West Virginia Universitys College of Business and Economics has received a $1 million gift to establish an endowed chair to focus on entrepreneurship.
p. The gift is fulfillment of a pledge by the heirs of James Coffman, a 1943 B&E graduate who was wounded as an infantry platoon leader in World War II and later became a defense equipment supply agent. Coffman, who grew up near Clarksburg, sold heavy equipment in Ohio for years before becoming an independent supplier to the government as an agent for various manufacturers.

The James Clark Coffman Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies will support the colleges focus on education, research and services that help new businesses and innovators.

“Entrepreneurship is important to economic development, as Jim Coffman knew so well,”said Dean Jay Coats,”and through this generous gift from the Coffman family, our college will be better able to focus its educational resources on these issues.”

Russell Sobel, director of the WVU Entrepreneurship Center established in October 2002, said the endowment will be important in expanding the colleges focus in entrepreneurship.

“Support such as this endowed chair position are critical if we are going to expand, support and give high quality education to our students,”he said.”We need this kind of support, and we are very thankful to Jim Coffman and his family.”

The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, a private, non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.