Elizabeth E. Chilton, president of the firm that owns the Charleston Gazette Co., is to receive the President’s Distinguished Service Award from West Virginia University during the May Commencement weekend.

The award honors individuals who have served the University and provided exceptional leadership to the state.

WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. will present the crystal award during the main commencement ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 14, at Mountaineer Field.

“We are pleased to recognize Betty Chilton for her service to West Virginia and West Virginia University,”Hardesty said.”Her advice and counsel have been sought routinely by state leaders and educators because of her unique understanding of the state and its people. She has been especially close to Susan and me, and we appreciate deeply all she has done for WVU .”


Chilton was born in Williamson, and attended Hollins College in Virginia and Marjorie Webster College in Washington. In 1952, she married the late W. E.”Ned”Chilton III , who was publisher of the Gazette until his death in 1987.

She has been a member of the public relations staff of the Gazette since 1952. She served as vice president and treasurer of the Daily Gazette Co. from 1987 to 1991. Since 1991, she has been president and editorial board member of the Gazette and a director of Charleston Newspapers.

Mrs. Chilton has been active in higher education in West Virginia. She has served on the advisory board of the WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences since 1996. She also has been a trustee of the University of Charleston since 1989, served on the Marshall University Yeager Scholars Selection Committee, and was a member of the West Virginia State College Foundation. In 1999, she was appointed to the WVU Board of Advisors.

She previously received the John Marshall Medal for Civic Responsibility from Marshall University.

She is chairman of the West Virginia Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation and is a director of Charleston Renaissance Corp., the National Science Camp and the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences.

She has served on boards of the West Virginia Humanities Council, the Faculty Merit Scholarship Foundation, the Business and Industrial Development CO., WSWP public television station, Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Gunston Hall Plantation, Childrens Express, Advantage Valley and the Worth Bingham Prize Foundation.

Chilton also is a member of professional organizations including the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, the International Press Institute, the Newspaper Association of Americaand civic groups such as the National Society of Colonial Dames, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Garden Club of America and Junior League of Charleston.

Her daughter, Mrs. Susan Carroll Chilton Shumate, a Gazette director, graduated from WVU in 1992, and her son-in-law, Norman”Trip”Shumate, Gazette business manager, graduated in 1991. They have two children.

Only one Presidents Distinguished Service Award is to be bestowed at the May 14 ceremony. It will be 13th such award. Previous recipients include Gov. Cecil Underwood, former WVU President Gene Budig, rocket engineer Homer Hickam Jr., former state AFL -CIO President Joseph Powell and newspaper publisher Ogden Nutting, among others.