Ken Gosnell, from left, and daughter Devon Gosnell graduated from WVU’s Statler and Eberly colleges, respectively. Devon’s $1 million planned gift to WVU will benefit both units.
West Virginia University students pursuing degrees in political science, law and petroleum and natural gas engineering will benefit from a dedicated alumna’s planned gift estimated at more than $1 million.
Devon Gosnell, of Germantown, Tennessee, pledged a portion of her estate to support scholarships and more at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, College of Law and Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
“I’ve been blessed and want to give back to others,” Gosnell said. “When you’ve benefited from something, you want to see someone else benefit from it, too. If somebody wants to go to college, I think they ought to have the opportunity to do that. Because of the cost, it’s difficult. A lot of families don’t make enough money to pay the tuition and room and board to send their kids to college.”
Gosnell is a two-time graduate of WVU. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1972 and a law degree in 1975.
Her planned gift includes two contributions to the Eberly College – one to support the College’s greatest needs, as determined by the dean, and another to support the Devon L. Gosnell Student Award in Political Science, which goes to undergraduate students from West Virginia majoring in political science.
“The Eberly College of Arts and Sciences is extremely excited and grateful for the support of our students by Ms. Devon Gosnell,” Eberly College Dean Greg Dunaway said. “Devon and her father Ken are remarkable Mountaineers whose generosity will create wonderful opportunities for students across WVU. Eberly is very fortunate to have such a committed and dedicated individual such as Devon Gosnell to champion the power of an Eberly and WVU education.”
Gosnell’s gift to the College of Law will establish a new scholarship fund in her name.
“We are so honored that Ms. Gosnell is creating a scholarship that celebrates her legacy as a preeminent attorney and trailblazing Mountaineer,” Amelia Smith Rinehart, William J. Maier, Jr. Dean of the College of Law, said. “Her exemplary leadership across decades in the legal profession in both private and public sectors demonstrates her devotion to transformative service and the land-grant mission of WVU and the College of Law.”
Gosnell was the first woman hired as assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Tennessee, a job she held for nearly 20 years before entering private practice. She worked for firms in Memphis, Morgantown and Tampa, Florida, during her career. She also served as associate general counsel for the University of Tennessee. She continues to do pro bono and limited private practice work.
The Gosnell family’s legacy at WVU dates back to 1949, when Devon’s father, Ken, earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill to attend WVU.
Now 105, Ken Gosnell worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 35 years, including experience as an underground corrosion engineer for Union Carbide and as an oil and gas engineer for Godfrey L. Cabot Corporation, Continental Oil and Ashland Exploration.
Devon Gosnell’s planned gift to the Statler College supports the Kenneth and Helen Gosnell Endowed Scholarship, which goes to freshman undergraduate students majoring in petroleum and natural gas engineering. She established the scholarship to honor her late mother and recognize her father’s 95th birthday. Her father and brother, Doug, also a graduate of the Statler College, have also contributed to the scholarship fund.
“I am extremely grateful to Devon Gosnell for her generosity in supporting the Kenneth and Helen Gosnell Endowed Scholarship,” Pedro Mago, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College, said. “Her support will allow us to provide scholarships to our petroleum and natural gas engineering students and give our students a chance to go through school with opportunities that they may not have had otherwise. We are honored for the continued support of Devon and the Gosnell family to our College, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Department, and our students."
Gosnell’s planned gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.