Royce J. Watts, associate dean for administration in West Virginia University's Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, was selected as a 2016 West Virginia History Hero. Watts was honored during a History Day program and ceremony held at the Culture Center in Charleston.
West Virginia History Heroes are chosen for their dedicated service on behalf of an organization's programs or for significant contributions to state and local history. The West Virginia History Hero award is a one-time only recognition.
Watts was nominated by representatives from WVU's Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum. Watts and his wife, Caroline, spearheaded the establishment of the museum and have made significant contributions toward its growth and development.
Formerly known as the COMER Museum, the museum was renamed in 2005 in honor of these two individuals who "have tirelessly supported its mission through both financial support and other resources." The Watts Museum reflects, supports and preserves Royce and Caroline's dedication to West Virginia's mining history and heritage.
Joseph N. Geiger Jr., director of West Virginia Archives and History, informed Watts of his award in a letter in which Geiger wrote, "We congratulate you on this most deserved recognition for your many contributions on the preservation and promotion of West Virginia's history."
Sponsors of West Virginia History Day at the Legislature include the Archives and History Commission, Friends of Culture and History, the Mining Your History Foundation, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia Inc., the West Virginia Association of Museums, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Humanities Council.
Housed in the Statler College, the Watts Museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting the social, cultural and technological history of the coal, oil, and natural gas industries of the state of West Virginia through the collection, preservation, research and exhibition of objects relevant to these industries. For more information, please contact the museum at (304) 293-4609 or firstname.lastname@example.org.