About the First Lady
Joanne Jaeger Tomblin was born in New York City, New York and educated in the Long Island public school system. She went on to attend the University of Hartford, Connecticut, majoring in science for two years. During her third year, she decided to take an elective course in communications that would ultimately change the course of her life.
Upon the recommendation of her father, John Jaeger, who had visited West Virginia several times while on business with American Electric Power, she transferred to Marshall University to study journalism. She excelled in her newly chosen field and her efforts paid off when she, as a Senior, was named Marshall University’s Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year. Her assignment of covering the Legislative session at the State Capitol was one that introduced her to a young freshman legislator, Earl Ray Tomblin.
Joanne Jaeger Tomblin became the First Lady of the State of West Virginia on November 15, 2010. As First Lady, she promotes education at all levels, as well as the importance of college completion for our state and nation.
Serving as President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College since 1999, she is very passionate about developing and encouraging leadership that benefits our State. She is an advocate for community colleges and their unique mission which she continually promotes throughout West Virginia and the nation. In her 30 years of service to the College she has served 13 years as President, making her the second highest ranking president in years of service in West Virginia.
Throughout her years of service at the college, she has been successful in fostering cooperative relationships and partnerships between business and industry groups, government officials and boards of education. Under her leadership as President, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College has attained the maximum ten years accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; and most recently, in October 2011, Southern was ranked as the 14th best community college in the nation by Washington Monthly.
The First Lady is not only passionate about education; she is also an advocate for the military and volunteerism. She has created and encouraged support of the West Virginia military and their families through her statewide initiative, “Serve West Virginia Military: Serving Those Who Serve Us,” that encourages individuals and community groups to find ways to give back to the military personnel and families of the mountain state.
In addition, she is also an advocate for tourism and the arts. During her time as First Lady, she has been instrumental in developing and showcasing our many artisans around the state and has even commissioned a West Virginia native to design the official Governor’s Mansion ornament each holiday season.
First Lady Tomblin holds a B.A. and M.A. in Journalism from Marshall University and an Honorary Doctorate in Human Letters from Marshall University.
She is involved in many state, local and regional committees and organizations including The Education Alliance Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She currently serves as Chair of the Logan Regional Medical Center Board and Co-Chair of the West Virginia College Completion Task Force. She is an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Logan and a devoted participant in the Chancel Choir.
She has been married to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for 32 years. They have one son, Brent, who is studying Health Care Management at Marshall University.