million is single largest gift ever
$25 million gift to West Virginia University, announced Wednesday,
will fund breast cancer care and other health programs, along with
programs at the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
donors, Jo and Ben Statler, are both natives of Monongalia County
and attended Clay-Battelle High School together, marrying shortly
after graduation. Ben earned his degree in mining engineering from
WVU, while working the night shift at the Pursglove mine. Before
their children were born, Jo worked for the WVU School of
is the single largest gift ever made to WVU," West Virginia
University President Mike Garrison said. "The grace and
generosity of the Statler family is enormous for our institution
and for all of West Virginia."
first $5 million will go to the Comprehensive Breast Cancer
Program at WVU's Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. A large
portion of that gift will be used to purchase a mobile digital
mammography unit to be called Bonnie's Bus.
Bonnie Wells Wilson Mobile Mammography Unit will be named for Mrs.
Statler's late mother, and will bring WVU's advanced
services to women throughout the rural parts of West Virginia
gift will also be used to recruit physician scientists at the
"This gift from the Statlers honors the memory of Jo's
mother and her courageous fight against breast cancer," said
Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Cancer Center. "This
is truly transforming for breast cancer patients here at the
Cancer Center, and for women in all parts of the state."
state of West Virginia will provide an additional $2.5 million in
matching funds for cancer research through its Eminent Scholars
said the remaining $20 million of the Statler gift will support
Health Sciences programs, the College of Engineering and Mineral
Resources and a new scoreboard at the WVU Coliseum.
Statler spent much of his career with Consolidation Coal Company,
working his way up to become Senior Vice President of Mining for
CONSOL in 1996. He formed his own mining company in 1999. In
July 2003, Benjamin M. Statler, LLC and Questor Management
acquired the assets of U.S. Steel Mining Company and founded
PinnOak Resources, LLC.
served as President and CEO of PinnOak until he sold the company
in July 2007.
Statlers live in McMurray, Pa., and in Naples, Fl. Last year
they donated $1.2 million to Monongalia County Schools to build a
new gymnasium at Clay-Battelle in Blacksville.
to today, the largest private single gift to WVU was Morgantown
businessman Milan Puskar's $20 million gift to WVU and its
Building Greatness Campaign in 2003.