By JOSELYN KING
WHEELING, W.Va. — For Weirton native Stephen Greiner, the opportunity to come home and serve as West Liberty University’s next president was “too good to pass up.”
WLU’s board of governors named Greiner president Thursday afternoon after convening in private throughout the day at Oglebay Park’s Wilson Lodge.
He will officially take over the job Jan. 1.
Greiner has 27 years of experience in education, including 14 years serving as a college president.
He presently is CEO of Hazard Community and Technical College in Hazard, Ky., a position he has held since 2011.
He also has served as president of Brunswick Community College in North Carolina and as president of Virginia Intermont College.
Greiner holds an undergraduate degree in education from the University of Kentucky, a masters degree from Western Kentucky University and a doctorate in higher education from Virginia Tech.
He is a 1964 graduate of Weir High School, and he said many of his family members still reside in the Ohio Valley. His wife, Nancy, joined him in Wheeling Thursday.
“I am deeply humbled by this opportunity, and I take deep pride in coming home to the Ohio Valley. …,” Greiner said.
“I’ve had the opportunity to serve many areas and communities around the country, but I’ve never been able to come back to my home. The opportunity to return home and serve a university that is absolutely outstanding is too good to pass up.”
He acknowledged the Ohio Valley today isn’t the same one he left five decades ago, and that his hometown of Weirton has been much affected by the decline of local industry.
“But change is something that can be made into a positive rather than a negative,” Greiner said. “When you look at adversity, you look at how you can overcome that adversity to make a brighter future.”
Greiner will succeed interim president John McCullough, who has led WLU since the resignation of Robin Capehart from the post in March amid allegations of ethics violations.
It’s the third stint as interim president for McCullough during his 40-plus years with the school.
The board of governors had narrowed their presidential search to two candidates – Greiner and Ron Dempsey, vice president for university advancement at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga., both of whom had final interviews this week.
Board of governors chairman George Couch said Greiner brings to WLU a proven record of leadership, financial management and fundraising.
He said Greiner also is noted for establishing strong relationships with students, staff, faculty and the community as a college president.
“Dr. Greiner’s skills are a perfect match for West Liberty University’s goal of providing an outstanding learning environment with top-notch staff and low student-to-faculty ratios while keeping costs affordable,” Couch said.
“We think Dr. Greiner is exactly who we need to move West Liberty University forward and meet the needs of our current and future students.”