George M. Ford, who was principal during the period from 1897 to 1900 was a man of exceptional ability. He was born in Kasson Barbour County, West Virginia, and graduated from WVU in 1892, with the A.B. Degree, and in 1896, with the L.L.B. Degree. He molded the courses even more firmly into departments, and added science, English Literature, and Ancient Languages to the curriculum. Ford emphasized the social side of education by arranging receptions and parties.
The development of literary societies was encouraged, and in 1890 the school had both basketball and football teams. It was the hope at this time that a gymnasium could be completed for a broader development of athletic activities. Mr. Ford possessed splendid executive abilities, and organized the work and routine of the school on a new basis.
Under the administration of Ford, the Junior classes were to begin the observation of teachers as they taught. The "short courses" for teachers were offered in the spring and summer terms. Extension and correspondence courses were organized to carry the school to the teachers in the field.