West Virginia University alumni, friends and families will have a new gathering place on the Evansdale Campus thanks to Ben and Jo Statler. The WVU Alumni Association announced today (May 13) that the couple made a $2 million gift to the new alumni center.

In recognition of this significant gift, which puts the building campaign over its goal of $12 million, Statler Wilson Commons will be the official home of the Erickson Alumni Center and Lane Park.

We are grateful that the Statlers believed this project was worthy of their support,said Stephen L. Douglas, president and chief executive officer of the WVU Alumni Association.They have been steadfast in their commitment to WVU by supporting cancer research, bringing mobile mammography services to women all across West Virginia, and enhancing our athletic programs and facilities. And now, thanks to their generous contribution to our building campaign, Statler Wilson Commons will be a focal point on the Evansdale Campus where alumni, friends and families can gather for events and activities.

We are pleased to contribute to such a beautiful facility that will serve an important role for generations to come at WVU ,Ben Statler said.

The Statlers will receive honorary doctorates from WVU during the Commencement Honors Convocation at 7 p.m. Friday (May 15) in the Creative Arts Center (live webcast available at http://webcast.wvu.edu/ ).

In addition to supporting the University, the couple remains active in community activities and organizations.

Born and raised in Monongalia County, the Statlers enjoy giving back to the community. They gave the county board of education $1.2 million to build a gymnasium at their high school alma materClay Battelle. It was dedicated in April 2007 and named the Statler Wilson Gymnasium in honor of their parents.

During WVU s 2007 Mountaineer Week, the Statlers were named the Most Loyal West Virginians, and the WVU Foundation honored them with the 2008 Outstanding Philanthropists Award. Most recently, they were recipients of the 2009 Milan Puskar Award.

Ben Statler has served on the advisory committee for WVU s Department of Mining Engineering for a number of years. In August 2008, he was named to the WVU Foundation Board of Directors.

Jo Statler has been a strong supporter of WVU and the state throughout her life. She currently serves on the Metropolitan Theater Foundation Board and provided leadership in launching Bonnies Bus in honor of her mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson, who died of breast cancer. The bus provides digital mammography services to women in remote areas of West Virginia.

Ben Statler earned a bachelors degree in mining engineering at WVU in 1973 while working the midnight shift at the Pursglove Mine, and Jo Statler worked for the School of Dentistry. The couple has two children, Julie and Ben II, and three grandsons.