Skip to main content


1878 – WVU College of Law is founded, and is the first professional school in West Virginia. Classes are held in Woodburn Hall, one of the oldest buildings on campus.

building sketch 1

1879 – William R. Thompson of Hinton, WV, receives his LLB from WVU College of Law, the first individual to receive an LLB from WVU.

1894 – The West Virginia Law Review, the 4th oldest law review in the country, is founded.

1895 – WVU College of Law graduates its first female, Agnes Westbrook Morrison. West Virginia is one of the earliest states to educate women in law and admit them to the bar.

1914 – The College of Law is admitted to membership in the Association of American Law Schools.

1923 – WVU College of Law moves into its new building on University Avenue, Colson Hall.

1923 – The College of Law is fully accredited by the ABA and has remained fully accredited since 1923.

building sketch 2

1925 – West Virginia University Chapter of the Order of the Coif is installed to recognize the top 10% of the graduating law school class and is the highest academic honor a law student can achieve.

1926 – Mr. George C. Baker’s donation to the College of Law begins the Baker Cup Competition that is held each spring at the College of Law.

1949 – Charles E. Price is the first African-American to graduate from the WVU College of Law.

Late 1960s – The open admission policy ends, and the Law School Admission Test becomes an ABA-required part of law school admission.

1969 – The Morgantown Country Club closes, and the land is acquired by WVU to become home to the new WVU College of Law facility.

building sketch 3

1974 – The College of Law moves into its new Evansdale Campus home built on the back nine of the old Morgantown Golf and Country Club.

1976 – Marye L. Wright become the first African American woman to graduate from the College of Law.

1979 – E. Gordon Gee is named Dean of the College of Law. A year later, he is appointed President of WVU for the first time, serving in that role until 1985.

1989 – Graduates of the College of Law are required to take and pass the West Virginia Bar Examination; West Virginia “diploma privilege” ends.

1990 – West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals hears cases in the Lugar Courtroom at the College of Law, the first time the Supreme Court of Appeals has heard cases outside Charleston since 1914. It is now an annual tradition.

1993 – Teree Foster becomes the first woman to be selected as Dean of the College of Law.

1995 – WVU graduate, David C. Hardesty, Jr., becomes the 21st president of West Virginia University and receives an academic appointment as a member of the College of Law faculty.

1998 – John W. Fisher, II is named the 15th dean of the WVU College of Law. Dean Fisher is the first graduate of the College of Law to serve as dean.

2003 – West Virginia College of Law celebrates its 125th year.

2008 – Joyce E. McConnell is named the 16th Dean of the WVU College of Law. She joined the faculty in 1995.

2011 – The Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic are established at the WVU College of Law.

WVU Law entrance

2012 – The College of Law breaks ground on what becomes a $28 million expansion and renovation project.

2013 – The College of Law receives the largest capital gift in its history as part of the State of Minds campaign: $7.5 million from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust.

2014 – Dean McConnell is appointed WVU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Professor Gregory W. Bowman is named Interim Dean of the College of Law.

2015 – Professor Gregory W. Bowman is named the 17th Dean of the College of Law.

2021 – Professor Amelia Smith Rinehart is named the 18th Dean of the College of Law.

WVU LAW Facebook WVU LAW Twitter WVU LAW Instagram WVU LAW LinkedIn WVU LAW Youtube Channel