Mississippi educator picked as new WVUP president

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A new president has been chosen to lead West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

The school's board of governors on Monday voted to recommend Dr. Christopher Gilmer of Vicksburg, Miss. for the job.

The West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education still must approve his selection at its meeting on June 5.

Gilmer holds 25 years of experience in higher education as an administrator, professor, trainer, technical assistance provider, and grant writer with 15 years consulting experience providing training and technical assistance through the U.S. Department of Education's regional comprehensive center and educational labs networks.

“I will be a student-centered president, eager to listen and to learn from every member of the community willing to share with me," he said. "My door will be open to you, and WVU Parkersburg will be open to every person who wants to learn.

“Many great things are already happening at the college, and I will start on day one working with all stakeholders to determine how the university can fill an even more integral leadership and partnership role in the Mid-Ohio Valley.”

Gilmer is a first-generation college graduate from a rural Mississippi sharecropping family. He holds an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from East Central Community College, a Master of Arts in English from Mississippi College, and a Bachelor of Science and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Currently serving as executive director of Alcorn State University in Vicksburg, Miss., and as volunteer vice president for Academic and Sponsored Programs at Innovative Behavioral Services, Inc., a nonprofit for which he oversees fundraising for competitive grants, his research interests focus on developmental education and bridging the liberal arts with cultural, contemporary, and workplace relevance.

Four finalists were invited to campus during the past two weeks for a series of interviews and forums with the faculty, staff, students and the Board. Gilmer’s visit took place on May 10.

“I’d like to thank the search firm RH Perry & Associates and the selection committee, comprised of very dedicated community members, faculty, staff, and Board of Governors members, for their time and concerted efforts in this very extensive process,” said Board Chair Sam Winans. “We interviewed four incredible finalists, and Dr. Gilmer’s extensive knowledge, experience, and compassion for his work set him above the rest. We feel he will serve our campus and community very well as our next president.”