INSTITUTE, W.Va. — Many who knew former West Virginia State University President Dr. Hazo Carter were mourning the news of his passing Wednesday.
Carter retired in 2012 from the position which he had held for 25 years and became president emeritus. He was preceded in death by his wife, Judge Phyliss Carter only a month earlier.
“I think it’s a surprise and shock to most everyone,” said Charleston Attorney Larry Rowe who formerly chaired WVSU’s Board of Governors. “I was not aware of any problems he was having, in fact he called me last week and suggested we go to lunch this week.”
Carter retired from his position at a time of some turmoil. The university’s faculty senate stated under Carter’s leadership the university had become stagnant. However, Rowe said Carter was caught amid a changing landscape in higher education and was in a difficult position in the last decade. He said Carter was responsible for many positive improvements on campus during this 25-year tenure.
“He was the man who was able to restore land grant status to the school,” said Rowe. “It really has expanded the research opportunities for faculty and students and increased the funding and the nature of activities the university has been able to engage in.”
Under Carter’s leadership, the university’s designation changed from a college to a university. Rowe said that change has made a huge difference in the impact WVSU is having on the landscape of higher education.
“The graduate work at West Virginia State is a credit to Dr. Carter and the vision he had in the early 2000s,” said Rowe. “It’s a great loss to the university to not have his expertise and it’s a sad day for the community and the State Family.”