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50 years of Arts and Humanities


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Dear Colleagues, Students and Friends,

This year, West Virginia University will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The NEH and the NEA were created expressly to advance and advocate for the practice and study of the humanities and the arts in America. These endowments fund museums and public radio stations, support individual artists and scholars, and help keep the arts and the humanities in our education system at all levels.

So a big cake with 50 candles on it just doesn’t feel like enough.

Instead, we will celebrate all year.

We will highlight humanities and arts events already on the University calendar. Just to start us off, on September 17 we will celebrate both Constitution Day and the opening of a powerful exhibit of photojournalism from one of our Reed College of Media faculty members, Lois Raimondo.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the NEH and NEA into existence on September 29, 1965. We will commemorate the 50th anniversary of this historic event with a two-day campus celebration that will begin a year of events that highlight the arts and humanities. On September 29, I will premiere a video — featuring our own students and faculty — that articulates West Virginia University’s commitment to the arts and humanities, and then I am excited to invite the campus community to a free performance by the Amernet String Quartet at the Creative Arts Center. The next day, President Gee will show the video again to introduce the English Department’s annual Jackson Distinguished Lecture.

Specific details about all of the events that showcase the humanities and the arts on the WVU campus will be available here: The webpage will also be the place to find some big questions about the arts and the humanities — and to share your answers! And throughout this year, both on our webpage and in Mountaineer E-News, we will share stories about some of the truly outstanding scholars and practitioners who work, teach and learn on this campus.

I cannot wait for this celebration to begin — and I hope that it never really ends. Please mark your calendars, bookmark our webpage, and join me in marveling at all that the humanities and the arts offer to our world, to our community and to West Virginia University.


Joyce E. McConnell
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs