Joanne Jaeger Tomblin was born in New York City, New York and educated in the Long Island public school system. She attended the University of Hartford in Connecticut following her graduation from high school and subsequently transferred to Marshall University in her junior year to pursue a degree in Journalism. During her senior year she was selected as Marshall University’s “Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year.” While working on her Master’s degree she was given an assignment in the Office of Public Information for the West Virginia Legislature where she was introduced to a young freshman delegate, Earl Ray Tomblin.
Joanne Tomblin’s career began directly out of College as the Traffic Director for WMUL-TV in Huntington, now WPBY. In a very short period of time she was hired as an anchor/reporter for WSAZ-TV in Huntington,West Virginia. Following her engagement to Governor Tomblin, she moved to Logan County where she was hired as the Director of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce. Her career excelled when she was hired at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College where she has served in various capacities, finally leading to her becoming President in 1999.
Joanne Tomblin became the First Lady of the State of West Virginia on November 15, 2010 and continues to hold two full time roles as college president and first lady. She is a spokesperson and advocate for education at all levels, as well as stressing the importance of college completion for our state and nation.
In her 33 years at Southern, she has been known for her ability to foster relationships and partnerships between business and industry groups, government and education. In October 2011, Southern was ranked as the 14th best community college in the nation by Washington Monthly.
As First Lady, she is not only passionate about education, but she is an advocate for the military. Her statewide initiative” Serve West Virginia Military,” encourages individuals and community groups to find ways to give back to military personnel and their families across the mountain state.
In addition to these initiatives, First Lady Tomblin promotes the arts, tourism, healthy eating and gardening, and the Our Babies: Safe and Sound program.
Throughout her presidency, Joanne has promoted service and volunteerism, serving on numerous committees and boards, some of which include: Emeritus member Education Alliance; Chair Board of Trustees for Logan Regional Medical Center, board member, Logan County Chamber of Commerce; Co-Chair West Virginia College Completion Task force; member Gear-Up Advisory Board; board member CEDAR of southern West Virginia; board member, West Virginia Workforce Investment Council; board member, West Virginia University Excellence in Women’s Health; board member Greenbrier Valley Theater and board member Clay Center. She is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Logan and their Chancel Choir.
First Lady Tomblin holds a B.A and an M.A from Marshall University in Journalism and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane letters also from Marshall University. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Marshall University “Outstanding Alumnus Award.”