Office of the President

President Christopher Gilmer

Chris Gilmer is President of West Virginia University at Parkersburg. Coming to West Virginia from Mississippi, he is a first-generation college graduate from a poor, rural sharecropping family, a fact in which he takes pride rather than shame. He was a statistic with low societal expectations before he was even born, and his simple message to students is this: “I am not special in any way. If I can do it, you can do it.” Dr. Gilmer spent most of his career as an administrator and faculty member in the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) system, most recently as Executive Director of the Vicksburg, Mississippi Campus of Alcorn State University, the oldest public land-grant HBCU in America. He also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Adams State University, the oldest federally-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) in Colorado. Dr. Gilmer earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern Mississippi and is a tenured Professor of Humanities at WVU Parkersburg. He was the inaugural national chair of a network of technical assistance centers for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions, and has been a senior consultant for the U.S. Department of Education’s regional educational labs and comprehensive technical assistance centers for 15 years. A published author with deep expertise in developmental education, a field which prepares academically underprepared students for college success, Dr. Gilmer is Founder of the National Institutes for Historically-Underserved Students. His research and teaching interests focus on equity and inclusion with the literature of marginalized populations as his primary texts. He and his husband, David Creel, are humans-in-waiting to Stella and Vestal Pearl the Presidential Poodles.

Contact Information
Phone: 304-424-8351

Executive Staff

Alice Harris

Executive Vice President,
Finance & Administration

Financial Aid

Business Office

Chad Crumbaker J.D.

Provost & Executive Vice President,
Academic & Student Affairs




Dr. Steven Smith

Vice President, Enrollment Management
CEO, Jackson County Center

Jackson County Center

Dr. Torie Jackson

Vice President,
Institutional Advancement

Institutional Advancement

Brady Whipkey

Vice President & Chief of Staff,




President’s Cabinet

Conversations with Chris

January 22, 2020
Dr. Chris Gilmer, President   Where I come from, cooking is how we ” good…
November 12, 2019
Dr. Chris Gilmer, President   The National Institutes for Historically-Underserved Students Think Tank has once…
August 29, 2019
Dr. Chris Gilmer, President   In my life, I have met a few truly great…
July 1, 2019
Dr. Chris Gilmer, President   It was a special moment to come home to Tougaloo…
June 26, 2019
Dr. Chris Gilmer, President   Once in a very rare while, you have an experience…
June 14, 2019
Dr. Chris Gilmer, President   I have some dreams for WVU Parkersburg which will be…


One thought on “What Are Your Dreams?

  1. I grew up within a couple of blocks of my elementary and middle schools. Because of this, I ended up arriving at school early and helping to coordinate physical education classes for kindergartners and other groups, my early foray into teaching. When I hit middle school, I arrived about an hour early one day and saw a group of students on the wooden bleachers in the old gym. Some were attempting to do their homework, other simply slept.

    I asked about them and was told that they rode the “early bus.” They lived far out in the hills and a bus had to go and get them first, drop them off at school, and then head out to pick up another group of students. I realized then that these students had to get up ridiculously early to do their farm chores, ride the bus, and then sit on the wooden bleachers, all before they stepped foot in a classroom.

    I instantly saw their competitive disadvantage and, because I had attended grade school with many of them as well, understood that that daily effort was negatively impacting their academic achievement. It simply was not an even playing field and no one seemed to notice. I remember imagining what a difference it would make to have an option that would lessen the need for busing.

    Fifteen years later at Ohio State, thinking of these same students, I jumped at the opportunity to develop some of the first online courses, and ended up offering the first faculty trainings for online learning at Ohio University as well. While that was gratifying, I couldn’t help but focus on the inequalities of broadband access, and I dreamt of the day when text-based online courses would give way to true multimedia teaching and learning that could be delivered out into our WV hollers and provide access to state-of-the-art learning experiences.

    Twenty years later, my dream is becoming reality. We just purchased Zoom for WVU Parkersburg. Zoom delivers online web conferencing services and we are their first formal .edu account in West Virginia. We will be able to broadcast all over WV (and elsewhere) from our own classrooms, offices and even smartphones.

    Zoom has a vision for a video-enabled campus that can positively impact our academic and career advising and tutoring, faculty and staff recruiting, faculty online office hours, online program orientation and coordination, and the delivery of webinars for WED. Not only can we reach those students that concerned me so much, we can communicate and extend services to faculty located remotely as well. It’s my dream plus a whole lot more!

    I’m very excited about the future at WVU Parkersburg and grateful for the chance to implement my dream!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *