MORGANTOWN – Rob Alsop, special counsel at Bowles Rice and former chief of staff to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, has been appointed vice president for legal and governmental affairs and entrepreneurial engagement at West Virginia University, effective Oct. 27.
WVU President Gordon Gee said it is a restructured position that will “open a new chapter of engagement” with state and corporate entities.
Gee said Alsop will spend much of his time working with WVU leadership on initiatives that cultivate joint entrepreneurial and research partnerships, while aligning policies that facilitate positive results for the state and the university.
He will also oversee WVU's general counsel, attorneys, legal staff and state and corporate relations team.
“I have been extremely impressed with Rob’s knowledge of and passion for this university,” Gee said. “Coupled with his background in both corporate and state government work and his love of this state, he will be an asset to our executive leadership team as we continue to grow and transform West Virginia University.”
Alsop earned his political science degree from WVU in 1999 and law degree from the WVU College of Law in 2002, both summa cum laude. He was editor-and-chief of the West Virginia Law Review his third year of law school.
He served as Tomblin’s chief of staff from 2010 to 2013 before returning to practice law with Bowles Rice in the Morgantown office, where he specializes in economic development, energy, health care, environmental law and government relations.
Prior to those roles, he was chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Carte Goodwin, secretary of revenue to former Gov. Joe Manchin and general counsel to the West Virginia Department of Revenue. He also clerked for the Hon. Robert King, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Alsop was appointed to the WVU Board of Governors last year. He already has resigned that post.
“I am absolutely thrilled for the opportunity to work with President Gee and his team to move our University forward,” Alsop said. “I consider it a chance of a lifetime to be a part of the many exciting things happening on our campuses that impact and change lives.”
Tom Heywood, managing partner at Bowles Rice, said while he is sad to see his colleague leave the firm, he is excited for him and for WVU.
“Rob is an exceptional talent and will contribute greatly to the University’s ongoing success,” Heywood said. ”Bowles Rice has a long tradition of support for WVU, from serving on visiting committees and as adjunct professors and, of course, as president of the university in David Hardesty. We are delighted that Rob is joining such a great team and will continue to serve our state in this capacity.”
Originally from Webster Springs, Alsop resides in Morgantown with his wife, Jessica, and three daughters: Audrey, Elizabeth and Jenna.
The restructured position was formerly held by William H. Hutchens III, who is retiring this month.