Higher Education Policy Commission reaffirms board leadership


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) elected its slate of officers for the next year, selecting Michael J. Farrell as its chairman for his third consecutive term.  At its June 14 meeting, the state’s higher education coordinating board also re-elected Andrew “Drew” Payne as vice chairman and Diana Lewis Jackson as secretary.  The Commission provides analytical and support services to the Executive Branch, Legislature and each of the four-year universities and colleges.  Its staff provides the same services to the West Virginia Community and Technical College System and its two-year institutions.

Farrell, a Huntington lawyer and founding member of the Farrell, White & Legg PLLC law firm, previously served as interim president of Marshall University and 11 years as a member of its board of governors.  He has served seven years on the Commission, and has been its chairman since 2016.  Payne, a financial services businessman from White Sulphur Springs, became vice chairman of the Commission last year after serving on the Commission since 2013.  Lewis Jackson, an entrepreneur based in Morgantown, has served on the Commission for two years.  Both Payne and Lewis Jackson previously served on the West Virginia University Board of Governors with Payne having served as its chairman for two years.

Following the vote on the slate of officers by the Commission, Farrell thanked the group for its confidence in him to serve as chair, and praised the service of his fellow officers.  He expressed great confidence in the leadership of Sarah Armstrong Tucker as the interim chancellor and predicted a very successful year for the Commission.  He noted that the Legislature is deeply invested in promoting post-secondary education and that the Commission is poised to assist its constituent institutions as well as both the Governor and Legislature in achieving all of their higher education goals.

“It’s an exciting time for the Commission, and we have our work cut out for us during the next year,” Farrell said.  “This includes the hiring of a permanent chancellor in the spring of 2020 and keeping the momentum going for the case for higher education in West Virginia.”  Farrell concluded his observations by confirming that “West Virginia’s future will depend on educating and retaining our young men and women.”

Other Commission members include James Dailey of Martinsburg, Dale Lowther of Parkersburg, Donna L. Schulte of Princeton, Steven L. Paine, ex-officio, of Charleston and Bob Brown, ex-officio, of Charleston.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is responsible for developing, establishing and overseeing the implementation of a public policy agenda for the state’s four-year colleges and universities.  The Commission has and will continue to support the West Virginia public higher education institutions in meeting their respective missions and the policy provisions enacted in the West Virginia Code.

The next meeting of the full Commission is Friday, September 27, 2019.

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