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Whipkey named senior advisor and chief of staff at WVU Potomac State College

KEYSER, W.Va. – When Brady Whipkey was growing up on a little farm in Calhoun County, he knew a few things: he loved his country and wanted to serve it; he would always be a defender of the underdog and a fighter for those who could not defend themselves; and he wanted to leave his corner of the world a little better than he found it.

As the new senior advisor and chief of staff to the campus president at WVU Potomac State College, he continues along the path that started 45 years ago on the backroads of West Virginia.

Coming to Keyser from West Virginia University at Parkersburg, where he served as chief of staff to the president, vice president for facilities, and secretary to the board of governors, Whipkey reunited at WVU PSC with Campus President Chris Gilmer on whose senior staff he served during the entirety of Gilmer’s presidency in Parkersburg.

Whipkey moved to Keyser and joined the leadership team on the PSC campus mid-February, and his wife April and their 11-year-old twins, Autumn and Avery, will join him permanently when the school year concludes for the twins in Parkersburg. Their adult children, Joseph and Allie, are already living independently, but look forward to visiting their family in their new mountain home. The twins will be students in the Mineral County Public Schools this fall, and the Whipkeys are looking to purchase a home and settle here permanently.

“I served six presidents during a long tenure at WVU Parkersburg. Loyalty is the trait I admire most. It was not easy to move my family from the only home they have ever known and to leave a workplace to which I had made such a long commitment, but when the opportunity of a lifetime calls, an even higher kind of loyalty kicks in,” Whipkey said. He and his wife wanted their children to have the opportunity to grow up in small town West Virginia and experience the values that formed their parents first-hand—hard work, honesty, dedication to family and community, and living close to the land.

“We knew that we wanted this life for our children, and I wanted a chance to take what my journey has taught me so far and share it in a small town and on a residential campus with beautiful farms, a family-like atmosphere, strong academic programs, a proud athletic tradition, and most of all a commitment to serving students,” Whipkey added.

In his new role, Whipkey will manage the Office of the Campus President and special projects. Some of his initial projects will be coordinating the leadership team that manages the integration of academic programs in agriculture with farm operations, leading the exploration of a new fully online degree program in veterans advocacy, coordinating a new partnership with the National Institutes for Historically-Underserved Students, working alongside the campus president in securing external financial resources and building new strategic partnerships, serving as the primary liaison to the campus president, and along with the campus president as a primary liaison between WVU PSC and the WVU system, including serving as PSC’s primary liaison to the WVU police. Whipkey will work in close partnership with the faculty who often assume leadership roles for projects which have an academic component, as well as with administration, staff, students, and the community. Whipkey acknowledges that the faculty are the content experts with training and expertise needed to lead academic endeavors for students, and he sees the administration’s role as supporting the faculty in achieving the mission of the college.

“It is common practice for new presidents to bring valued members of their teams with them to new presidential appointments,” Gilmer said. “When I was given the opportunity to lead WVU Potomac State College, I asked for two things. I asked to come as an interim campus president to prove myself to the people here and earn the job, and for the chance to bring my most trusted and proven work partner with me. Brady walked every step I walked during my first presidency and was an essential partner in reconnecting WVUP to the communities it serves, opening a new full-service health clinic on campus, bringing in millions of dollars in competitive grants, launching and doubling the goals of the college’s first major fundraising campaign, and so many other endeavors. I have confidence in him, in partnership with the wonderful team here, to generate equally transformative results for Potomac State College,” Gilmer added.

Gilmer transitioned from the interim campus presidency into the permanent campus presidency of the college in January, and Whipkey joined the team in Keyser in February. In Parkersburg, Whipkey was a member of the Rotary Club of Parkersburg and served on the Boards of Directors of the West Virginia Center for Civic Life, the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of Parkersburg, and the Blennerhassett Island Historical Foundation. He continues on the Board of North Star Child Advocacy Center, a nonprofit serving abused children. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving primarily in military security and military intelligence including two tours of duty in South Korea, receiving two Army Commendation Medals and two Army Achievement Medals.

“Brady is a welcomed addition to our PSC team. He is student focused and exudes a commitment for student success. He wasted no time becoming involved in the day-to-day operations. It is obvious that he will have a positive impact on every facet of academics and operations,” said Dr. Heidi Samuels, Chair of the Division of Applied Sciences at the college.

PSC’s softball coach and long-time Keyser resident Craig Rotruck agrees: "It's great to welcome Brady and his family to the community. We need more families adding their talents to the many talents already here at WVU PSC, in Keyser and Mineral County, in our schools, neighborhoods, and civic organizations. Brady has already been an active supporter of our athletic programs and is bringing new ideas to help our farms and agriculture programs move forward. His leadership of facilities management and security at WVU Parkersburg will be a great addition to our strong team, and we know he will work alongside our new president as a partner with all of us to keep the proud traditions of the college moving forward."

Whipkey says he looks forward to giving his best every day to his new hometown and home college. “I joined the Army because I needed a place to belong and always had the need to help, protect, and provide embedded in my DNA. The military gave me that opportunity. I found a great new place to belong and make a difference when I arrived here on February 13. This place has made a huge impact on me already, and the students, employees, alumni, and friends of the college can count on my full support,” Whipkey said.