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Continuing the Momentum:
Chambers College Top Moments of 2021

2021 brought us back to campus and the classroom as we continued to support our mission to serve our students and state (safely) through the unpredictable track of COVID-19. The Chambers College team pressed forward with adaptability, acquiring new initiatives for the future and preparing for a changed world that will require us to innovate and adapt on our feet.

Here are a few of our proudest moments.

Propelling into the future of business: Reynolds Hall builds towards 2022 opening

The future of business rose along the skyline of Morgantown’s Waterfront with significant construction progress and four transformational gifts from our generous Chambers College friends, alumni and partners:

Reynolds Hall

2022 will bring significant milestones for the $100M capital project that will serve as a hub of entrepreneurship and experiential learning, with construction scheduled for completion in April and students taking their first classes in the space in August.

You can read more about Reynolds Hall, see a first look at our experiential learning labs, and learn about the vision that shaped the revolutionary learning complex from its namesakes, Bob and Laura Reynolds – in the January 2022 edition of Business Magazine.

How we R1: Chambers College faculty continued to solve problems through research

From creating copper-infused masks for the hospitality industry, to studying mental health in the workplace and the never-ending work of our Bureau of Business and Economic Research to forecast West Virginia’s economic outlook, our Chambers College faculty continued to move research forward in support of WVU’s R1 designation.

Read about some of our faculty’s research that is solving global problems over the past year below:

Enrollment on the rise: Chambers College welcomes largest incoming freshmen class

The Chambers College welcomed a record-breaking freshmen class with over 600 incoming business students in fall of ‘21. Read about how the Undergraduate Programs team keeps serving our students with heart and hustle from Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs Rebel Smith here. See a full list of our available undergraduate degrees here.

And it’s not just undergraduates – we enrolled over 600 graduate students this fall, too.

Our graduate programs enrollment has grown nearly 70 percent since the fall of 2018, thanks to the launch and continued growth of cutting-edge, fully-online programs like the Healthcare MBA, MS Economics, MS Cybersecurity and MS in Human Resource Leadership. Learn more about all of our available graduate programs here.

Josh HallA fearless new leader for the future of business: Chambers College welcomes new Milan Puskar Dean, Josh Hall

When Javier Reyes, who led the Chambers College for five years, started a new journey to lead the academic mission of University of Illinois at Chicago as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in August, a new leader emerged to continue the College’s momentum.

Josh Hall, who previously led the College as Economics Chair and Associate Dean for Research, started his journey as Milan Puskar Dean at the start of the fall semester, and didn’t miss a beat in innovating the Chambers College forward. Learn more about Dean Hall here.

Country Roads (and Vantage Ventures) led DataRobot to West Virginia

In a monumental step forward in the mission to make West Virginia a start-up state, global augmented intelligence leader DataRobot announced a partnership with WVU and set-up shop in Vantage Ventures, furthering the company’s mission to democratize AI through expanded hiring in software engineering, professional services, and customer support.

In their short time in the Mountain State, they’ve made an incredible impact. Stay tuned for an in-depth feature on their work in West Virginia in the January 2020 edition of Business Magazine.

Read more about DataRobot’s partnership with WVU here.

It’s all about the students.

The Chambers College is better resourced than ever to support our students. From the Chambers College Ambassador Program, designed for peer-to-peer support for business students, to tutoring support from our Academic Engagement Success Center, to the Chambers College Career and Internship Fair – which had record participation from 774 students in Fall of 2021 - our business students have the tools, support and resources needed to succeed.

Chambers grads

These resources work together to produce outcomes for our students. 605 business graduates turned their tassels during May 2021 commencement after a year of virtual everything, never letting a pandemic stop them from pursing their dreams. Hear more about their stories here.

Learn more about our centers and programs designed to encourage and support our students on their journeys to success:

Innovation works here.

The Chambers College Innovation Centers are supporting our student and state missions in measurable and impactful ways.

Vantage Ventures is partnering with fearless and relentless problem-solvers to build high impact, scalable companies. They’re on a mission to redefine what’s possible to radically disrupt and redefine innovation in our state and ensure economic opportunity for every West Virginian to benefit our own as well as people across the nation and the globe.

Their Executive Director, Sarah Biller, not only co-founded the Fintech Sandbox, but was also recently recognized as one of 2021’s Inspiring Fintech Female Founders by NYC Fintech Women. She was also named as a 2021 West Virginia Wonder Woman by WV Living Magazine.

An applied innovation center that supports WVU students with innovative ideas across every major, the Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab’s pitch competitions continue to be an important step to build the confidence and get the resources necessary to turn an innovative idea into reality. (Take the engineering student who participated in a pitch competition and then started a braked dog leash company, for example.)

The Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship supports community businesses through Grow with Google Workshops, offers business consulting and hosts the WV Statewide Business Plan Competitions at both the collegiate and high school levels.

Read more about how our innovation centers work together to produce entrepreneurship success stories here.

A visit from our namesake: John Chambers inspires innovative mindsets with words of wisdom

Chambers visit

John Chambers, Former Cisco CEO and current founder of JC2 Ventures, visited campus to offer words of wisdom to our WVU community in November at Vantage Ventures.

Chambers reminded us that this is our opportunity to change the lives of every citizen in the state – and that we are seeing real progress on our journey to become a start-up state through the work of the West Virginia Remote Worker Program ( Ascend WV), innovation projects like Hyperloop and DataRobot, and the commitment of WVU, Marshall and our state partners to make West Virginia a digital-first economy.

A different kind of science helps the Mountain State persevere through a pandemic

For data scientists Brad Price and Katherine Kopp, who formed Data Driven WV in 2019, big data has shaped their careers at WVU. In 2020, they developed a data-driven model that forecasts personal protective equipment use and surge conditions at hospitals and living facilities in West Virginia.

In 2021, Price and Kopp took it a step further and built a robust and agile digital inventory management system to track vaccine demand and inventory around the state, using experiential learning to bring their Business Data Analytics students to the table to help them activate it.

Read more about their innovative work to support the work of the WV Joint Interagency Task Force here.

A hopeful 2022 awaits

We hope you enjoyed looking back on some of our College’s proudest moments of 2021.

Wishing our Chambers College family – and all of our friends, supporters, alumni and partners across the world – a happy, healthy and hopeful 2022!

Stay up-to-date on Chambers College news by following us on social at @wvuchambers.



Chambers College