West Virginia University students studying at the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design will have new opportunities to thrive with the establishment of a charitable remainder unitrust by Donald and Beverly Baker.
The gift will support the Emory and Emma Thomas Student Fund, which the Bakers previously established in 2015.
The fund is named in honor of Beverly’s parents, Emory and Emma Thomas, who were farmers from Hardy County, W.Va., and believed deeply in the value of education. The fund helps Davis College students take advantage of valued-added experiences such as internships, international travel, research, and more.
“Education doesn’t stop at the classroom door. It can manifest itself in other experiences,” said Donald. “It will give students at the (Davis) College the opportunity to do something that they would not normally be able to do.”
Donald was never afraid to pursue an opportunity when it appeared and that has made all the difference in his life and career. Donald and Beverly both started out teaching in Moorefield, W.Va., after graduating from WVU.
While Beverly stayed committed to her career in education, Don went into public administration serving as executive director of the Hardy County Rural Development Authority and then the West Virginia State Rail Authority. He finally settled into an insurance career, eventually establishing his own agency, Baker Insurance Services, in 1997.
By pursuing new opportunities, Donald said, he found a profession that for him was rewarding and successful. The Bakers hope future Davis College students will use the fund to take on new challenges in order to grow their careers in ways they didn’t previously imagine.
“I had many job paths and the final one turned out to be the most successful. I was not afraid to pursue an opportunity,” said Donald. “If something presents itself, and could be a good opportunity, then go out and do it.”
A charitable remainder trust is a unique way to support WVU by providing you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.