Thomas A. Heywood, a Charleston attorney and civic leader, and Benjamin M. Statler, a retired energy executive and renowned philanthropist, have been named to the West Virginia University Board of Governors by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
“These individuals are leaders in every respect, and I am wholeheartedly confident in their commitment to West Virginia University, to its students, and to the entire campus community,” Gov. Tomblin said. “This is a critical time for our state and for higher education, which will help lead the way for West Virginia’s future success. I thank these new appointees for their willingness and eagerness to serve during such an important time.”
Heywood, managing partner of Bowles Rice based in Charleston, and Statler, who established his own consulting company after retiring from CONSOL Energy, were appointed to replace William Nutting and James Dailey II, respectively, whose terms expired.
“Ben Statler and Tom Heywood each bring a wealth of broad experience and insight to the Board of Governors,” said Board Chair Thomas V. Flaherty. “I’ve known Tom for more than 30 years and have watched his long-standing dedication to education, community service and West Virginia. A true Horatio Alger story, Ben’s devotion and generous commitment to his alma mater over the years is unparalleled.
“His passion for WVU and successful business career will serve the university well. I welcome both of them to the Board of Governors and look forward to working closely with them.”
Flaherty praised the service of Nutting and Dailey, who were not eligible for re-appointment. “They both dedicated their time and considerable talents to WVU during more than eight years on the Board. Personally, I particularly want to thank Jim Dailey who preceded me as board chair and was both a mentor and inspiration to me.”
President Gordon Gee echoed Flaherty. “Bill Nutting and Jim Dailey, as chair, have been important leaders during a key time in the life of West Virginia University – and we are in a stronger position because of their commitment to this institution,” Gee said.
“The addition of Tom Heywood and Ben Statler means we will continue having dedicated, knowledgeable and committed leadership at a high level,” he said. “I look forward to the wisdom and insight they will bring to our strong board. I thank Gov. Tomblin for these excellent appointments at this important time in the University’s life.”
As managing partner at Bowles Rice, Heywood acts as the firm’s CEO with responsibilities including overall operations, practice management and administration and strategic planning and growth. He has significant experience in health care, banking and corporate/commercial law, and is frequently called upon by clients and community leaders for advice on business matters related to acquisitions, divestitures and other transactional matters.
Heywood, who served as Gov. Gaston Caperton’s chief of staff from 1989 to 1993, earned his law degree in 1982 from Harvard Law School. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in international relations from Stanford University in 1978, with distinction, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Society.
Heywood serves on many charitable and non-profit boards, and actively participates in various business and economic development organizations and trade associations, including the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, the West Virginia Roundtable, the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Vision Shared and Imagine West Virginia. He is a former member of the Board of Governors for Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, where he served as chairman for more four years. He is currently a member of the executive committee and chairs the finance committee of the West Virginia University Hospitals board of directors and a member of the executive and finance committees of the Board of West Virginia University Health System Inc.
“I am very honored and humbled to join the Board of Governors, and look forward to working with President Gee, my fellow Board members and the entire WVU team to move the University and our state forward,” Heywood said. “This is the privilege of a lifetime, and I look forward to contributing to the success of our students, institution and state however I can.”
Statler was born and raised in Monongalia County. He is a third generation coal miner and worked the night shift at Pursglove mine while attending WVU.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from WVU in 1973. Statler joined Consolidation Coal in 1969, retiring as senior vice president of mining for CONSOL Energy in 1999. He then formed his own mining consulting company.
At Consolidation Coal Co. he held many positions, beginning as a laborer and advancing from section foreman to assistant superintendent, superintendent, and technical assistant to vice president of Morgantown operations before becoming vice president of Moundsville and Ohio operations. In 1994 Statler was named senior vice president of mining, eastern region, and in 1996 became senior vice president of mining for CONSOL.
In 2003, Benjamin M. Statler LLC and Questor Management Co. LLC acquired the assets of U.S. Steel Mining and founded PinnOak Resources LLC. Statler sold the company in July 2007 to Cliffs Natural Resources. In October 2007, Statler and his wife, Jo, announced a $25 million commitment to WVU, the single largest gift to the University.
Then in 2012, an additional gift brought the total commitment to $34 million, and the engineering college was named the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in his honor.
Statler’s professional activities include: Society of Mining Engineers, West Virginia Coal Association, Alabama Coal Association Board Member, Statler College visiting committee. He has also served on the West Virginia University Foundation board of directors.
His community activities include: board member of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Ohio Valley Medical Center, Upper Ohio Balley United Way; Easter Seals VIP for six years; board of trustees, Christ United Methodist Church; and chairman of Southwest Pennsylvania Boy Scouts of America Fund Drive.
The Statlers live in Naples, Florida.
“It is an honor to be given the opportunity to serve on the governing board of our great university and I am very much looking forward to it,” Statler said.
Both will serve through June 2019; their appointments are subject to advice and consent by the West Virginia Senate.
CONTACT: John A. Bolt; WVU Office of Communications
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.