West Virginia University President Gee sees potential to recruit new residents to Mountain State

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SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — We couldn’t help but notice this during the pandemic: many new people discovering West Virginia, maybe we’re onto something.

The charm and allure of Shepherdstown is an incentive to relocate to West Virginia.

All those remote workers — from the Washington, D.C. area say. For more than a year, with no office to go to, West Virginia’s eastern panhandle was a convenient retreat. We may be on to something says West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee. Let’s incentivize relocating to the Mountain State.

“We need to create opportunities for people to move to this state and more importantly,” says President Gee, “to stay in the state and that’s what we want to have happen.”

What better place, some would say, than historic Shepherdstown. It sits right on the Potomac River and is a great destination for tourists. A town with lots of charm and character.

“That really is our goal,” says sot Danny Twilley with Ascend West Virginia. “It is to highlight the best of West Virginia. It’s our natural beauty. It’s our communities and it’s our people. So we want to bring more individuals to beautiful places like Shepherdstown.”

Annette Gavin Bates is CEO of the Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Shepherdstown and vicinity, she says, is the perfect lifestyle to balance work and recreation.

“We’re talking to people about coming here to live,” says Bates. “Coming here to work. And then they can play after work, right? So it’s a perfect combination.”

WVP President, Dr. Gee, sees a long-term payoff for West Virginia. It is a strategic location to both live and work. The state’s opportunity to capitalize on growth potential is now he says.

“West Virginia is the perfect place,” Dr. Gee says. “Because we’re within driving distance of two-thirds of the American public. We’re in the eastern time zone. We have great communities.”

President Gee also pays tribute to the Brad and Alys Smith Foundation for their $25 million investment in the initiative to attract remote workers to the Mountain State.

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