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Creative Arts Center renamed in honor of Canady leadership gift

WVU President E. Gordon Gee presents the Most Loyal West Virginian award to Loulie Canady in 2018. College of Creative Arts Dean Keith Jackson and Kathy DeGraff stand behind her.

When students return to campus, the beloved home of the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts will have a new name in honor of a leadership gift from the Valerie Canady Charitable Foundation. Beginning today, the former Creative Arts Center on WVU’s Evansdale campus will be known as the Loulie, Valerie and William Canady Creative Arts Center.

The newly established Canady Fund for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts will provide for arts programming, educational enrichment opportunities, building improvements and discretionary support to benefit students, faculty and staff within the College of Creative Arts.

“The Canady family’s generosity to and in support of the arts is remarkable and an important contribution to what makes Morgantown such a desirable place to be,” WVU President E. Gordon Gee said. “It is only fitting that the centerpiece of art and creativity on this campus bear the Canady name.”

Valerie Canady is a Morgantown native and WVU alumna who was tragically killed in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. An accountant working in London at the time of her death, Canady was also an accomplished linguist and artist in different media of expression, especially piano.

Loulie and the late William Canady.

Her parents, Loulie and the late William Canady, established the Foundation to honor her memory and share their family’s passion for the arts. William, a professor of biochemistry at WVU for 40 years, supported his college education by working as a professional portrait photographer. He was also a lifelong lover of music, especially classical, Appalachian folk and jazz.

Since arriving in Morgantown more than 50 years ago, the Canady family has actively supported high quality artistic endeavors at WVU,” said Keith Jackson, dean of the College of Creative Arts. “With this recent gift, they have ensured that future generations of students in the College of Creative Arts will benefit from improved facilities, outstanding programs and academic support that are consistent with our role as the flagship artistic institution in the state of West Virginia.

“The Canady family’s passion for the arts allows us to prove that the arts reflects the beauty of the human condition. The newly named Loulie, Valerie and William Canady Creative Arts Center will serve as a daily reminder of our larger role as artists in society.”

The Canady family has provided generous support to the College of Creative Arts for many years. The ongoing Canady Chamber Series brings classical music acts from across the country to Morgantown, and the Valerie Canady Charitable Trust Foundation Scholarship is among the College’s most prestigious awards. The Canadys also played an important philanthropic role in creating the Art Museum of WVU. They were honored for their contributions as WVU’s Most Loyal West Virginians in 2018. 

“Valerie’s death generated a settlement which was presented to my husband and I in Valerie’s memory,” Loulie Canady said. “With this, we created the foundation in her honor, which has allowed us to make a positive impact on the lives of others."

The Canady gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.

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