CHARLESTON -- Marshall University professor Rob Capehart is returning home, but not just for a visit.
Capehart, an attorney originally from the Northern Panhandle, has been named as the 32nd president of West Liberty State College.
Capehart, a Moundsville native, was chosen from more than 60 applicants to take the place of Richard Owens, who retired in 2005.
"The Board of Governors and I feel confident he has the experience and vision to lead West Liberty State College," Board Chairman John Moore said in a prepared statement. "We encourage the college community to gather around our new president as we move towards the many challenges facing West Liberty State College."
Capehart will take office July 1, and until then he said he will be familiarizing himself with the faculty and staff of the college.
"I will take time to look at the strengths and weaknesses and look at the challenges," Capehart said. "There are far more opportunities than people may believe."
Currently a tenured professor and director of tax studies at Marshall, Capehart has spent the last seven years in higher education. He is also of counsel to the law firm Steptoe and Johnson.
However, Capehart has had a varied background, all of which he says is a plus to the presidential office of West Liberty.
"I have a good background in what had become one of the most important areas of service to a college president," Capehart said. "My involvement in public service will allow me to reach to the community to be relationships."
A graduate of West Virginia University with a Bachelor's in Political Science, Capehart went on to receive his law degree from WVU and ultimately his Master's of Law in Taxation from Georgetown University. Among other jobs, he was the state Secretary of Tax and Revenue under former Gov. Cecil Underwood.
In 2006, Capehart was offered a Fulbright scholarship and studied in Moldova, teaching and researching on the Moldovan tax system.
Capehart said two of his positions have been the most satisfying, one as the secretary of tax and revenue and the other his involvement with higher education. He said the experience of being a leader, having a vision and goals, and strategy making have helped him build a good foundation for the job.
"I have an opportunity to utilize the skill sets from both administrative and academic points of views to do something in which I can serve the state," Capehart said.
Along with serving the state, Capehart would also like to see students stay in West Virginia, to obtain a higher education and to find a job.
"The history of West Virginia has been an economy based on the strength of your back, and now it's moving to an economy based on the strength of your mind," he said. "Higher education plays an important role."