James Gabriel, president and board chair of Gabriel Brothers Inc., a locally-owned chain of discount clothing stores, has donated a gift of stock to the West Virginia University Foundation to endow the James Gabriel Fellowship. The endowment will provide funds to support the studies of graduate students in the WVU Department of Political Science.
James Gabriel co-founded Gabriel Brothers Inc. in 1961 with his brother Arthur Gabriel, who serves as board secretary and treasurer. Gabriel Brothers has been in the discount clothing retail business for more than 40 years, but the companys roots stretch further back into Appalachian history. In the 1920s, a Lebanese immigrant named Z.G. Gabriel, father of James and Arthur, began peddling merchandise in the coal towns of Fayette County, in southwestern Pennsylvania.
He wanted his sons to earn college degrees so they would have opportunities unavailable to an immigrant of modest educational attainments. Both sons earned WVU degrees.
James Gabriel earned a masters degree in political science from WVU in 1958 and taught at WVU and several institutions of higher education in western Pennsylvania for more than 15 years.
He has created the fellowship to help graduate students following in his footsteps and to support WVU as a way of honoring America, the country that has afforded the Gabriel family the opportunity to develop a successful business.
The Department of Political Science, which offers B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the discipline, is one of 16 academic units in the Eberly College of Arts and Science.
The WVU Foundation Inc. is a private non-profit organization, which generates, receives, and administers private gifts from individuals and organizations for the benefit of West Virginia University. The Gabriel gift is included in the Building Greatness Campaign, which has raised more than $262 million for WVU and concludes in December 2003.