WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. (WTRF) — At West Liberty University, they’re still coming to grips with the news that their president is retiring.
Dr. Stephen Greiner looked back on his tenure, in which the University made a dramatic turnaround.
Dr. Greiner was president of a university in Kentucky four years ago, when his sister called.
“And she said that the presidency of West Liberty University was open, and she asked if I was interested,” he recalled. “I told her no.”
He was six months away from retirement.
But then he did some research.
He looked at every aspect of West Liberty University.
And he changed his mind.
He came here, fully aware of the budget deficit and the dwindling enrollment, and he brought his No Retreat policy with him.
“We’ve been sort of an anomaly,” he noted.
“While seeing numbers decrease in this region, we’ve actually increased our enrollment.”
Now, they’re financially secure, with money set aside in case of emergency.
In four years, they’ve added undergraduate degrees in everything from zoo science to cybersecurity.
They’ve added 13 new academic offerings and doubled the master’s degree programs in everything from business administration to clinical psychology to criminology.
They’ve added a new track and soccer complex, new apartments, an athletic practice facility, and an on-campus convenience store.
His open-door policy is taken seriously by students.
He’ll fight anybody who says this generation is self-absorbed.
“This is the best group of students I’ve ever worked with,” he said. “I’ve been in higher education for 46 years. They care about each other. They care about the University. They present to me ideas for volunteer and public service opportunities all the time.”
He attends student activities, from art exhibits to basketball games.
And he’s delighted that the University bought a house for the criminology students to use as a crime scene.
“The students will actually be able to re-create crime scenes in an actual setting,” Dr. Greiner said. “It’s such a valuable hands-on learning tool for them.”
Looking back on the decision he made after his sister called, he smiles now.
“There’s no question that the best time of my career has been the four years here at West Liberty University.”