Campus Provost Kerry Odell to Address Potomac State Graduates


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Campus Provost Kerry Odell

Campus Provost Kerry Odell, Ph.D., will deliver keynote remarks this year at Potomac State College (PSC) of West Virginia University’s (WVU) 109th Annual Commencement Ceremony. The event will be held Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m., in the Church-McKee Arts Center. Dr. Odell announced in August 2011 that he would be stepping down as campus provost on June 30, 2012. 

Dr. Odell came to Potomac State College of West Virginia University in July 2003 as interim president. In July 2005, when the College became a fully integrated division of WVU, Dr. Odell was chosen to serve as the campus provost. (Under legislation passed in 2003, Potomac State became a division of WVU on July 1, 2005 with a provost rather than a regional campus president.) 

During his nine-year tenure, Dr. Odell has led the charge for change especially to campus facilities. In fall 2007, University Place opened, a $19 million residential complex featuring suites with semi-private bathrooms, study areas, fitness center, theater, and two dining options. That same fall, an indoor riding arena totaling 27, 500 square feet was constructed to support the recently added equine major.

In February 2008, the campus celebrated the official opening of the connector, a construction project joining the Administration Building and Academy Hall. The three-story connector provided elevator service to both buildings making them accessible and compliant with The Americans with Disabilities Act. 

In October 2009, the College rededicated the Mary F. Shipper Library marking the completion of renovations to the building’s infrastructure, interior and furnishings. That following summer, enhancements continued with the construction of a redesigned main entrance.  

During the 2010 summer, the Church-McKee Arts Center plaza was renovated with a new concrete pad, bench-type bleachers and enhanced landscaping.

Most recently, the College purchased the former Potomac Valley Hospital on Mineral Street and is in the process of renovating it to become Potomac State’s newest residence hall, Catamount Place, for approximately 50 students. 

Other initiatives under Dr. Odell’s leadership included the addition of the four-year bachelor of applied science degree program with emphases in Business Management and Criminal Justice; increased enrollment to an all-time high of 1, 800 students and the College receiving gifts in excess of one million dollars from the Ruth Ann Davis estate, the largest contribution in the history of the College.

Dr. Odell has served as a member of The Greater Cumberland Committee, the Keyser Rotary Club and the Keyser Lions Club. He also served on the Board of the Mineral County Development Authority, the Eastern Area Health Education Center Board of Directors, Mineral County United Way Board of Directors, and Hardy County Schools Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee. 

Before becoming interim president at PSC, Dr. Odell served as an associate professor of agricultural and environmental education in WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences. He also served as the college’s associate dean for academic affairs and development from 1994-2000. 

He has a doctorate from Ohio State University, a master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and an associate’s degree from State University of New York at Alfred.