West Virginia University United Way campaign organizers upped the challenge for employees this year, asking them to collectively raise $210,000 during the Universitys annual campaigna $10,000 increase from last years campaign goal.

The result? WVU employees met the challenge, and then some.

As of Oct. 29, the end of WVU s campaign, employees and retirees had contributed $228,309, over $7,000 more than last years campaign. The total could climb even higher, said campaign volunteer Virginia Petersen, because donations continue to come in. Organizers are optimistic the total will reach $230,000.

WVU faculty and staff have once again demonstrated their commitment to creating an environment where everyone has a chance to succeed. The United Way is the vehicle, but the donors are the fuel,said Susan Hardesty, who is in her second year chairing the WVU campaign.I am thrilled that so many of our WVU family have given generously to support the United Way agencies. We have exceeded our goal, and exceeded all prior levels of giving. On behalf of the thousand beneficiaries, I say thank you.

Several prizes donated by WVU departments have been awarded to contributors: a WVU Recreation Center membership went to Benjamin Ramsden, Neurobiology/Anatomy; Tickets to two performing arts performances to Gregory Elmes, Geology and Geography; and a yearly WVU Parking Pass to Carter Stinespring, CEMR Chemical Engineering. The first-time giver prize of a gift certificate for dinner at the Radisson went to Irene Smith, Human Resources; volunteer Deb Eakins, who collected Smiths contribution, also received a Radisson gift certificate.

Bruce McClymonds, president of WVU Hospitals, is chairing the 2005 campaign for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. The local effort hopes to raise a total of $1,260,000 to benefit 27 health and human services agencies.

Mountaineer mens basketball coach John Beilein and his wife, Kathleen, will serve as chairs of the WVU campaign next year.