The West Virginia University Alumni Association will induct its newest distinguished alumni during the 24th Annual WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni on Feb. 4, including its first family and international alumni, as well as its youngest inductee.

The Al Zamil Family of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will be the first family and first international alumni to be recognized by the Academy. Zamil A. Al Zamil (MS ‘73), Fahad A. Al Zamil (AB ‘76), Waleed A. Al Zamil (BS ‘86) and Tawfiq A. Al Zamil (BS ‘86) are well-respected businessmen, philanthropists and Mountaineers. The Academy will induct the youngest member – Dr. Kimberly A. Weaver (BS ‘87), a Morgantown native and highly respected astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Retired coal executive, entrepreneur and philanthropist Benjamin M. Statler (BS ‘73) will also be honored with induction into the Academy. The group will be inducted during a dinner and ceremony on Friday, Feb. 4, at The Erickson Alumni Center beginning at 7 p.m.

“The Class of 2011 is truly unique and one that represents the wonderful success stories of our alumni – both nationally and internationally,” said Stephen L. Douglas, president and CEO, WVU Alumni Association. “These outstanding graduates have been extremely successful in their professional careers, and we are pleased to recognize them as part of this elite group.”

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Al Zamil Family

The Al Zamils founded several successful business operations in the Middle East and were instrumental in the creation of the Royal University for Women in Bahrain, the first private, purpose-built international university in the Kingdom of Bahrain dedicated solely to educating women.

Zamil A. Al Zamil, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, graduated from the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources with a master’s degree in petroleum engineering in 1973 and received a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California. From 1973 to 1976 he was a petroleum engineer for the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in Saudi Arabia. In 1977 he founded Zamil Offshore Services with his brothers where he serves as president. He is chairman of Zamil Operations and Maintenance Co., Ltd. and serves on numerous boards, including Zamil Group Holding Company, Zamil Industrial Investment Company, Ithmaar Bank in Bahrain, and the Saudi Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Province.

Zamil, a well-respected businessman in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is actively involved with various institutions, industrial companies and banks, serving as director. He is also well known in the international communities for his business and social activities.

Fahad A. Al Zamil, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, received a Bachelor of Arts from WVU in 1976. He serves as chairman of Zamil Group in Bahrain, a position he has held since 2009. He serves as chairman of Zamil Food Industries Ltd., Jubail, Saudi Arabia (since 1982); the Royal University for Women, Bahrain (since 2009); Arabian Amines Company (since 2009); Jubail Energy Co., Jubail, Saudi Arabia (since 2003); and Universal Metal Coating Co., Jubail, Saudi Arabia (since 2002). Fahad has served as vice chairman and executive managing director of Gulf Stabilizers Industries, Jubail, Saudi Arabia, since 2000, and as managing director of SAHAARA Petrochemical Co., Jubail, Saudi Arabia, a position he has held since 2004.

Fahad devotes his time and expertise to numerous businesses and organizations, including National Power Co., Dammam, Saudi Arabia (director and board member since 2003); Zamil Group Holding Co., Al Khobar, (board member since 1976); Jubail Down Syndrome (board member); Jubail Women’s College (board member); Gulf Union Insurance & Reinsurance Co., Bahrain (director since 2009); and Gulf Union Insurance & Project Management Holding Co., Bahrain (director since 2009). He is also a member of the Saudi-Irish Joint Commission and Saudi-Canadian Joint Commission since 1992.

Waleed A. Al Zamil, Kingdom of Bahrain, received his bachelor’s degree from WVU’s College of Business and Economics in 1986. Today, Waleed serves on the Board of Directors for Zamil Group Holding Company and is a founding member of the Royal University for Women in Bahrain.

A respected businessman in the international community, Waleed serves on numerous boards, including Zamil Group B.S.C., Bahrain; Zamil Gulf Holding, Bahrain; Zamil Coating & Galvanizing Co., Bahrain, where he also serves as managing director; and Zamil Industrial Coatings, Saudi Arabia, where he also serves as managing director. He is also a member of the board and managing director of Zamil Marble Factory, Bahrain; a member of the board and managing director of Zamil Nails & Screws Factory, Bahrain; a member of the Advisory Committee of Naseem International School, Bahrain; and Muharraq Social Welfare Centre, Bahrain, where he serves as chairman.

Waleed has attended many conferences on family business, executive development and leadership programs at leading international institutes. He is an active member of many philanthropic and charitable organizations in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Tawfiq A. Al Zamil, Kingdom of Bahrain, received his bachelor’s degree from the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences in 1986. He is director of Zamil Group and a founding member of the Royal University for Women in Bahrain.

