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Cooperation will lead to state success

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  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

  • Political gains are wasted if health changes don't happen

    Political gains are wasted if health changes don't happen

    Friday, September 12 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-09-12 12:00:30 GMT
    West Virginia is the most obese state in the world's most obese nation, according to an annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.
    West Virginia is the most obese state in the world's most obese nation, according to an annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.
  • Big announcements should spur positive action

    Big announcements should spur positive action

    Friday, September 5 2014 9:50 AM EDT2014-09-05 13:50:45 GMT
    Our state's natural gas industry is growing in amazing ways. Just this week, it was announced that Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and AGL Resources are proposing a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with natural gas supplies from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
    Our state's natural gas industry is growing in amazing ways. Just this week, it was announced that Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and AGL Resources are proposing a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with natural gas supplies from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
  • Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:00:23 GMT
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.

West Virginia University and Marshall University are two great schools that each have very important missions — to train and educate students from the Mountain State and beyond to be leaders.

Because they are the two biggest schools in a very small state, a natural rivalry has developed. This competition has not been confined to athletic venues. It’s played out elsewhere, often leading to tension, and sporadic bouts of outright hostility, between the two schools.

Enter WVU President E. Gordon Gee and Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp. Rather than fall further apart, these two are directing their institutions to enter a new era of cooperation.

We support this move and say that it is long, long overdue. Gee recently visited Huntington and Marshall. He and Kopp met privately and then Kopp took Gee on a campus tour, pointing out several of the school’s new construction projects and what they’re doing to expand and grow the institution. During a news conference hosted by Marshall, Gee — who served as WVU president in the early 1980s — remembered the “hand-to-hand combat” between the two schools. It’s clear those days are behind us.

Kopp and Gee announced plans to work with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the West Virginia Legislature to stem continued budget cuts to higher education. They also plan to find new, innovative ways to collaborate.

Kopp and Gee are assets not only to their schools, but also the entire state. Gee is more than a winning smile and a bow tie. He is one of the most respected and dynamic executives in his field. It’s clear that Kopp sees Marshall as more than just a stepping stone. He has been a committed leader for the Green and White for a number of years, with a tenure marked by improvement and problem solving. Rather than fight and bicker, the two men see the future as a place where the schools can find common ground. This will assuredly benefit their schools and, more importantly, make our state stronger. If only other state leaders would follow their lead.

Moving forward means making our young people — and all those who want to pursue an education — ready for life in the 21st century. Gee and Kopp clearly understand this. Being a college president is no easy task. Donors need to be kept happy, faculty and staff must be empowered and students must be both welcomed and challenged. Rather than get mired down in politics and sneering, these schools and these two men are standing strong for a better West Virginia.