Not every organization can claim to have been created by an act of Congress. The year was 1914, and the United States Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, creating a unique educational system called the National Cooperative Extension Service. “Cooperative” because it would be supported by federal, state, and county partnerships. “Extension” because this innovative system would use trained educators university faculty who would translate research from the state’s land-grant university to meet the needs of the citizens of the state.
This year, West Virginia University Extension Service joins with other Extension services and land-grant universities across the nation to celebrate its centennial. Indeed, our faculty agents, specialists, and staff are the “extension” of the University, and our WVU Extension county offices are the front door to the university in all 55 West Virginia counties.
The Extension formula works! Our local experts bring the trusted research of the University to citizens in every county. This centennial year in West Virginia, one in four young people more than 80,000 will learn life skills and create lifelong friendships through our nationally recognized 4-H program. We’ll train firefighters and emergency responders, provide educational information to landowners, and teach individuals and families how to shop for and prepare healthy meals. We’ll show farmers and other citizens new ways to produce and increase their income. And we’ll provide training to community leaders, local government officials, business owners, and entrepreneurs to strengthen our small towns and communities and provide jobs. Thousands of our citizens will connect with us through our online educational information.
WVU Extension Service is connected and committed to West Virginia and West Virginians. In our centennial year, and in every year ahead, we’ll continue to provide trusted research through local experts in all 55 West Virginia counties. We’re proud to continue our tradition of service and prouder still to be an innovative partner to the people of our great state of West Virginia. Happy birthday, Smith-Lever and WVU Extension Service!