POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Though the anniversary was silver, it was nothing but green and white this week when Marshall University’s Mid-Ohio Valley Center (MOVC) celebrated 25 years of providing educational opportunities to the area.
“MOVC means a lot to me. They gave me a second chance and have been there repeatedly for me,” Hannah McCormick, a social work senior, said. “They have seen me cry, but they have also pushed me to succeed. It isn’t just a school to me, it’s like a second home and the people there are like family.”
The MOVC is a branch of Marshall University located in Point Pleasant. The campus offers a variety of core classes, as well as other specialized programs.
“The fact that its been here 25 years is fantastic and shows a long commitment to this region and a long commitment to serving Mason County and West Virginia,” Marshall President Jerome Gilbert said.
MOVC was created with a need for higher education in the area. The creation of the satellite campus does not have an original origin other than Homer Preece, director of MOVC, who had a dream.
“When I was talking with Dr. Spears I said, one day, if I work really hard and we grow, can I have my own building,” Preece recalled. “And Keith was the type of guy who would promise you anything to get you to work harder but he did not understand my competitiveness. I had a vision in my head.”
The first class taught through MOVC was taught at Wahama High school with 11 students. There were about 245 students when talks of the building started. Once the building opened there were about 400 students enrolled. The campus currently serves between 800-900 students, according to Preece.
It took about six years from the first class taught to the opening of the MOVC building and opportunities, said Preece.
“In the beginning, we had a lot of part-time people. Adults. Probably at that time it was 95% adults versus 18 year olds because they never had the opportunity to go to college,” Preece continued. “Huntington was just too far away because they had family responsibilities, they had jobs. And most of our classes were in the evening and now we have kind of reversed.”
While the numbers of nontraditional students to traditional students have reversed since the opening, Preece said they have room for everyone.
“We’re here for them. We’ve got the RBA program (Regents Bachelor’s of Arts), we have some nontraditional people going into the nursing program, into the social work program,” Preece said. “I’m here to provide opportunities for students whether they know it yet or not.”
The MOVC campus property was donated by Pleasant Valley Hospital. The building was expanded to add labs from the growing nursing program around 2013, Preece said.
“This campus, much like our campus in South Charleston gives students a chance to get the college experience without going to a large college setting like the Huntington campus,” Gilbert said. “So, it’s a nice transition for those students who might not be sure about going away and spending their first year or two in a large campus. It’s a great transitional facility.”
“I’m just amazed of the number of people that have gone through these doors,” Preece said. “And I’m just so happy for this tri-county area and that we’re here for them.”
Also speaking at the event were MOVC Advisory Board Chair John Sang and Michael J. Farrell, a former member of Marshall’s Board of Governors and interim president of the university. Mason County Commission President Rick Handley delivered a proclamation of support and well wishes were given by representatives from the offices of U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, as well as Congresswoman Carol Miller.
Brittany Hively is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. She is a student a Marshall University studying journalism and public relations. She writes for MU’s “The Parthenon.” Reach her at email@example.com.