FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 15, 2013
For more information:
Bob Henry Baber
Public Relations Department
Glenville State College
GLENVILLE, WV—Glenville State College President Dr. Peter Barr will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Create, West Virginia conference in Richwood (Nicholas County), West Virginia. Barr’s presentation is titled ‘Economic Development: Improvisation and Patience’ and will be given on Thursday, October 24th at 3:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. The panel discussion, ‘Becoming Great at Sharing, Evaluating, and Embracing New Ideas,’ will include Williamson (Mingo County), West Virginia Mayor Darrin McCormick and Jim Matuga, creator of West Virginia’s first private enterprise co-working space in Morgantown.
Barr is a Huntington (Cabell County), West Virginia native who has worked extensively in education and economic development in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he conducted the study and helped secure funding for the Carolina Bays Parkway. He assumed the Glenville State College presidency in July 2006.
“I am pleased and excited to lend my voice and energy to the Create, West Virginia Conference in Richwood. Many Appalachian towns must diversify their economies, but we also have to take advantage of our assets, realize our collective histories, and maximize our educational opportunities. It isn’t easy here or anywhere. But I believe that if we connect the dots, act as catalysts to each other, and forget the credit, we can and will move forward,” said Barr.
Since Dr. Barr’s arrival at Glenville State College, downtown Glenville, the region, and even the state have been positively changed by his collaborative leadership style. For example, GSC’s lauded ‘Hidden Promise Scholars Program’ continues to flourish. Over 40 county school districts allied with GSC to increase the number of high school and college graduates as well as align K-12 and higher education curriculums. During the school year, students are mentored and summer camps are offered to 8th through 12th graders to improve their academic skills and expose them to cultural programs and trips, both on and off-campus.
During his tenure, the long-abandoned Glenville Kinney Shoe Factory was reclaimed and transformed into the Morris Criminal Justice Training Center where the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority, Corrections, and Juvenile Services officers are trained and criminal justice classes are held for GSC students.
Also during his time at GSC, a 26-million dollar residence hall opened on campus, and the 27-million dollar Waco Center will open later this year sporting a 2,500 seat conference and athletic arena, new classrooms and labs for Land Resources studies, and a local access medical center.
Other initiatives spearheaded by Barr include the ‘Adoption of Yeager Airport’ by the Land Resources Department and the West Virginia Veterans’ Legacy Project. The Yeager project resulted in the planting of 10,000 trees by Barr, faculty, staff, and hundreds of students to reclaim a moved mountain. Nearly 250 veterans were interviewed for the veterans’ project, which led to the production of a ‘Heroes Among Us’ book, a ‘A Tradition of Service’ documentary that aired on WV Public Broadcasting, and a traveling veterans photography exhibit.
In downtown Glenville, college employees renovated a run-down storefront, which became the Small Business Development Center and supported the creation of a new city park with a gazebo, benches, and a large clock in the central commercial district. The purchase and demolition of dilapidated structures around the periphery of the campus and in Glenville continues to be a high priority.
Create West Virginia Director Rebecca Kimmons said, “We are pleased that Dr. Barr will join the other panelists in addressing these questions, ‘Is it true that small Appalachian towns are not the most open to new ideas and the people that offer them? And if so, should we seek to change that and how would we realistically make that happen?’’”
For more information about Barr’s presentation at the conference, contact the GSC Public Relations and Marketing Department at (304) 462-4115.