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Justice appoints two, including Greenbrier official, to WVU board


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice recently appointed two people to West Virginia University’s Board of Governors, according to a news release from the school.

Justice appointed Elmer F. Coppoolse, the chief operating officer of The Greenbrier resort and a managing partner of the Glade Springs resort, to the board. Justice’s family owns both resorts.

Coppoolse will fill the seat of Greg Babe who resigned because of “increasing business obligations,” according to the release.

Justice also appointed Charleston lawyer Tim Bailey, replacing Morgantown businesswoman Diane Lewis. She was ineligible for reappointment, according to the release.

“These individuals care deeply about our state and this institution, and will be key leaders as we work hard to continue the momentum their predecessors have started,” WVU President Gordon Gee said in the release.

The West Virginia Senate must confirm every appointment the governor makes to the board. Senators confirmed Coppoolse on May 16 during the special session, according to Jacque Bland, a spokeswoman for the Senate. Justice had nominated him a day earlier.

Bailey, who wasn’t nominated until June 27, won’t be considered for confirmation until the next time the full Legislature meets, Bland said.

Coppoolse will serve on the board through 2018, and Bailey would serve a full four-year term.

Justice also recently reappointed Wheeling attorney William Wilmoth and NASA astrophysicist Kim Weaver to serve full terms.

When board members last met, at the end of June, they elected Wilmoth as their chairman, according to the release. He previously was vice chairman. Board members also elected David Alvarez as vice chairman and Taunja Willis Miller as secretary.

The board will convene again July 10 in Morgantown for a special meeting to discuss new legislation regarding the governance of the school, according to a school spokesman.

During the regular legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that lessens the authority of the Higher Education Policy Commission, the agency that oversees the state’s four-year colleges and universities. The bill gives colleges more leeway to govern themselves.

The bill also exempts WVU, Marshall University and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine from even more of the commission’s oversight. The three schools are now able to adopt new policies and launch academic programs without commission approval.

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