In the year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, West Virginia University alumni and friends have contributed over $18.1 million to ensure students can achieve their dreams by enrolling at WVU or proceeding with their education.
More than 3,100 supporters have made scholarship gifts – including pledges, endowments and planned gifts – since the WVU Foundation launched its “We Are Stronger Together” initiative in May 2020. Contributions to the ongoing fundraising effort assist WVU students affected by the pandemic with tuition, room and board, and other educational expenses.
“The support shown by our alumni and friends for the University’s current and future students has been tremendous,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “However, we know the financial hardships many are now experiencing as a result of the pandemic will extend well into its aftermath. We must continue to be steadfast in our efforts to help students and their families as they aspire to a brighter future for themselves, the rest of West Virginia and our world.”
Two significant gifts made in conjunction with WVU Day of Giving boosted scholarship support in recent months – a $1.7 million commitment from James and Catherine Eliades Faller to benefit chemical engineering students at the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and a $1.75 million contribution from Jim and Marsha Blair to benefit graduates of Maryland’s Mountain Ridge High School who attend WVU and Potomac State College.
“While this past year has been a challenge for everyone, it’s also been encouraging to see our WVU family step up to support students in need,” B.J. Davisson, executive vice president and chief development officer of the WVU Foundation, said. “The overwhelming generosity of our donors, demonstrated with gifts big and small, have shown the collective strength of Mountaineer Nation.”
As of March 2021, more than 300 students have benefitted from timely scholarship support via “We Are Stronger Together.” Lindsey Ford, a single mom and non-traditional student enrolled in the online Master of Social Work program, said the scholarship funds reduced some of the pressure she was facing amid the pandemic.
“Having small children, working full-time and trying to complete a master’s has been quite the experience, but very rewarding, very meaningful,” Ford said. “And having that financial support, that surprise, was just an added benefit, an added blessing to a year that’s been pretty difficult. I’m very thankful to those that donated.”
Donations to the “We Are Stronger Together” scholarship initiative can be made by contacting Jena Prokopchuk, WVU Foundation executive director of leadership annual giving, at 304-282-5929 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or online via a secure giving webpage.
Students who believe they qualify should contact the Mountaineer Hub and submit an online ticket requesting assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of Financial Aid oversees awarding scholarships for all WVU students in accordance with each student’s aid eligibility.
All gifts to the “We Are Stronger Together” initiative are made through the Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.
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