The donation, announced Thursday (June 11) in Bridgeport, will be divided evenly by the two schools, creating the Cecil B. Highland College of Law Conference Room and the Barbara B. Highland Stroke Chair.
“The late Cecil and Barbara Highland have been great friends and supporters of West Virginia University and our region for many years. This latest gift to two of our outstanding colleges law and medicine is further evidence of their passion for this University and its mission of education, innovation and service to the citizens of our state,” said WVU President Gordon Gee.
“Barbara believed strongly in making a difference and was undeterred in her efforts,” said Marcia A. Broughton, a member of the Barbara B. Highland Charitable Trust Board of Trustees. “Her input was often unrecognized, but rarely ignored. She and Cecil were a team, each supporting and enhancing the other. Both contributed so much to central West Virginia and beyond. Barbara’s gift to the College of Law was to honor her husband and his commitment to legal education.”
The gift to the College of Law will provide funding for the building expansion and renovation project. In recognition of the gift, the second floor conference room (Room 242) at the College of Law will be named the Cecil B. Highland Conference Room.
“We deeply appreciate the Trustees’ work in fulfilling Barbara’s wishes to support WVU and other important organizations and charities in West Virginia,” said Greg Bowman, dean, WVU College of Law. “Cecil Highland was a member of our faculty, and this gift will be a wonderful part of Barbara and Cecil’s legacy. The WVU College of Law is committed to training the lawyers and leaders of tomorrow, and this gift will help us continue to achieve that goal.”
The WVU School of Medicine will benefit from the establishment of an endowed faculty position. The Barbara B. Highland Stroke Chair will provide funding for an individual to conduct neurologic research, teaching and service.
“Lasting gifts such as this are essential for us to carry out all three of our missions. The people of our state deserve the best, and this endowment will permit us to have the kind of school that we all want and West Virginia needs,” said Dr. John F. Brick, director of WVU Healthcare’s Stroke Center and endowed chair of the WVU School of Medicine Department of Neurology.
In recognition of its role as a regional and national leader in stroke care, WVU Healthcare’s Stroke Center again earned the highest honor possible last month from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines® program.
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
“We are indebted to Barbara Highland for recognizing the major role West Virginia University plays in this state, and making this generous gift possible through her estate,” said Cindi Roth, WVU Foundation president and CEO. “Her pioneering spirit, passion and tireless devotion to the causes she cared so deeply about will be felt for many, many years to come.”
About the Barbara B. Highland Charitable Trust
The Barbara B. Highland Charitable Trust is an established charitable lead trust transferring earned assets to identified charities.
The Highlands’ legacy began in West Virginia long ago, but their passion for innovation, education and philanthropy never ended.
While her husband was a key innovator of his time, Barbara B. Highland was instrumental in the workings of the banking business stemming from her intelligence and quick wit.
Mrs. Highland was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, and taught the value of education from her father, a successful doctor. She attended the University of Pennsylvania, earning a degree in economics in 1945, and was one of the first women to be admitted into the Wharton School of Business. She went on to work for IBM in Charleston. She died in 2012.
Cecil B. Highland Jr. was a meticulous attorney and hardworking businessman. Born in New Martinsville, West Virginia, Mr. Highland received his bachelor’s degree in political science from WVU in 1940. Subsequently, he attended Harvard Law School and graduated third in his class, magna cum laude.
Mr. Highland later became president and general manager of Clarksburg Publishing Company, owner of the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram newspapers. He served as president of Empire National Bank in Clarksburg. He helped found the Clarksburg law firm now known as McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner, and served for a time on the WVU College of Law faculty.
In 1972, Mr. Highland assisted in the creation of the Clarksburg-Harrison Cultural Foundation Inc. and was a member of its first board of directors.
Mr. Highland is a former member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors. He was inducted into WVU’s Order of Vandalia in 1998, the University’s highest honor for outstanding service. He died in 2002.
A gift by the Highlands helped build the new United Hospital Center, which serves families in North Central West Virginia. Although recognition was not sought by Mrs. Highland, the donation allowed the naming of the Cecil B. Highland Jr. and Barbara B. Highland Cancer Center.
Cecil and Barbara Highland were prominent leaders in each area they served. Their humanitarian service leaves the indelible mark of an enriched community.
The Barbara B. Highland Charitable Trust gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $1 billion fundraising effort by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.
CONTACT: Bill Nevin, WVU Foundation
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