West Liberty Presidential Candidates continue to visit campus this week (Part 2)


Annalise Murphy

Student Meeting

Dr. Jay Gatrell Student Meeting
Annalise Murphy, Editor

West Liberty University continues its search for president this week with the last two candidates visiting campus. Dr. Jay Gatrell visited campus on Nov. 5 and visited with staff, faculty, students, and participated in a campus tour.

Around 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, a meeting strictly for students took place in Kelly Theatre. This meeting was a chance for students to listen to Dr. Gatrell, listen to his experiences and comments, and ask questions on behalf of their own curiosities.

Only one student showed up to the meeting, and the recording of the student meeting can be viewed via TopperStation by following this link.

To start the meeting, Dr. Gatrell talked about where he currently works, past job experiments in the field of education, and why he wants to be a part of the West Liberty University community.

Currently, Dr. Gatrell is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Eastern Illinois University, where he also works as a Geography professor. Previous to working at Eastern Illinois, he has had the honor of working for a number of institutions where he held several academic roles throughout the years. To view more information on his previous job experiences, please visit this link to view his full CV.

Dr. Gatrell shared one of the reasons West Liberty is important to him is, “primarily the undergraduate focus. That is a unique type of institution. It is an institution that focuses on the faculty student relationship.” He went on further to explain that the student professor ratio offered here at West Liberty is special because it creates opportunities to expand and grow more, whereas bigger universities have more moving parts, which makes creating a student-professor connection more difficult to achieve.

Throughout the meeting, Dr. Gatrell continually said how excited he was to be at West Liberty. He earned his graduate degree at West Virginia University, and stated that he has “connections to the regions” and feels he is ready to “give back to the state” of W. Va.

Dr. Gatrell feels that the leadership of the university has to be engaged, and that he would “reconnect in an intentional and meaningful way” with the community of West Liberty. He also alluded to the idea of collaborating with student government to make campus life better for students saying that he will always “look for ways for student success.”

In the time of a global pandemic, picking a new president has proven to have some bumps in the road. However, Dr. Gatrell stated that he feels listening to the science regarding COVID-19 will help create strategies to help the community get back to normal.

Overall, Dr. Gatrell shared his love for West Liberty, our campus, and the commitment and love for learning and teaching that the University offers. “I think there is a lot of opportunity here. I think it’s a great institution. It’s a beautiful campus. And, it’s part of a world that I know.” Said Dr. Gatrell.

All of the meetings Dr. Gatrell had with staff, faculty, and students can be viewed on TopperStation. For more information regarding the Presidential Search, please email West Liberty Director of Media Relations, Maureen Zambito, at [email protected]

Be sure to voice your opinion by submitting a “Your Voice Matters” for each candidate. Please note that you must use and have access to your West Liberty email, you can only complete each form once, and your submission will be anonymous. If you would like to manually complete a form, please visit westliberty.edu/bog/, and scroll to the bottom of the page can click on the “Your Voice Matters” link. You can drop the manual forms in room 107 of Shaw Hall.