When asked to describe what West Virginia University means to him, alumnus Robert Fithian used words and phrases like “family,” “intellectual rewards,” “professional success” and “fellowship” all of which he believes helped him become who he is today.
It was at WVU where he met his wife of 34 years, received a challenging education and broad technical background that prepared him for his professional career, and became one of many graduates focused on sustainable natural resource management.
During his time at WVU, Fithian was able to interact with and learn from a variety of talented professors. However, it was Ken Carvell, then professor of forest ecology, who left the most lasting impression.
“Ken Carvell had a huge impact on my education, my professional competence and my confidence,” Fithian said. “He was fundamental in my application for graduate school and in securing the assistantships that would allow me to participate.”
In honor of his mentor, Fithian and his wife, Wilma, have created an endowed fund to benefit graduate students in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.
The endowment will provide funds to create the Dr. Kenneth L. Carvell Graduate Fellowship to benefit currently enrolled Davis College graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in forestry and engaged in forest management or forest science research.
The endowment’s first scholarship will be awarded to Andrew Miller, who is pursuing a master’s degree in forestry, in the spring of 2013.
Under the guidance of Nicolas Zegre, assistant professor of forest hydrology, Miller is exploring the hydrologic impacts of mountaintop mining in the coalfields of West Virginia. His research will focus on impacts on streamflow generation processes and response time in headwater catchments of the Coal River through the use of stable isotope hydrology.
Miller, a Charleston, W.Va., native, received a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from WVU in 2007.
A Bridgeton, N.J., native, Fithian graduated from WVU in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in forest resources management. He earned his master’s degree in forest science in 1979. When he retired in 2009, Fithian was president of Raytheon UTD, a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon Company, which provides engineering and scientific analysis for federal, state and local government agencies. He and his wife currently reside on Montebello Farm in Gordonsville, Va.
The fellowship was created in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $750 million comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2015.
CONTACT: Lindsay Willey, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design
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