West Liberty University in West Virginia Names Its First Black President in Its 183-Year History

The board of governors of West Liberty University in West Virginia has named W. Franklin Evans the university’s 37th president. When he takes office on January 1, Dr. Evans will be the first African-American president in the university’s 183-year history.

West Liberty University, located in the northern panhandle of West Virginia near Wheeling, is a state-operated educational institution that enrolls about 2,200 undergraduate students and slightly more than 300 graduate students according to the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up just 3 percent of the undergraduate student body.

“It is a great honor being selected as the next president of West Liberty University, the oldest and most historic public institution in the state,” Dr. Evans said. “I am grateful to the West Liberty University board of governors for its confidence and support in my selection to lead this amazing institution.”

For the past four years, Dr. Evans has been president of Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina. He is the former provost and chief academic officer at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, where he also served as interim president. Earlier in his career, he was vice president of academic affairs at Virginia Union University in Richmond.

Dr. Evans is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he majored in entomology. He holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in higher education administration from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

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