MORGANTOWN, W. Va.— A $500,000 grant from the BB&T Charitable Fund will be used in the Center for Financial Literacy and Education at West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics and for the new business school complex to be built on Morgantown’s waterfront.
“This generous support from BB&T will be used in different ways, ranging from the creation of new academic programs to helping us lead the way in incorporating financial literacy in West Virginia through the Center for Financial Literacy and Education,” said Javier Reyes, B&E Milan Puskar Dean. “Part of this grant will also be used for our new business school complex, which will represent the physical component of an overall business education transformation at WVU. The academic and experiential transformation is well on its way, thanks in part to the generosity of BB&T. These are exciting times for the College, but this is only the beginning.”
Bobby Blakley, BB&T Regional President, West Virginia Region, said the support directly reflects BB&T’s mission, and that these resources will be used to their fullest extent by the business school.
“The sentiment of our grant to the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics is spelled out in the BB&T mission: to make the world a better place to live,” Blakley said. “By providing support to the business school’s Center for Financial Literacy and Education and the new facilities, we are investing in the better financial wellbeing of WVU students and West Virginians as a whole. We help in the creation of opportunities that open new doors for college students, as well as help provide a better understanding of personal finances to state residents of all ages. This is just one way we work to help people achieve economic success and financial security, and strive to make the communities in which we work better places to be. We are honored to be a partner with WVU.”
Naomi Boyd, the business school’s Fred T. Tattersall Chair in Finance, associate professor of finance and the founding director of the CFLE, said the BB&T grant furthers the Center’s mission to offer high level classroom and experiential learning opportunities to students. These opportunities, she said, will provide students with career tracks in finance from Main Street to Wall Street.
“We’re doing things like adding undergraduate degrees that have designated areas of emphasis in financial planning, investment management and valuation,” Boyd said. “The CFLE has designed a board certified, financial planning program that meets the requirements for the Certified Financial Planner Exam. Students minoring in business have access to a personal finance course, and a course in personal finance is now offered to classroom and online MBA students each summer. The support we’re getting from BB&T helps make these academic opportunities happen.”
Boyd was quick to point to the outreach component of the CFLE, which includes seminars on financial planning and retirement planning, a Smart Money Series, and a longstanding educational program for primary and secondary school teachers: Finance University.
“Just last week, we completed our 16th year of offering a weeklong conference to help primary and secondary school teachers teach financial literacy in their classrooms. This session in Charleston had 27 participants from 16 different West Virginia counties,” Boyd said. “By teaching teachers, financial literacy practices are making their way to our youth. BB&T is passionate about improving financial literacy, and Finance University is another way they help us help our state.”
A portion of the grant will also be used to build the new business school complex on Morgantown’s waterfront on the site of Stansbury Hall. The new complex, Reyes said, will capture the progress and innovation that have transformed the West Virginia University campus in recent years.
“This is all about transformation and revitalization — of our business college, of the WVU campus, of Morgantown’s waterfront district,” Reyes said. “Our vision for a new business school complex is moving forward. These kinds of advancements are not possible without support, and the support we get from BB&T is not only financial. They believe in what we’re doing.”
Prior to this grant, the financial institution’s support created the BB&T Distinguished Chair of Free Market Thought in Economics.The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the non-profit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.