CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia University alumnus Mike Bodnar donated $1 million to WVU's College of Business and Economics today to help support the hospitality management program, the latest of his string of donations awarded to the college.
The monetary gift from Bodnar, a restaurant executive and president of Bodnar Investment Group, Inc., will go toward establishing an entrepreneurship and innovation endowment and hospitality and tourism support fund for students in his name.
"The College is making great strides in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation and hospitality, and those are things I am very passionate about in my life. It's important to me to provide this kind of support, which will only help the College advance in these areas," Bodnar said in a release.
Bodnar, who graduated from WVU in 1969 with a degree in civil engineering, has a range of expertise in the hospitality industry. He has served as CEO of Shoney's and was the largest franchisee of Wendy's. His company develops real estate in addition to providing start-up consulting for restaurants.
Bodnar donated a Taziki's Mediterranean Café, one of several restaurant chains he has developed, to the Mountainlair in 2010. Profits benefit the College of Business and Economics' hospitality management program, and the café also operates as a working lab for students in the program.
"We are very thankful for this gift," WVU President Jim Clements said in a release. "As a WVU graduate, Michael Bodnar is providing future students with the kind of opportunities he found at WVU. In all that he has done for our College of Business & Economics, he is enhancing the quality of our programs, and most importantly giving others the opportunity to follow their dreams. We are extremely grateful for his support."
The contribution was made in conjunction with the university's State of Minds campaign, a $750 million effort being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the university that runs through December 2015.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.