Charles Kona found more than a degree at West Virginia University – he found his passion. His path to a civil engineering started at the University long ago, but his love for it never ended.

To honor her late husband’s passion, Rebecca Menear Kona has made a gift to the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

“This gift is being donated in memory of my beloved husband, Charles ‘Sonny’ Kona, who was awarded his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from WVU in 1971 and 1974, respectively,” said Rebecca, who is also a WVU graduate (College of Education and Human Services ‘70, ‘74). “His beloved vocation as a civil engineer afforded him the opportunity to fulfill his life’s passion of formulating and constructing well-crafted, aesthetically practical structures.” Kona passed away in 2013.

The sale of the home Kona built in Hampshire County, W.Va., valued at $359,000, will help to create The Charles and Rebecca Menear Kona Civil Engineering Scholarship. The endowment will provide scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students who are residents of the state studying in the Statler College’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“As Chuck’s widow, it is my sincere wish to be able to provide the same type of opportunity for future West Virginia students majoring in civil engineering to carry forward a similar sense of passion and dedication, which so characterized Chuck in all of his life’s endeavors, not the least of which was his career as a civil engineer,” said Rebecca, a Morgantown, W.Va., native.

“These scholarships will support our goal to attract and retain top-quality undergraduate and graduate students pursuing civil engineering,” said Radhey Sharma, Department chair. “On behalf of our faculty, students and staff, I would like to extend our appreciation to Mrs. Kona for this generous gift.”

The gift was made in conjunction with “A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University.” The $750-million comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2015. For more information on “A State of Minds” visit



CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

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