MSU holds final commencement - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

MSU holds final commencement


BECKLEY (WVVA) - Wednesday night marked the end of an era in Raleigh County as the final graduating class at Mountain State University received their diplomas.

After struggling with accreditation issues, MSU will cease to exist at the end of the year. The University of Charleston will take over campus operations for the Spring 2013 term.

Mountain State was founded as Beckley College in 1933. In 1991 the name was changed to the College of West Virginia. The change to MSU came 10 years later.

The school's turmoil began in 2011 when the undergraduate nursing program lost its accreditation.

In January 2012, the school's longtime president Dr. Charles Polk was fired.

In July, the Higher Learning Commission elected to withdraw full accreditation from the school. An appeal by the school was unsuccessful.

In the wake of the accreditation loss, MSU laid off approximately half its work force and began advising students to seek education alternatives.

In August, it was announced that the University of Charleston would take over operations at MSU's campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg -- as well as their online operations -- when their accreditation officially expired at the year's end.

View's previous reports on the Mountain State accreditation saga

The year of uncertainty has been stressful on students and faculty alike who spoke to WVVA's Caroline Bach ahead of Wednesday night's ceremony.

"Going every day not knowing if you're actually going to graduate, if you're doing it for nothing -- it was just really, really scary," said Christina Acord.

Some graduates say even with diplomas in-hand, the troubles the school has endured lead to an uncertain future.



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