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WVU Foundation marks 60th anniversary

on Fri, 12/05/2014 - 13:36

The West Virginia University Foundation is celebrating 60 years of service to WVU this month.

It was in December 1954 when the organization was created as an independent foundation whose function remains to solicit and receive private gifts and administer them in support of the University.       

The origin of the WVU Foundation can be traced to the vision of WVU’s 13th president, Dr. Irvin Stewart.  He was instrumental in stepping up efforts to enlist educational support from donors and often spoke of the need for private gifts to provide for the future of WVU. 

Stewart envisioned an organization whose role would extend beyond the custodianship of gifts into the realm of actively seeking support for programs, services, equipment and facilities which the state might not be able to fund.  Largely because of his impetus, the WVU Foundation was officially incorporated on Dec. 3, 1954.

"President Irvin Stewart's foresight to reach out to those who love this University and want to support it in countless ways was genius 60 years ago -- and lives on today," President Gordon Gee said. "West Virginia University is moving from excellence to eminence thanks to the WVU Foundation and Mountaineers everywhere." 

In its first year of existence, the Foundation, with a 12-member Board of Directors, established its first two student scholarships and grew assets to just under $30,000.  Today, under the governance of a 27-member Board, total assets are more than $1.4 billion.

“I am truly honored to serve as chair of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors as we celebrate the Foundation’s 60th birthday,” said Gary Pell. “In my brief eight years of service, we have experienced significant growth and positive change. Under the leadership of president and CEO Cindi Roth and WVU President Dr. Gordon Gee, we look forward to even higher levels of success in the future.”

The Foundation currently manages nearly 5,000 funds, including more than 1,800 scholarship funds.  Last fiscal year, the Foundation received $105.6 million in new gifts and pledges from more than 20,000 alumni and friends.   

“When I reflect back at the history of the WVU Foundation, it has been one of steady growth and success, thanks to a myriad of dedicated staff members, generous board volunteers, and very passionate and loyal alumni and friends,” said Cindi Roth, Foundation president and CEO. “I’m privileged and excited to be leading such a dynamic organization at a time when the future is very bright. Our goal is to keep the momentum going.”

Over its 60-year span, the WVU Foundation has had five “homes”: Stewart Hall, Purinton House, 617 Spruce Street, 3168 Collins Ferry Road, and its current location at One Waterfront Place.

During its history, the WVU Foundation has conducted several successful capital campaigns on behalf of the University. They include Threshhold to Greatness, The Campaign for West Virginia University, Building Greatness, and the current $1 billion comprehensive fundraising effort, A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University.

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