Tawfiq, a respected businessman in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Middle East and Northern Africa region, serves on numerous boards and professional organizations, including Zamil Group Holding Company (board member); Eastern Morris Cranes Company (chairman); ALS Laboratory Services (chairman); Zamil Commercial Division (vice chairman); Zamil Plastics (vice chairman); Maamel (board member); and Premier Casing Services-Egypt (board member). He also serves on the boards of Bishof + Klein (B & K), Saudi Arabia, Bitunil Waterproofing Material Co., and International Insulation Material Company (B&Z).

In addition to his distinguished professional accomplishments, Tawfiq is actively engaged in a number of philanthropic and charitable organizations. He is a keen advocate of providing training opportunities for youth to develop their skills and experience.

Benjamin M. Statler

Benjamin M. Statler was born and raised in Monongalia County, W.Va. A third generation coal miner, he received his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from WVU in 1973. While attending the university, Statler began his career at CONSOL Energy, working as a laborer on the night shift. For 30 years, he held various positions at CONSOL Energy before starting his own mining company, PinnOak Resources LLC where he served as president and CEO until he sold the company in 2007. Today, he is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Statler began his career with Consolidation Coal in 1969, retiring as senior vice president of mining for CONSOL Energy in 1999. At Consolidation Coal Company he held many positions, beginning as a laborer and advancing from section foreman to assistant superintendent, superintendent, and technical assistant to vice president of Morgantown operations before becoming vice president of Moundsville and Ohio operations. In 1994 Ben was named senior vice president of mining, eastern region, and in 1996 became senior vice president of mining for CONSOL.

He has maintained strong ties to his community and to WVU. He has served on boards of 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 served on the advisory committee for the WVU Department of Mining Engineering and was named to the WVU Foundation Board of Directors in August 2008.

Statler has been recognized for his professional accomplishments, as well as his community involvement. He was named a Most Loyal West Virginian, received the WVU Foundation’s Outstanding Philanthropists Award, Milan Puskar Award, WVU Alumni Association’s Outstanding Alumni Award and was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from WVU in 2009.

In 2007, Ben and his wife, Jo, announced a $25 million gift to WVU, the single largest gift to the University. The gift has provided cancer research, academic enhancements and athletic improvements for the university and its students. 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.

Dr. Kimberly A. Weaver

Dr. Kimberly Ann Weaver received her undergraduate degree in physics from WVU in 1987 and her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Maryland in 1993.

Dr. Weaver is an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and a noted national and international expert in the field of X-ray astronomy. Her primary area of astronomy research is space-based observations of black holes and galaxies. She has published more than 80 professional science publications so far during her career and has collaborated with scientists from all over the world, including England, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Germany.

After receiving her doctorate, Dr. Weaver moved on to postgraduate work at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa., and then to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., where she is an adjunct professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She mentors graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and many of her students continue on to successful careers in both astronomy and education/public outreach.

In 1996, she won a “Presidential Early Career Award” for her work in X-ray astrophysics. This award is given yearly by the White House and is designed to recognize and honor outstanding scientists and engineers at the outset of their research careers. That same year she also participated in a NASA advisory panel to determine key science questions to be pursued as part of the Space Science Enterprise Strategic Plan for 2000 and beyond for the NASA Office of Space Science.

Dr. Weaver oversees programs at both Goddard and at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. She assumed a number of leadership and professional roles, most recently serving as associate director for science in the Astrophysics Division at Goddard. She spent two years at NASA Headquarters as the program scientist for the Spitzer Space Telescope and previously served as the deputy project scientist for NASA’s future Constellation-X telescope mission (now renamed the International X-ray Observatory).

She served as the science liaison to NASA HQ public affairs for the Astrophysics Division where she facilitated astronomy press conferences for NASA, several of which were significant and ranked among the highest in 2005 for NASA in terms of news coverage for science and has presented more than 30 public lectures, serving as an expert on the subject of black holes, galaxy clusters and dark energy. In addition to authoring popular science articles, she also wrote a well-received book—“The Violent Universe: Joyrides Through the X-ray Cosmos.”

She has appeared in national and international television documentaries to discuss the science of astronomy, including “NOVA: Hunting the Edge of Space: The Story of the Telescope” (2010), and “Naked Science: Hawking’s Universe” (National Geographic TV – 2009), among others.

Dr. Weaver has received numerous professional and service awards, including the Alumni Recognition Award from the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences, which acknowledges graduates who have made significant contributions to their field and whose lives and careers exemplify the best traditions of a liberal arts and sciences education, and the University of Maryland Astronomy Department’s Distinguished Alumna award. In 2009, she received the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award for her work in public relations and public outreach.

The Academy of Distinguished Alumni honors West Virginia University graduates who have attained national or international distinction in their profession or discipline. The award has been established by the WVU Alumni Association in cooperation with the University’s 13 schools and colleges. Since 1988, this prestigious award has been bestowed on nearly 100 WVU alumni. For more information about these distinguished graduates, visit:

For more information, please contact the WVU Alumni Association at 304-293-4731 or visit



CONTACT: Tara Curtis, WVU Alumni Association,
(304) 293-0972,

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