The Chambers Family Charitable Trust has given the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics a $1 million gift to establish the Chambers Endowed Program for Electronic Business.

John and Elaine Chambers and Johns parents, Jack and June Chambers, are adding this gift to their previous gift of $500,000 to strategically focus on a new program they have helped design to boost West Virginias competitive position in information technology, electronic commerce and entrepreneurship. John Chambers and his parents are all WVU alumni.

The gift was made to the WVU Foundation in conjunction with the Building Greatness Campaign, a $250 million fund-raising effort the Foundation is conducting on behalf of the University. John Chambers serves as a member of the Building Greatness National Campaign Committee. This is one of the largest individual gifts in B&E history and a significant step toward the colleges campaign goal of $20 million.

The program will develop ways to integrate information technology, e-commerce and entrepreneurship into the WVU curriculum. Specifically, it is designed to recruit and retain strong faculty in information technology, electronic commerce and entrepreneurship; establish an incubator program for students interested in creating high technology start-up companies; provide direct student support (scholarships, laptop computers and student internship support); and develop service and outreach programs to improve the competitive position of West Virginia businesses.

“The Chambers family clearly has vision and commitment to the economic competitiveness of West Virginia,”said B&E Dean Jay Coats,”and this is a highly effective way for them to make that vision a reality at a time when its likely to have the highest possible impact.”

John Chambers earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the WVU College of Business and Economics in 1971. As president and CEO of Cisco Systems Inc., he helped build a company known for being the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. He was recently inducted into the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame, and he has earned international respect and numerous awards, including being named CEO of the Year by Chief Executive Magazine. John and Elaine have two children.

“I truly believe that the Internet and education are the two great equalizers in life,”John Chambers said.”The Internet has the potential to change peoples lives in ways we are just beginning to imagine, and I believe that technology and the Internet will help to level the playing field for students and faculty, both at WVU and worldwide. Elaine and I are pleased and honored to be able to support WVU ’s efforts in this exciting area of business education.”

Jack and June Chambers are both retired physicians, living in Charleston. Jack graduated from WVU ’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1943; June earned a bachelors degree from the School of Medicine in 1947. The Chambers have long ties to WVU and have provided strong financial support to the institution. Jack is a former member of the School of Medicine Visiting Committee and was inducted into the Order of Vandalia in 1977.

In 2001, both Jack and June were named the 2001 Most Loyal West Virginians, an award honoring faithfulness to the ideals and goals of the state of West Virginia through business, professional and civic achievement as well as support of WVU .

The WVU Foundation, a private non-profit corporation, is the designated agency to receive and administer gifts from private individuals and organizations for the benefit of West Virginia University and its affiliated organizations.

“A gift like this during our Capital Campaign goes a long way toward encouraging other donors to find ways to make an important impact on the economic well-being of West Virginia,”said Dean Coats.