On July 1, 2007, Robin C. Capehart of Wheeling, Ohio County, became the 33rd President of West Liberty State College, now West Liberty University, in West Liberty, West Virginia.
During his tenure, West Liberty University has experienced tremendous growth in terms of enrollment, programs and prestige.
- In August 2008, West Liberty State College became one of only 2.5% of all institutions of higher learning in the United States to provide incoming students with a laptop computer.
- West Liberty University has experienced six consecutive years of growth in enrollment.
- Summer school enrollment has increased 84%.
- The number of students enrolled ages 25 and over has increased 12.1%.
- West Liberty University’s private fundraising has increased by over 400%.
- West Liberty University has increased its scholarship offerings from $1.7 million to $4.5 million – a 268% increase.
- West Liberty University has added 15 new degrees and certifications.
- The University’s graduation rate exceeds the rate of its national peers by 18% and, as a percent of total entering students, by 10%.
- The University’s retention rate exceeds the rate of its national peers by 10.4% for full-time students and 32% for part-time students.
- The number of online classes has increased by nearly 800%.
- Total salaries and benefits for all full-time faculty members have increased 29%.
- West Liberty University has increased funding for professional development 833%.
- West Liberty University’s television station, WLU-TV Channel 14, has expanded into 100,000 homes in northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio.
- The campus at West Liberty University has undergone considerable changes including:
- The current construction of Campbell Hall – a $22 million health science building;
- The renovation of Shaw Hall;
- The opening of the Highlands Center;
- A $1.3 million renovation of the football field and locker rooms.
- New soccer and lacrosse field;
- Upgrades to the Student Union and Blatnik Hall.
- In October 2008, West Liberty State College offered its first graduate level program – a Masters of Education.
- In May 2009, West Liberty State College became West Liberty University.
- In February 2012, West Liberty University opened The Community University, a series of noncredit courses designed for members of the community ages 55 and over who desire to pursue a lifetime learning experience.
- In July 2012, West Liberty University became one of only nine public institutions in the country to offer a Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree.
- In August 2012, West Liberty University became the first regional institution to establish an Honors College.
- In August 2012, West Liberty University instituted the Advanced Academy of West Virginia – the state’s first dual enrollment program in which high achieving and motivated high school juniors and seniors take on-campus classes.
President Capehart currently serves as the Chair of the Council of Presidents and as a member of the NCAA Division II President’s Council.
Originally from Moundsville, Marshall County, President Capehart graduated Magna Cum Laude from West Virginia University in 1975 where he is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1978, President Capehart received his law degree from WVU and returned to Moundsville to practice law. He served as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Marshall County until 1985 when he became Chief Administrative Law Judge for the State Tax Department’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.
In 1989, President Capehart left state government to attend Georgetown University receiving his Masters of Law in Taxation Degree in 1991. He served as committee counsel for the West Virginia House of Delegates during the 1991 Legislative Session until accepting a position at the Wheeling law firm of Phillips, Gardill, Kaiser & Altmeyer. He practiced law in Wheeling concentrating in the area of state and federal taxation and also served as an adjunct professor at West Virginia Northern Community College.
In February 1997, Governor Cecil H. Underwood appointed President Capehart as Secretary of Tax and Revenue for the State of West Virginia. As Revenue Secretary, he also chaired the Commission on Fair Taxation, which conducted the most comprehensive review of our tax structure in the state’s history. Both national and international economists and public policy experts have critically acclaimed the Commission’s tax reform process and the final recommendations presented to Governor Underwood in February 2000 as one of the country’s most outstanding state tax reform efforts in the recent history.
As a result of the national and international attention the Commission’s work received, President Capehart also served as a consultant to tax reform efforts in Colorado, Virginia and Tennessee and made substantial presentations to the Japan Local Government Center, the Ukrainian MBA Cohort and the Romanian Presidential Commission on Tax Reform.
President Capehart has delivered over 600 speeches and presentations to local, state, national and international organizations including the Federation of Tax Administrators, the National Tax Association and the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He has authored a number of articles, which have appeared in such publications as the West Virginia Law Review, State Tax Notes, the Journal of State Taxation and the National Tax Journal.
In September 1998, The Council of State Governments selected President Capehart for the prestigious Toll Fellowship Program, which each year recognizes 40 of the top leaders in state government from throughout the nation.
President Capehart also served as President of the Southeastern Association of Tax Administrators; Chairman of the Governor’s Committee on Government Reorganization and has represented West Virginia on a number of national public policy committees and projects.
Based upon his achievements and contributions to the State, Governor Underwood presented President Capehart with a Distinguished West Virginia Award in August 2000.
In August 2000, President Capehart left his cabinet position to begin teaching at Marshall University. In May 2001, President Capehart was honored to receive the Outstanding Teacher Award from the Lewis College of Business becoming the first professor to receive such an award in his first year of teaching.
In December 2000, President Capehart became Of Counsel to the statewide law firm of Steptoe and Johnson concentrating his practice in the area of federal, state and local tax.
President Capehart was a member of the Leadership West Virginia Class of 2000 and is actively involved in a number of civic organizations.
From 2001 through 2003, President Capehart hosted a statewide radio talk show
In May of 2006, President Capehart was named a Fulbright Scholar by the U.S. State Department’s Council for International Exchange of Scholars. From August 2006 to January 2007, he taught Public Finance at Moldova State University in Chisinau, Moldova and conducted extensive research and provided consultation regarding the Moldovan property tax system.
In February 2007, President Capehart was named President of West Liberty State College, now West Liberty University, in West Liberty, West Virginia where he assumed office in July 1, 2007.
In November 2007, President Capehart was named the 2007 Outstanding Alumnus of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University. In September 2008, President Capehart was inducted into the John Marshall High School Hall of Fame.
President Capehart also serves on the Board of Directors of the Regional Economic Development partnership and is a member of the Wheeling Rotary Club.
President Capehart has authored two books: “Real Tax Reform” (2008); and “Entrepreneurialship Education” (2010).
President Capehart attends the Vineyard Church in Wheeling. He and his wife, Saun, and their youngest child of four, Emily, live at the President’s Home on the campus of West Liberty University, West Liberty, West Virginia.