Four individuals whose contributions to West Virginia University range from improving academic programs and facilities to bolstering financial support are recipients of the school’s highest honor for service to the institution.
The Order of Vandalia’s 2006 class includes:
- George R. Farmer Jr., attorney and trustee for the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust and Ruby Foundation
- Vaughn L. Kiger, president of Old Colony Co. of Morgantown
- Stuart M. Robbins, retired managing director of Donaldson, Lufkin&Jenrette
- Guy H. Stewart, dean emeritus of the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism
The honorees will be inducted during a special ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 13, at Erickson Alumni Center .
George R. Farmer Jr.
Farmer is best known as the conscientious legal mind behind two philanthropic organizations that have been generous to the University and Morgantown communities.
After graduating from the WVU College of Law in 1956, the Morgantown native became a partner with his father, George R. Farmer Sr., a College of Law graduate who taught business law at WVU ; Farmer&Farmer remained in business until 1980. He later joined Jackson Kelly and is currently of counsel with the law firm.
He served as one of youngest presidents of the West Virginia State Bar in 1971 and was chairman of the State Bar board of governors in 1972.
Farmer’s reputation for being an able, fair and compassionate steward of justice led to his representation of two of Morgantown’s most generous benefactorsJ.W. Ruby and Hazel Ruby McQuain.
He is a trustee of the Ruby Foundation and chairman of the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust board of trustees. Under his leadership, the two organizations have provided millions of dollars for support of, among other things, the creation of Ruby Memorial Hospital, a WVU College of Law library endowment, four fully endowed teaching chairs in the WVU School of Medicine and a wrestling practice facility being built near the Natatorium, as well as a major gift for a new Alumni Association center.
Farmer lives in Morgantown with his wife, Mary Ann.
Vaughn L. Kiger
A Morgantown native and 1966 WVU graduate, Kiger has remained a prominent fixture in his hometown for almost four decades.
He has been a part of the business community since 1967 when he started in the real estate business. He became president of Dorsey&Kiger Inc. Realtors in 1979 and is currently president of Old Colony Co. of Morgantown.
Kiger has also maintained ties to his alma mater and played a vital role in the town-and-gown relationship that has evolved between the University and the community. In that capacity, he has worn many hats: chairman, WVU Board of Governors, 2001-02; chairman, WVU Board of Advisors, 2000-01; vice chairman, WVU Board of Advisors, 1999-2000; president, WVU Alumni Association, 1992-93; and member, WVU Alumni Committee on Higher Education, 1982-86, to name a few.
Kiger has been recognized for his efforts. His honors include the WVU Student Government’s Richard T. Feller Outstanding Alumni Award in 2005, WVU Outstanding Alumni in 2002 and WVU Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer in 1996.
He lives in Morgantown with his wife, Meredith.
Stuart M. Robbins
Robbins, a native of Parkersburg , made his mark on Wall Streetan experience that would later benefit WVU .
He retired in 2000 as managing director of global equities for Donaldson, Lufkin&Jenrette, a leading Wall Street investment firm he joined in 1984. Prior to that, he worked for several other investment companies, including Paine Webber, Colin Hochstin, CS McKee and Parker Hunter.
Robbins, who graduated from WVU in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in history, has used his business acumen to benefit his alma mater as a member of the WVU Foundation board of directors. He served two terms as chairman and was instrumental in restructuring the foundation’s investment policy. He was also national vice chair of the organization’sBuilding Greatnesscapital campaign, which raised $336 million. Robbins and his wife, Joyce, have established several endowments to benefit WVU . They include the Stuart M. Robbins Family Endowment, Stuart and Joyce Robbins Scholarship, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Robbins Arts and Sciences Library Collection, Stuart and Joyce Robbins Presidential Fund and Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair in History, the department’s first chair.
The Robbinses reside in Connecticut and Florida .
Guy H. Stewart
Stewart has made a difference at WVU in two capacitiesas former dean of the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism and as chair of a committee dedicated to renovating WVU Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp.
Stewart, who grew up in Keyser, began his journalism career while still in high school, working for the Cumberland ( Md. ) Evening Times, Mineral Daily News-Tribune and Wheeling Intelligencer. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WVU in 1948 and 1949, respectively, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1957. He also worked briefly at the Chicago Tribune.
Stewart returned to his alma mater in 1960, first as a professor and director of graduate studies in the journalism school, then as the school’s dean from 1969-89. As dean, he oversaw the expansion of the school’s curriculum, was instrumental in renovations to the program’s home at Martin Hall and raised more than $2 million in scholarships and endowments. He returned as interim dean for two months in 1994.
Since his retirement, Stewart has been active in the 4-H All-Stars, an informal committee devoted to upgrading Jackson’s Mill. He spearheaded a campaign that raised $450,000 for a new pool at the Weston facility and was chair of a 4-H All-Stars legislative committee that lobbied for up to $35 million to renovate the mill’s buildings.
He lives in Morgantown with his wife, Patricia.