Howard Justus McGinnis (1882-1971), a native of West Virginia received his early schooling in a one-room log school house near Glenville. The second of nine children, McGinnis worked as a telephone lineman, coal miner, railroad fireman and in glass factory to put himself through college. He attened the Glenville State College and the University of West Virginia where he majored in science.
After college he taught in rural and city elementary schools and at Fairmont State Teachers College and West Liberty State Teachers College in West Virginia. McGinnis obtained a Ph.D. From George Peabody College in 1927 and was hired as a psychology professor at East Carolina Teachers College. In 1928 he took the role of registrar. McGinnis was named acting president in 1944 upon Leon Meadows' retirement and served until August 1946.
Stepping down as president, Howard McGinnis organized the division of field services, a post responsible for extension work and public relations. He reamined at this post, visiting high schools and handling extension courses until his retirement in 1950.
Dr. McGinnis was married to Nellie Weisman and had two daughters.