Going first is a spirit of determination, not simply a spot in the record books. So while we certainly want to highlight literal firsts, our brand is not limited to inaugural acts. Mountaineers go first every day by fearlessly pursuing progress. We may be the 100th person to do something, but we’re the first to do it differently. To do it better. Or to do it bigger. 


  • PRT: first automated rapid transit in the world (1973) 
  • Home to the first School of Dentistry in the state (1957) 
  • State’s first level-one trauma center at Ruby Memorial Hospital (1988) 
  • First in the nation to train coal miners, and home to one of the world’s largest underground coal mines 
  • Home to the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, the world’s first devoted to the study of human memory 
  • Founding site for the Center for Identification Technology Research (biometrics and identification technology) 
  • WVU Extension Agents — established first week-long 4-H Camp in South America, taking a lead in global economy and community 
  • Professor Suzanne Bell: named to the first-ever National Commission on Forensic Science 
  • Creation of the WVU Energy Institute 
  • First university in the U.S. to use vacant broadcast TV channels to provide wireless broadband Internet services 
  • WVU LaunchLab: supporting ideas, startups and entrepreneurs to bring businesses to the market 
  • Innovation Award: recognizing members of the WVU community who contribute to big ideas 


  • All research and discoveries across the University

Personal Growth

  • Harriet Lyon: first woman to receive a WVU degree, graduated first in her class 
  • Jessica Moreale: WVU’s first female national boxing champion 
  • Military, Peace Corps stories of the first to volunteer 


  • Wise Library/West Virginia and Research History Center: world’s largest collection of WV material 
  • Georgeann Wells: first woman to dunk basketball in a game (1983) 
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Ruby Memorial Hospital #1 in the state 
  • WVU produces more Rhodes Scholars than any school in the Midwest

Community Engagement

  • The only institution in the state to be recognized by Carnegie Foundation for community engagement
  • 61,517 hours of community service in 2013
  • The university created 35,000 new jobs in 2013 alone
  • The WVU community raised $2.1 million for United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties