When visitors have traveled to West Virginia University’s Downtown Campus in the past, they might have wondered exactly where the entrance is.
Now the recently completed Ware Jamison Gateway, a plaza at the corner of Beechurst and University avenues, will alert passersby that they have arrived at the campus, thanks in part to the generous gift of land from a family of Mountaineers.
In 2006, Dolores “Dee” Jamison Ware and Alfred “Al” F. Ware, both WVU alumni, donated land for the site to the WVU Foundation. The Wares have a strong connection to both the state and the University.
Dee Jamison Ware said she had “long dreamed of turning that plot of land into a beautiful welcome park for our alma mater.”
Al Ware believes this permanent site expresses their affection for the University.
“Both Dee and I are proud graduates of WVU and we are indebted to this University for our education and the mentoring that we have received over these many years,” he said. “We love this place and are delighted that we have the opportunity to give back.
“The Ware Jamison Gateway will always serve as a formal park entrance to the historic downtown WVU campus.”
A formal dedication of the gateway will be held in the spring.
Dee Jamison Ware said the land donated for the park had been in her family for more than 60 years and will now serve as a testament to the couple and Dee’s family. Her family has been in Monongalia County since the early 1700s and several of her family members attended the University: her parents, Charles Martin Jamison and Gladys Zearley Jamison; and her father’s three sisters and their husbands, Margaret Jamison Prager and Gene Prager, Beulah Jamison Walker and Arthur Walker, and Lucile Jamison Madeira and Kenneth Madeira.
The Wares graduated from the WVU School of Physical Education, Dee in 1952, and Al in 1950. Al received his master of arts in speech/communications in 1952 from WVU. Al Ware has been inducted into the Order of Vandalia and the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni, and currently chairs the WVU Emeritus reunion. Both are in the School of Physical Education Hall of Fame.
The Wares and the Ware Family Foundation support WVU and are members of the Woodburn Circle Society. The Ware Distinguished Professor, a position established by the Ware Family Foundation, provides leadership in childhood health and fitness to help reduce childhood obesity rates in the state. Dee and Al have been leaders and benefactors in the development of WVU’s Stansbury Hall Fitness/Wellness Center. Dee Ware was the chairman of both the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sports Science and Blaney House Visiting committees.
The quarter-acre plaza named for the Ware and Jamison families has a low wall where visitors can sit alongside flagpoles bearing the American flag, West Virginia’s flag and WVU’s flag, and a landscaped space for passersby to enjoy. The monument inside the park with a large flying WV identifies the historic Downtown Campus to visitors and residents and will be part of the University’s comprehensive branding effort.
This gateway is setting the tone for future markers expected to be constructed near the Creative Arts Center and along Patteson Drive near the Erickson Alumni Center and Health Sciences campus. A timeline has not been set for marking additional campus entrances, which will depend on locating funding sources.
The monument inside the plaza includes black granite with blue flecks and gold granite texture in the flying WV, keeping with the University’s colors.
The Wares reside in Morgantown and Nokomis, FL.
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