Dr. Sarita Rhonemus, Interim Provost/Bluefield State University  (left) and Dr. Ted Lewis, Bluefield State University Beckley President

Dr. Ted Lewis Named BSU Beckley President, Dr. Sarita Rhonemus Named BSU Interim Provost

Bluefield State University President Robin Capehart has appointed Dr. Ted Lewis as BSU—Beckley’s President and Dr. Sarita A. Rhonemus as Bluefield State University Interim Provost. Dr. Lewis previously served as Bluefield State Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. Dr. Rhonemus was the BSU Associate Provost of Academic Affairs at the time of her appointment as Acting Provost.

“I am honored to have been selected as the first president of Bluefield State University—Beckley, and I look forward to working closely with our Beckley community to serve their higher educational needs,” Dr. Lewis noted.

“Dr. Lewis has been an exceptional mentor, and I look forward to our continued collaborative relationship,” Dr. Rhonemus added. As former BSU—Beckley Director, she and Dr. Lewis collaborated on numerous Bluefield State academic and student affairs initiatives. “I look forward to the start of the new 2023-24 academic year. Work has already begun gathering information from the Deans regarding our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to develop action plans for continuous quality improvement. We’re excited about the possibilities.”

About Dr. Lewis:

Drawing upon his over 30 years of experience in a variety of positions, including provost, vice president of academic and student affairs, founding dean of instruction, founding department chair, program director, and award-winning classroom teacher, Dr. Lewis brings with him a commitment to high academic standards and providing exceptional services to students, faculty, staff, and the community. He has experience building relationships and developing partnerships with businesses, public schools, higher education institutions, health organizations, and community leaders. 

In recent years, Dr. Lewis has served as president and board member of two Rotary clubs and on other community boards and committees, including county economic development authorities, a technology center’s advisory board, county educators roundtables, a county’s workforce development advisory committee, a county’s advanced manufacturers advisory committee, a county’s STEM advisory committee, a county’s construction advisory committee, and on the board and executive committee of a K-12 education foundation. Additionally, he has chaired several chambers of commerce and, at the request of a local school district, has facilitated community meetings to seek public input for the district’s strategic plan. He is currently on the Board of Directors of NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium and the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia. 

“Serving on these boards and committees has given me a greater understanding of our community’s needs and resources and how we can effectively partner with the community to address those needs and strengthen resources.”

About Dr. Rhonemus:

A proud Bluefield State College alum, Dr. Sarita A. Rhonemus now serves as the Interim Provost Bluefield State University and continues as the University’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Accreditation Liaison Officer. Previous positions at B-State include Academic Affairs Administrator for Institutional Effectiveness and Director of Bluefield State—Beckley (7 years). Rhonemus also served as the Director and Academic Advisor for the Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) Degree Completion Program (4 years). She was the Director of Outreach Programs (20 years) and Interim Director of Research and Sponsored Programs (5 years) at Bluefield State before her being appointed to her current position. Dr. Rhonemus was the Founding Executive Director of the West Virginia Access Center for Higher Education, the first successful replication of the Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education model, later adopted by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). 

Rhonemus teaches upper-level online leadership courses for the West Virginia Remote Online Collaborative Knowledge System (WVROCKS) and Bluefield State. She contracted with the Appalachian Regional Commission as a consultant for the Appalachian Higher Education Network from 2000-2019. Rhonemus currently serves as a Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Peer Corps, Chicago, IL, and previously assisted as a Primary Peer Mentor for the HLC Persistence and Completion Academy. Additionally, Dr. Rhonemus taught in the Mercer County Public Schools System for three years immediately after graduating from Bluefield State. 

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