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Late WVU alumna’s gift provides nearly $1M for journalism scholarships 

Regan Duceman and Ayden Norcross

 (L-R) Regan Duceman and Ayden Norcross (click on the name to download headshot)

A late West Virginia University alumna’s trust gift of nearly $1 million is expanding scholarship opportunities for students majoring in journalism.   

Betty R. Lynch, a native of Harrison County, West Virginia, earned a bachelor’s degree from WVU in 1946. Upon her passing in 2019, she left behind $963,041 to provide scholarship support for WVU journalism students.  

“Mrs. Lynch’s generous donation is providing opportunities for students who may not otherwise be able to pursue a college education,” said Diana Martinelli, dean of the WVU Reed College of Media. “Her support will have a positive impact on both the lives of these aspiring journalists and the industry. I’m grateful for her and other donors who share in our passion to educate the next generation of media professionals.”

Thirteen journalism students at the Reed College of Media received support from the Betty R. Lynch Journalism Scholarship during the fall 2023 semester.    

Regan Duceman, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, found her passion for journalism while taking newspaper classes in high school. To her, being a journalist offers opportunities to meet amazing people, cover interesting topics and provide important information to the public.

Duceman is currently a sophomore at WVU who values the support scholarships such as this one has given her.

“Scholarship support has been vital in my time at WVU,” Duceman said. “Without receiving scholarships, I would not be able to attend the University. The financial support and generosity that comes from me being a recipient of these scholarships allows me to pursue my dreams of receiving a degree and hopefully one day becoming a news anchor. They also lessen the financial burden and open more room to participate in opportunities such as study abroad.”

Williamson, West Virginia, native and scholarship recipient Ayden Norcross was inspired to become a journalist by the writing of Hunter S. Thompson and the documentaries of Louis Theroux. Norcross is a sophomore at WVU who aspires to serve as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army and pursue independent journalism afterward.

“Scholarships mean everything to me,” Norcross said. “Without them, I would not be able to attend this school, and I am very grateful to have received them.”

Lynch was a lifelong WVU supporter. After she met her husband, Keith, the couple moved to Davistown, Pennsylvania, where they bought a farm. He later died unexpectedly in an accident.   

Lynch was involved with many businesses throughout her 96 years. She was in the coal business and owned restaurants. For much of her life, she divided her time between Morgantown and Florida, where she owned a motel and often spent winters.   

After she sold the motel, Lynch stayed in Morgantown, where she spent the final years of her life being cared for by Bob Bennett and his wife.    

I had known Betty for a very long time,” Bennett said. “She was modest, a hard worker all her life and fun to be around. She truly was an amazing person.” 

Lynch always spoke fondly of WVU and showed her support with several small gifts to the University during her lifetime.

Lynch’s trust 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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