Gee said during his annual State of the University address Monday at the WVU College of Law’s Fitzsimmons Event Hall. It will create space and time for students to discover their life paths.

WVU will partner with Spence Group to set the institute in motion. A physical center is planned for the Morgantown campus.

“We must pursue education, health care and prosperity with a renewed and focused determination to transform West Virginia University into a purpose-driven leader in higher education,” Gee said. “The center will help prospective students and employees, as well as current students, faculty, staff and alumni discover–or rediscover–their purpose and place in the world, and then help them chart the path forward.”

WVU, its faculty and its students work not only for themselves, but for others, Gee said, which he stated was different from other institutions around the nation.

“Having that sense of purpose is special, “Gee said. “Now is our time to fully embrace that feeling and turn it to action.”

Gee also announced changes in academics and the student experience. WVU will revamp Project 168, which will formally recognize and provide a record of students’ extracurricular efforts. Those who participate in Project 168 will be given a coach to help create a self-paced experience, which will be personalized to match the student’s interests.

WVU Engage will track participation and and when requirements have been met, students will receive a co-curricular transcript they can share with potential employers or graduate and professional schools.

Those who complete Project 168 will be invited to join a new honors society, the 168 Society.

At a time when resources are limited, needs are great, expectations are high, and threats are significant, Gee told the audience that universities cannot afford complacency.

“That is why academic transformation, led by Provost Maryanne Reed, recognizes that there is a fundamental change occurring in higher education,” Gee said, “and that we need to lead with purpose rather than follow.”


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