After 10 years as president for West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Dr. Marie Foster Gnage has announced that she will not renew her contract after June 30. The Board of Governors is planning for an interim president and a nationwide search for Gnage’s replacement.
“My time at WVU Parkersburg has been significant for me both professionally and personally,” said Gnage. “I’ve formed a deep connection to the community here. And while I will greatly miss the faculty, staff and students, I feel confident I am leaving the college in a better place than when I arrived.”
After 2008 legislation changed the college from a regional campus of West Virginia University to a stand-alone community college, Gnage took measures to ensure that WVU Parkersburg would thrive as an independent institution. Throughout her tenure, she has provided leadership and support as
WVU Parkersburg has grown in the number of students, programs, buildings and locations.
“Although the college is losing a great leader, we certainly wish Dr. Gnage well on her future endeavors,” said WVU Parkersburg Board of Governors chair Gerard El Chaar. “Her tireless efforts combined with a keen sense for making things happen have succeeded in making our institution the best it has ever been.”
Gnage became the first female and the first African-American president of WVU Parkersburg in 2004. She is the second-longest serving president for WVU Parkersburg. In 2012, Gnage was elected to serve as Board Chair for the American Association of Community Colleges, becoming the first community college president from West Virginia to serve and to be elected to this national organization.
During Gnage’s 10 years as president, she led the college through the development of the strategic plan and the campus safety plan. She was instrumental in ensuring that deferred maintenance was addressed regarding the college’s facilities and also improving the campus’s overall aesthetics and functionality. During Gnage’s presidency, WVU Parkersburg has:
- Expanded the main campus with additions of the Applied Technology Center and the Center for Early Learning and added the Downtown Center location in Parkersburg;
- Increased the number of bachelor degree programs offered from two to 12; and
- Reached record enrollment numbers, becoming one of the state’s largest institutions of higher education.