In September 2012, representatives from West Virginia University and the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources broke ground on the Advanced Engineering Research Building. A recent gift from alumnus J. Wayne Richards and his wife, Kathy, will be used to help make the building a reality.

The Richards’, natives of South Charleston, W.Va., recently pledged $250,000 to the Statler College Building Fund to help fund construction of the new facility, which is expected to open in 2014. It will house offices, classrooms, computer classrooms, a learning center and graduate student space, as well as a clean room to meet the needs of high-technology learning and discovery.

“The education I received from WVU set an unbelievable foundation for my career and it was important to both Kathy and me to give back to the University at this level,” said Richards. “Dean Cilento is a great leader for the College and the University. He spoke passionately about how this new facility will become an innovation center, opening entrepreneurial opportunities to students and faculty, which really triggered us to make this gift at this time.”

Richards has spent his career in the oilfield services sector. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from WVU in 1981, he spent 25 years in a number of senior operational, and sales and marketing positions with Schlumberger. He most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Global Oilfield Services in Sugar Land, Texas. Kathy earned her degree in dental hygiene at WVU Tech in Montgomery, W.Va.

“This building is designed to complement and expand the existing expertise and capabilities of the engineering facilities we now have available,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “A large portion of it will be funded by private donations. We look for this facility to become a hub that supports interdisciplinary research across campus and promotes growth of entrepreneurial activities and economic development for the state. We are most grateful to Wayne and Kathy Richards for this very generous gift that will help us promote this vision and impact the lives of generations of engineering students to come.”

The Richards’ gift was made 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.



Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.

CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College