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WVSU receives more big gifts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia State University is celebrating another anonymous donation that will help improve its campus and offer more resources to students, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

A $300,000 donation will support "STEM" -- science, technology, engineering and math -- programs at the school and will fund a faculty position in bio-energy research.

Details of the donation, which also will go toward the "research rookies" program to get students involved in projects early, will be announced in late January or early February when the anonymous donor will be revealed.

The donation comes less than a month after WVSU received a $1 million anonymous gift to build a new athletic complex on campus.

The W Club, a national group that promotes collegiate sports, has committed an additional $200,000 to building the complex.

"We are very excited about this. It is an endorsement of the direction that State is headed in, and I think people are starting to see small steps turn into big steps," said Donna Simon, WVSU vice president for university relations and operations. "As we continue to grow, we are very focused on recruitment, and these gifts really reinforce that. This shows the confidence people have in our university moving forward."

The gifts were announced at the school's Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, where the board approved intent to plan two new degrees: a bachelor of science in nursing and a master's in public administration.

The nursing program would be a "2+2 plan" that allows associate students at the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College to easily move into the bachelor's degree program at State.

"This will provide a seamless transition here at State. The things that hold nursing students back are usably affordability and distance. There is a large population of nurses in our state who want to complete their bachelors, and we are one of the most affordable programs in the state," Simon said.

The approval process for the new programs is estimated to take about eight months before it goes up for review by the Higher Education Policy Commission.

While BOG Chairman Larry L. Rowe discussed the impact a proposed statewide budget cut could have on tuition -- which could mean a 5 percent hike in tuition at State -- there are no plans for an increase at this time, Simon said.

"We are not in conversations about tuition increases at this point at all," she said.

In addition to Rowe, State's BOG includes John Thralls, Scotty White, Larry Salyers, William Lipscomb, Thomas Susman, Tom Guetzloff, Vincent Williams, Ann Brothers Smith, Millie Booker and Gary L. Swingle.

Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.mays@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.


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