A $25 million gift to West Virginia University, announced Wednesday, will fund breast cancer care and other health programs, along with programs at the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
The donors, Jo and Ben Statler, are both natives of Monongalia County and attended Clay-Batelle High School together, marrying shortly after graduation. Ben earned his degree in mining engineering from WVU , while working the night shift at the Pursglove mine. Before their children were born, Jo worked for the WVU School of Dentistry.
This is the single largest gift ever made to WVU ,West Virginia University President Mike Garrison said.The grace and generosity of the Statler family is enormous for our institution and for all of West Virginia.
The first $5 million will go to the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program at WVU s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. A large portion of that gift will be used to purchase a mobile digital mammography unit to be called Bonnies Bus.
The Bonnie Wells Wilson Mobile Mammography Unit will be named for Mrs. Statlers late mother, and will bring WVU s advanced services to women throughout the rural parts of West Virginia.
The gift will also be used to recruit physician scientists at the cancer center.
This gift from the Statlers honors the memory of Jos mother and her courageous fight against breast cancer,said Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Cancer Center.This is truly transforming for breast cancer patients here at the Cancer Center, and for women in all parts of the state.
The state of West Virginia will provide an additional $2.5 million in matching funds for cancer research through its Eminent Scholars program.
Garrison said the remaining $20 million of the Statler gift will support Health Sciences programs, the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and a new scoreboard at the WVU Coliseum.
Ben Statler spent much of his career with Consolidation Coal Company, working his way up to become Senior Vice President of Mining for CONSOL in 1996. He formed his own mining company in 1999. In July 2003, Benjamin M. Statler, LLC and Questor Management acquired the assets of U.S. Steel Mining Company and founded PinnOak Resources, LLC .
Statler served as President and CEO of PinnOak until he sold the company in July 2007.
The Statlers live in McMurray, Pa., and in Naples, Fl. Last year they donated $1.2 million to Monongalia County Schools to build a new gymnasium at Clay-Batelle in Blacksville.
Prior to today, the largest private single gift to WVU was Morgantown businessman Milan Puskars $20 million gift to WVU and its Building Greatness Campaign in 2003.