Randy Yohe Published

New West Virginia State University President Inaugurated

man with college seal on wall behind him
Dr. Ericke Cage. WVSU President
West Virginia State University

On his inauguration day, West Virginia State University President Ericke Cage spoke of preparing students for a new global economy. 

Cage joined the university in July 2021 as vice president and chief of staff and was subsequently appointed by the WVSU Board of Governors as the university’s chief operating officer on July 30, 2021. 

Speaking before his Thursday investiture ceremony on WVSU’s Institute campus, Cage said he would double down on the historically black university’s history of excellence in education. He said a key was ensuring that curriculum aligns with the needs of an advancing workforce.

We’re certainly going to be responsive to the needs of this new environment,” Cage said. “We’re going to look at how we’re delivering courses, what type of courses we’re delivering, ensuring that we’re meeting the needs of this workforce and the needs of our students.” 

Representatives from universities throughout the state joined in the pomp and circumstance of the investiture. Marshall President Brad Smith described the bond among West Virginia’s institutions of higher education. 

“Our universities are an ecosystem, we complement each other,” Smith said. “We all share the same common goal – to prepare our youth for the next chapter of the economy and the next chapter of society. So working with West Virginia State University has been Marshall University’s privilege.”

Leaders from universities around the state attended Cage’s inauguration. Credit: Randy Yohe/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

WVSU was among the state institutions opposed to Senate Bill 10, the Campus Self-Defense Act, also known as campus carry, allowing the concealed carry of firearms on school grounds. Cage said the school has comprehensive plans in place in terms of implementation. 

“We are in the process of setting up a task force because we have a year to implement it,” he said. “The taskforce will include stakeholders from across the campus. We want folks to come to the table and talk about how we can best implement this, making sure that we have the tools in place to ensure that we’re keeping our community safe.”

Cage said when it comes to educating students for a productive future, he takes great pride in the school’s legacy as a historically black college or university (HBCU).

“It’s the basis upon which we were founded. It’s really about access and inclusion,” Cage said. “Since 1954, West Virginia State University has transitioned into what we fondly call a living laboratory of human relations. Our student body is wildly diverse, and we take great pride in that. I think our HBCU heritage will continue to inform our commitment to access and inclusion to a higher education degree.”

The new president is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in leadership studies. He holds a doctorate from the Rutgers University Law School and a masters of law degree in litigation and dispute resolution from George Washington University. He is also a graduate of the United States Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College and the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

A WVSU press release when Cage was named president noted that under his leadership, the university was able to obtain historic levels of state funding for its land-grant programs and Healthy Grandfamilies program during the 2022 state legislative session. 

Cage becomes West Virginia State University’s 13th President.