Man and young woman discussing the scholarship opportunities

The largest private fundraising campaign in West Virginia University’s history came to a close on December 31, 2017, capturing $1.2 billion in philanthropic support. For the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, it truly took a community of alumni, friends, faculty and staff working together to surpass its goal of $84 million and raise nearly $95 million in contributions.

But as exciting as the dollar amounts are, they are not the only story. What really matters is how the dollars raised will help our community – not just the students and faculty in Morgantown, but people all across West Virginia. The real work is just beginning.

Here is a snapshot of how the support garnered over the last decade will make an impact on the future of the Eberly College. It is incredible what we can do when we all join together. Thank you for answering the call to help your Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

Paying it forward

South Charleston, West Virginia, native Adam Stonestreet is far from a traditional college student. After moving to Fairmont, West Virginia, to begin his career, he counsels adolescents with behavior and substance abuse problems. Seeking to expand his opportunities, Stonestreet entered WVU’s Master of Social Work Program. The Dr. Eleanor H. Blakely Pay It Forward Scholarship made his experience possible. Named for the late Eleanor Blakely, a beloved social work professor, Stonestreet’s scholarship is supported by 120 donors over the last decade. The idea behind the scholarship is to encourage recipients of the scholarship to not pay back the money given, but to instead pay it forward in support of future social work students.

Tradition runs deep

Dominic Gaziano, Rosalie Gaziano and their five sons all graduated from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, totaling 28 years of enrollment. Having met during freshman week in September 1955, both recall fond and fulfilling experiences as WVU students. Today, they hope to make that tradition possible for future scholars, donating $1 million to fund the Gaziano Family Legacy Professorship in the Department of English. The professorship will fund a senior scholar of national reputation who is not only an exemplary teacher and researcher, but someone capable of developing synergies among the department’s existing programs.

Reaching for the stars 

Years after graduating from WVU, Carl Patrick Laughlin (BA Arts and Sciences, 1953) became a physician for many of America’s best-known astronauts as a part of NASA’s Space Task Group. After he passed away in November 2016, Laughlin’s family and friends decided to help WVU biology students on the path to medicine by creating the C. Patrick Laughlin Endowed Scholarship.

Out of this world 

Last August, over 200 million people in the United States gathered to watch the moon pass in front of the Sun in what was known as The Great American Eclipse. West Virginia had the chance to see up to 90 percent coverage. To help the community view the eclipse safely, WVU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and WVU Extension Service partnered to distribute eclipse glasses throughout the state, offer online training for educators, lead summer science experiments and host a pre-eclipse open house at the planetarium. With support from the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, the Green Bank Observatory and 25 individual donors, the project reached more than 50,000 students, teachers, schools and community members statewide.

Forging the future for first-generation students

Charleston, West Virginia, native Jordan Nistendirk has been passionate about American history and politics for as long as he can remember. Support from the Dooley Family Scholarship Endowment made the possibility of a dual-degree in history and political science a reality for the WVU sophomore. The scholarship is awarded annually to Eberly College undergraduates from Gilmer, Kanawha and McDowell counties in West Virginia.

Training ninja analysts 

Karen and Mike Carver, creators of the company Ninja Analytics, met when they were 17 years old and chose to attend WVU to study engineering. After taking sociology introductory courses, they both decided to change direction and pursue degrees in sociology. It was through their passion for and dedication to WVU that prompted the Carvers to support students in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Their gift will support training for statistical analysis, pilot data collection and software packages.