Irish poet Oscar Wilde advises us: "Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring."

One person who lives with love in her heart is Joyce McConnell, WVU's provost. We had the great pleasure to host her this week at the Health Science Center.

Joyce is a very smart and articulate, and fundamentally a great person.

She is also a lot of fun to interview in front of a roomful of academics.

She is part of so many WVU initiatives, including Project 168 (Making sure all 168 hours in a student’s week are contributing to his or her success); the new WVU-Beckley campus; curriculum redesign; budget issues with University and state support; and a litany of other issues.

She not only has airplanes in the air, she is supervising ships on the water and troops on the ground.And she is doing it with grace and aplomb.

She also answered a lot of questions about herself and the university.

For example:

  • Recently watched movie – A River Runs Through It
  • Recent book – Just Mercy (WVU's 2016 Campus Read)
  • Family – Vince, her husband and Alexandra, her daughter
  • Favorite recent vacation – hiking
  • Vacation home – Lewisburg
  • Professional – former Dean, WVU College of Law
  • Culture – she is a loud voice for a culture of caring and excellence

Joyce talked about her call from Gordon Gee to be Provost.

She was sitting in the Dean’s office at the law school. Gordon called out of the blue and asked her to be provost. Her books and papers were not yet unpacked in her new space in the law school's new wing -- a wing she helped create.

Her initial response was “no.” She loved being Dean and loved her new office,

Gordon was persistent and convinced her that the calling to help the state was more than her connection to her office.

Although she is originally from Washington, D.C. and moved to West Virginia from New York, she now considers this state her home.

She answered the call and we are all so happy she did.