The West Virginia University Alumni Association will recognize two outstanding alumni as part of the 2009 Homecoming activities Oct. 23-24. Monongalia County natives Ben and Jo Statler will be recognized for their extraordinary service to West Virginia University during the halftime ceremony of the WVU-UConn game on Oct. 24.

The Statlers have maintained strong ties to their community and to WVU. In 2007, they made the largest single gift to the University to fund various projects and research at the university. Through their generous contribution to the WVU Alumni Association’s New Home for Mountaineers Building Campaign, a new alumni center for the university community became a reality. In recognition of their support of this project, Statler Wilson Commons now serves as the official home of The Erickson Alumni Center and Raymond J. Lane Park.

“Ben and Jo Statler exemplify the true Mountaineer spirit of our great university,” said Stephen L. Douglas, president and CEO, WVU Alumni Association. “Their generosity, enthusiasm and dedication to WVU have truly made our alma mater a stronger, better institution. We look forward to honoring them during this special Homecoming celebration.”

The Statlers have received numerous honors, including Most Loyal West Virginians, the WVU Foundation’s Outstanding Philanthropists Award, and the Milan Puskar Award. In 2009, they each received honorary doctorates from WVU during commencement ceremonies.

A third generation coal miner, Ben Statler received his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from WVU in 1973. While attending WVU, he began his career at CONSOL Energy, working as a laborer. For 30 years, he held various positions at CONSOL Energy before starting his own mining company, PinnOak Resources LLC. Statler served as President and CEO of PinnOak Resources LLC until he sold the company in 2007.

Statler has always been active in his communities by serving as a board member for various organizations including the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Ohio Valley Medical Center, Upper Ohio Valley United Way, Easter Seals, Christ United Methodist Church and Boy Scouts of America. He has served on the advisory committee for WVU department of Mining Engineering and was named to the WVU Foundation Board of Directors in August 2008.

Jo Statler, who worked for WVU’s School of Dentistry, has been a strong supporter of her community and WVU. She helped launch Bonnie’s Bus which provides digital mammography services to women in remote areas of West Virginia. The bus is named after Statler’s mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson, who died of breast cancer. Jo is currently serving on the Metropolitan Theater Foundation Board.

The Statlers currently reside in McMurray, Pa. They are the parents of two children, Julie and Ben II, and the grandparents of three grandsons.



CONTACT: Tara Curtis, WVU Alumni Association