Joel and Suellen Newman believe in the possibilities of the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. They’ve endowed a fund that will help make those possibilities realities.

The Newmans have created the Joel and Suellen Newman Dean’s Opportunities Fund, which will provide discretionary funds to support salaries, scholarships, research and other opportunities to advance the college’s mission and goals.

“Suellen and I feel it is very important to repay, in a small way, what we received from WVU, and contribute to the experience that the current students and our future leaders are enjoying,” said Joel Newman, president of the American Feed Industry Association and ‘71 graduate of the Davis College’s program in animal and nutritional sciences.

“I have enjoyed a very diverse and progressive career,” added Newman, who was inducted into the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2013. “WVU and the Davis College gave me the foundation to build on and achieve this success. Dr. Harold Kidder, in particular, was a valuable mentor for me during my time at WVU and his influence has stayed with me long after I graduated.”

Kidder also provided an example of philanthropy. His donation to WVU continues to support Davis College graduates as they pursue professional and graduate education.

Joel Newman serves as a member of the Davis College’s Visiting Committee and Comprehensive Campaign Committee, indications of his belief in the college’s growth and momentum.

“Davis College is making great strides under Dean Dan Robison’s leadership,” Newman said. “The expansion and success of the college research programs are contributing to the new technology that will enable our poultry and livestock producers to feed a growing global population, while also protecting our environmental resources for future generations.”

The Newmans recognize that some of the most creative and innovative learning experiences are not planned.

“We envision that this Dean’s Opportunity Fund will provide Dean Robison with the resources to support students and faculty in seizing unique opportunities that are not specifically funded in the annual budget,” Joel said.

“This is tremendously enabling support, open to every area of work in the College, and it made possible by the generosity and forward-looking ideals of the Newman’s,” Robison said.

The fund has already created opportunities for Davis College faculty, Kristen Matak and Marlon Knights, professors of human nutrition and foods and animal science, respectively, to attend the World Food Prize meetings and Bourlaug Dialogue International Symposium in October in Des Moines, Iowa.

“This conference has been called the premier conference in the world on global agriculture,” Matak said. “This year’s event looked ahead to the next century of advances in agricultural research and application and focused on critical issues related to our ability to nourish the world’s growing population.”

Robison added, “This is exactly the kind of conference our people should be part of—to generate new collaborations, to inspire new thinking, and to spread the word that WVU and the Davis College are part of the future. The critical support of the Newman’s enables us to do this. Their commitment to this college allows us to have a margin of excellence that will propel the next generation of thinkers and doers. Joel Newman is one of this generation’s thinkers and doers, and now he and Suellen are fostering the next. What a fantastic legacy they are helping to build. We are so grateful!”

The fund was created through the WVU Foundation as part of A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University, a $750 million fundraising effort the Foundation is conducting on behalf of the University.



CONTACT: David Welsh, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design

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