WLU president Robin C Capehart said the Institute for Energy and Commerce would be run by the West Liberty University Research Corporation.
“The continuing influence of the coal industry and the rapid growth of the natural gas industry have created both questions and opportunities,” he said.
“It’s our belief that West Liberty University, which is strategically located in the heart of both the coal and natural gas industries, is well-positioned to lead this regional and national discussion.”
The institute will conduct research on issues surrounding the role of the energy industry in the economic future of the state and nation.
Researchers will include WLU faculty as well as a panel of highly regarded researchers from colleges and universities around the nation and individuals associated with other research organizations.
It would also work in conjunction with the energy industry to determine the best programs the university could run to create “tomorrow’s leaders”, the university said in a statement.
Indiana's Ball State University economics professor Michael J Hicks has agreed to serve as a visiting scholar and a distinguished research fellow while West Virginia Coal Association senior vice president Chris Hamilton will serve as the institute's industry council chairman.
“I’m pleased to join with president Capehart and his administration in this exciting and innovative endeavor,” Hamilton said.
“West Liberty University is a proven leader in academic excellence and community leadership and is strategically situated within the nation’s energy reserves and portfolio.”
WLU is located at the northernmost tip of West Virginia, just north of Wheeling.