George Bennett, a West Virginia University graduate who founded four successful businesses and reshaped the practice of management consulting, has contributed $1 million to his alma mater.

The gift will be used to support research in energy, nanotechnology, biomedical sciences, and biometrics in WVU’s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and is eligible for matching funds from the West Virginia Research Trust Fund.

“This gift reflects the gratitude I feel for the excellent foundation I received at West Virginia University,” said Bennett, “and my confidence in the future of the University, the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and the state of West Virginia.”

WVU President James P. Clements said, “George Bennett has been a generous friend and advisor to his alma mater over the years, and his latest gift to support research in areas important to our state, nation and world—such as energy, nanotechnology, biomedical sciences, and more—will help advance WVU’s work and discoveries in these areas.”

“We are honored and touched by this extremely generous gift from a longtime friend of our College,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. “Its impact on future generations of West Virginians will be substantial and will greatly impact research and education in the College forever.”

Bennett earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from WVU in 1967 and master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University in 1971. In 1982, he was inducted into the WVU Academy of Industrial Engineers. In January, he was inducted into the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

Bennett launched his entrepreneurial career in 1973 as a co-founder of Bain & Co., a large, top-tier international consulting firm whose clients have historically outperformed the stock market by four to one. The company has offices in 27 countries on five continents.

In 1976, Bennett founded Braxton Associates, Inc., a boutique strategy consulting firm with a reputation for innovation and creativity. The firm was acquired in 1984 by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu International, one of the world’s largest professional service firms.

In 1985, Bennett co-founded Symmetrix, Inc., a consulting firm that developed extensive system integration and re-engineering capabilities. He served as its chairman and chief executive officer from 1985 to 1996. In 1996, the firm was sold to Nextera Enterprises.

Bennett served as an important adviser to David C. Hardesty during his tenure as president of WVU from 1995 to 2007, sharing his management consulting expertise to help the University develop best practices and propel it forward.

Bennett and Chris McKown founded Health Dialog in 1997. The firm provides analytic services for health-care payers and telephonic and Web support to patients. The firm is well known for the scale of its databases and the sophistication of its analytic techniques. Bennett served as both CEO and chairman of the board until 2008, when the firm was sold.

Bennett spent a year in Washington in the early 1980s as a member of the Grace Commission, created by President Ronald Reagan to bring state-of-the-art business practices to the federal government. Bennett has remained active in Washington and has been an active participant in the ongoing debate regarding health reform.

The West Virginia Research Trust (RTF), passed by the State Legislature in 2008, provides $35 million in state funds for research at WVU, provided the University can raise an equivalent amount in private contributions within five years. RTF funds support research in energy, nanotechnology, bio-sciences and/or biometrics.

The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, a private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.



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Susan Case
Director of College Relations
College of Engineering & Mineral Resources
Phone: (304) 293-4086