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Private gifts, Research Trust Fund match having $70 million impact at WVU

on Fri, 03/20/2015 - 12:19

The West Virginia University Foundation says all private commitments made in conjunction with the state Research Trust Fund have been fulfilled in compliance with a March 8, 2015, deadline.

The result of the RTF program, created by the state Legislature in 2008, has been $70 million in endowed funds for WVU -- $35 million in gifts from private donors matched by $35 million in state funds -- with the focus on improving economic development, job growth and health care across West Virginia through research.

The Foundation had announced in January 2012 it had secured the $35 million in new gift and pledge agreements, exhausting the available dollar-for-dollar match from the state. Donors had until this month to fulfill their pledges.

State lawmakers started RTF with an appropriation of $50 million -- $35 million for WVU and $15 million for Marshall. The universities were able to tap into this fund to double private gifts. At WVU, funds are used for biomedical sciences, energy, biometrics and nanotechnology. 

"My appreciation to the many donors who invested in West Virginia University's innovative research in health care, energy, the biomedical sciences and, in the end, to the economic vitality of our state and nation," said WVU President Gordon Gee. "I also want to commend our state lawmakers for establishing the Research Trust Fund. It is clear that together we are taking the right steps in West Virginia to improve lives and grow jobs."

The program resulted in approximately 160 separate endowments being created. The money is invested long-term with the earnings used to fund the various research programs and initiatives set up by donors.

Some of the major gifts received that were matched by the state under the RTF program include:

--$11 million from Ben and Jo Statler for research support and undergraduate scholarships at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

--$5 million from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust for graduate research fellowships.

--$2 million from the Cline Family Foundation establishing an endowed chair in orthopaedic surgery.

--$1 million from Stu and Joyce Robbins to establish the Stuart M. & Joyce N. Robbins Distinguished Professorship in epidemiology, the first endowed chair in the new School of Public Health.

--$1 million from George Bennett to support research in energy, nanotechnology, biomedical sciences and biometrics within the Statler College.

--$750,000 from the Chambers Family Foundation for the John and June Chambers Chair of Oncology Research in the School of Medicine.

--$1 million for the Maier Foundation Chair in Research in Medicine at Health Sciences’ Charleston Division.

Also, approximately $300,000 was raised for the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment that was matched by the state.

“The generosity of our tremendous donors, bolstered by the guaranteed matching amount from the state, has enabled us to hire gifted faculty members and to advance our research agenda significantly,” said WVU Provost Joyce McConnell.  “The Research Trust Fund has been truly transformative for West Virginia University and the state.”

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