CHARLESTON, WV – A century and a quarter after the bill establishing Bluefield State College was written, Gov. Jim Justice today became the first governor to sign the legislation during an event at the State Capitol.
Gov. Justice made the ceremonial gesture alongside college administrators, staff, students, and alumni on hand for the signing at the Governor’s Reception Room in Charleston.
Penned in 1895, Senate Bill 122 – establishing what was originally known as Bluefield Colored Institute – was passed by the West Virginia Legislature 125 years ago. However, the bill was not signed by then-governor William A. MacCorkle, becoming law without his signature.
“When it came to my attention that this bill was just sitting, unsigned, for 125 years, I knew that signing it was the right thing to do,” Gov. Justice said. “To tell you the truth, it’s something that should have been done the first time around.
Today, in celebration of Bluefield State College’s 125th anniversary, Gov. Justice did the long-overdue service of ceremonially signing the bill in honor of the institution’s great contributions to West Virginia and in honor of the countless alumni who have made an impact on West Virginia and the world.
“You’ll never make me believe there wasn’t some sort of ulterior reason for why a governor just refused to sign it. But that’s not in my DNA,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m very proud to finally get this bill signed, once and for all, in honor of all the great stuff going on at Bluefield State.”
In August, Gov. Justice pledged $1 million in funding to help build Bluefield State College’s first on-campus housing complex in more than 50 years and for additional work on the college’s student union facility.