Sights & Sounds: Bluefield State College transitions to Bluefield State University

At the stroke of midnight on June 30, 2022--the Historically Black College became a Historically Black University
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 2:42 PM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) -There is a lot in a name for Bluefield State which has officially transitioned from a college to a university.

The accolade was celebrated all week long through a series of community and philanthropic events. It culminated with a celebration of music, food and fellowship from currents students, alumni, members of other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and the community as a whole.

“This is my alma mater and so I wanted to be apart of this event and join in on the celebration because this is a milestone,” said Carla Ferguson from the class of 1997.

The director of alumni affairs Dr. Deidre Guyton has been a faculty member of the university for 32 years and remembers when this the name change was only a thought in the 1990s.

“We had talked about it in the nineties but to see it come to fruition--it’s like I said yesterday in 2020. February 2020 the governor [Jim Justice righted] a wrong when he actually signed Senate Bill 122 making Bluefield State a college because at the time it didn’t exist because Governor [William A. MacCorkle] never would sign it--now housing, football and now this.” (Read more about the signing here)

“Bluefield State University has of all the HBCUs it probably has one of the most unique histories ever,” said former chairman of the Board of Governors, Garry Moore who is now taking on the role of chancellor, “so because of that history it’s not time to shove it under the rug it’s time to exploit it and let people know we not only had a dream but we still have it.”

The college was founded in 1895 as Bluefield Colored Institute, a place to educate the children of African American coal miners--Guyton reflected on that storied history to present day in this interview in NPR--a history which the current President of the University also recognizes.

“Historically this college (now university) has stood for providing opportunities for people who had cultural, social or economic challenges and it’s been a opportunity who may have not had a chance to go to college somewhere else and so becoming a university allows us to continue perusing that mission, but also to raise our expectation to the quality of education that we can provide,” said Dr. Robin Capehart.

Watch above some of the sights and sounds from the night of celebration featuring the Allen Smith Band, Liquid Pleasure and the nation’s #1 Earth, Wind and Fire tribute band, Let’s Groove Tonight’ and emceed by WVVA reporter and anchor, Joshua Bolden.

See a gallery of moment in BSU history & heritage here.

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