WLU prepares to celebrate 184 years of history with a Founders Day video

For most students, their home has been found right here on the hilltop. However, what most students don’t know is how rich in history West Liberty truly is. Students will have the chance to learn about WLU’s history on Tuesday, March 30 through a virtual celebration on Topper Station.

The celebration will consist of a greeting from President Evans, music from WLU’s choirs, a poetry reading from Laureate Marc Harshman, comments from SGA president Isabella Yakicic, and a concluding video from the Office of Marketing and Brand Management.

“As a student of the university I am extremely honored to be a part of the celebration of West Liberty’s history as a higher education institute. I am grateful Dr. Larance thought of me to represent our on campus newspaper, The Trumpet, to discuss our centennial and our celebrations for such an extraordinary achievement,” said Annalise Murphy, a sophomore criminal justice and journalism major.

In 1837, West Liberty Academy was founded as a private academy through the Virginia legislature before West Virginia was even a state. Then in 1838, the first class of the academy was on 65 students who met for lessons in Reverend Nathan Shotwell’s home.
The academy was run by principals, Nathan Shotwell serving as the first, up until the year 1918. From that year on, the school was run by a president, John C. Shaw serving as the school’s first ever president. Currently, President Evans is the 37 president to serve West Liberty University.

Interestingly enough, West Liberty University is the fifth name that the school has been named. The school was first known as West Liberty Academy from 1837 to 1870. Then from 1870 to 1931 the name changed to West Liberty Normal School. From there it became West Liberty State Teachers College from 1931 to 1943. The name was changed again from 1943 to 2009 to West Liberty State College. Then in 2009 the name changed to one all Hilltoppers know, West Liberty University.
“It is exciting to be president of the state’s oldest public institution. I enjoy telling people that West Liberty has existed for 184 years, and it is still shaping the lives and minds of individuals. Without a doubt this institution has always a difference for this area, state, and region for almost two centuries; and I have no doubt that it will always make a difference in this world,” said President Evans.

A special thanks goes out to assistant provost, professor of English and interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Jeremy Larance, executive director of Alumni Relations and University Special Projects, Ron Witt, and media relations director, Maureen Zambito. The three have served as the founder’s day committee planners in making West Liberty University’s 184 birthday one Hilltoppers will never forget!