In commemoration of its 50th anniversary, the West Virginia University Foundation has announced creation of philanthropic and doctoral fellowship awards to be given annually.

The awardsthe WVU Foundation Distinguished Doctoral Fellowships, Outstanding Philanthropist, Outstanding Volunteer Philanthropists and Outstanding Philanthropic Organizationkeep alive the Foundations tradition of establishing programs that benefit the University at major milestones in its history.

For its 30 th anniversary in 1984-85, the WVU Foundation created the Foundation Awards for Outstanding Teachers. For the 40 th anniversary in 1994-95, the WVU Foundation Scholarship Program was established.

Commenting on creation of the fellowships, F. Duke Perry, Foundation president and CEO , said,These post-graduate students are the future generations of researchers and teachers who will help shape what West Virginia and the nation become.

Perry said the fellowships also willhelp to fulfill the WVU Foundations mission to enhance the overall well-being of West Virginia University.

Recipients of the four $5,000 fellowships will be selected annually by representatives in the WVU Provosts Office. The first fellowships will be awarded for the 2005-2006 academic year.

The Foundations philanthropy awards honor donors for their exceptional generosity, commitment and leadership, and for their proven records of outstanding civic and charitable devotion to the University, Perry said.

The inaugural recipients are: Outstanding Philanthropist, MilanMikePuskar ; Outstanding Volunteer Philanthropists, W. Gerald and Carolyn Eberly Blaney; and Outstanding Philanthropic Organization, Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust .

These awards give us the opportunity to honor exceptional donors and to express our gratitude for their continual support,said Stuart M. Robbins, chairman of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors. The awards were presented Saturday (June 4) at the annual Woodburn Circle Society Induction Ceremony and Dinner. The Society is the Foundations most prestigious giving group.

Puskar , of Morgantown, was honored for his benevolence, which has provided unprecedented support for the University as well as the community.

Cofounder and chairman of Mylan Laboratories Inc., his personal commitment of $20 million designated $5.5 million for academic purposes and $14.5 million for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. It is the largest gift ever made to the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University and in support of WVU athletics. A portion of the gift has endowed the Milan Puskar Deanship in the College of Business and Economics, as well as created the Puskar Athletic Scholarship Endowment and provided funds for extensive athletic facility enhancements.

To recognize his continued and unparalleled generosity, WVU s football stadium was named Milan Puskar Stadium, home of Mountaineer Field. He was inducted in 2003 into the Order of Vandalia, WVU s highest honor recognizing service to the University and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2000.

The Blaneys, of Chalk Hill, Pa., are being honored for their exceptional service and commitment to the advancement of the University.

They have made major contributions to numerous WVU programs and projects over the years, including funds for renovations in the Creative Arts Center and furnishings for the Life Sciences Building. In addition to their personal contributions to the renovation of the WVU Presidents home, the Blaneys played a key role in acquiring additional private support for the project. The presidents house is named Blaney House in their honor.

A trustee of the Eberly Family Charitable Trust and director of the Eberly Foundation, Mrs. Blaney, with the encouragement of her husband, has been instrumental in providing numerous gifts to benefit the University, particularly in arts and sciences. The college officially became the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 1993 to honor the familys generosity and dedication to preserving WVU s intellectual strength.

A member of the Eberly College Advisory Board, Mrs. Blaney served on the WVU Foundation Board of Directors for 11 years and the Building Greatness Campaign: West Virginia University National Committee. She was named WVU s 1992 Most Loyal Mountaineer and was inducted into the Order of Vandalia in 1995. She earned a bachelors degree in speech and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1998 from WVU . Mr. Blaney was the recipient of the 1999 WVU Shining Star Award for exemplary service to the University.

The Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust is a renowned WVU and community benefactor. The trust was established by McQuain, who died in 2002 at the age of 93. The retired president of Ruby Enterprises, Inc., her philanthropic endeavors encompassed the University and local organizations for more than 20 years.

Her generosity endowed four chairs in the WVU School of Medicine, created the Hazel Ruby McQuain WVU College of Law Deans Endowment Fund and generously supported various University programs and recreational facilities. She also made an $8 million gift toward the construction of Ruby Memorial Hospital, which was named after her late husband, J.W. Ruby. She served as an 11-year member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors.

Living her life with the humble philosophy,What we are is Gods gift to us. What we become is our gift to God,Hazel Ruby McQuains legacy will continue to be honored by future generations of WVU students.

George Farmer of Jackson Kelley, trustee of the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust, accepted the award on her behalf.