West Virginia Universitys Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources has received a gift of $520,000 from the estate of Jack H. Samples.

Samples, a 1949 graduate of the civil and environmental engineering program at WVU and a longtime employee of the West Virginia Department of Transportation, died in 2005.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will use the gift to establish the Jack H. Samples Distinguished Professorship in Structural Engineering at WVU .

A native of Oak Hill, Samples worked for the state Department of Transportation more than 40 years, serving many years as director of the Design Division. He was instrumental in the development of West Virginias interstate highway system.

An Army veteran of World War II, Samples received the Bronze Star, serving in both the European and Pacific theaters of operation.

He was an active member of Baptist Temple, the American Society of Civil Engineers and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He was also an avid golfer and Mountaineer fan.

Jack Samples was a dedicated public servant whose talent and hard work played an important role in building the modern highway system we enjoy today,said Fred Van Kirk, former commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Highways, who worked many years with Samples.

We are very proud to name this distinguished professorship in honor of Jack Samples, who used his WVU education to serve our state and its people throughout his life,said Gene Cilento, dean of WVU s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

This gift creates a lasting legacy in the name of Jack Samples, a legacy that will help us provide the highest quality of education to civil engineering students into the future,said David Martinelli, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Martinelli and Cilento also expressed appreciation to William R. and Margaret Samples. William Samples is Jacks brother and a 1953 graduate of WVU , also in civil engineering. WVU officials will host the Samples family at a luncheon later this month.

Bill and Margaret Samples were instrumental in envisioning and creating the Jack Samples Distinguished Professorship,said Martinelli.We are grateful to them for assisting us in honoring Jack in this way.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at WVU is currently engaged in a search to fill the newly established distinguished professorship position.

For more information, call the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at 304-293-3031, ext. 2633.