One College of Business and Economics graduate has donated more than $100,000 to his alma mater in gratitude for the education he and his late wife received at West Virginia University.

Thomas M. Freeman, 1960 undergraduate and 1962 MBA alumnus, and his wife Phyllis Attanasio, of Schenectady, N.Y., have created a scholarship through a gift of $103,584 to B&E students from West Virginia and New York. The gift honors the memories of Freeman’s late wife, Florence, and Attanasio’s late husband, Peter, as well. Thomas and Phyllis were married in 2012 following the passing of their spouses in 2010.

The Thomas and Florence Freeman and Phyllis Attanasio Scholarship will be awarded based upon financial need.

“The Thomas and Florence Freeman and Phyllis Attanasio Scholarship represents the kind of gift that student recipients will personally see as invaluable,” said Jose ‘Zito’ Sartarelli, B&E Milan Puskar Dean. “Scholarships give the gift of a college education to students who are ready and willing to do the work a college education requires, but may be unable to afford. Mr. Freeman’s experience at WVU and B&E created his desire to give back.”

Freeman graduated from Mount Hope High School in Fayette County, W.Va., and WVU in economics and was part of the first MBA class. He served as speaker of the student legislature, student body treasurer, member of PiKA, Mountain and Sphinx. After earning his Ph.D. from Michigan State University, he served in the Office of the Chief of Staff, Army. He returned to Michigan State as a professor teaching in management, administration and higher education, and a member of the provost’s office staff. He joined Dr. Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., former president at Michigan State, at the SUNY system administration in Albany, New York, serving as associate provost, associate vice chancellor and professor of administration and policy studies at SUNY Albany.

Attanasio, a native of New York, pursued careers in health science, real estate and floral design. Her life as an active volunteer in animal and human rights is reflected in many organizations such as Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network, the Schoharie Animal Shelter and as a member with her late husband Peter of the Middleburgh Emergency Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Florence H. Freeman was from Beckley, West Virginia, graduating from WVU with a B.A. in English and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She taught for many years and was a community organizer in Okemos, Michigan, and Slingerlands, New York. She and Tom had two sons: Mark, an attorney and senior vice president at Key Bank headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio; and Kevin, a research scientist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

The endowment was created through the WVU Foundation in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The campaign is a $750 million fundraising effort being conducted by the Foundation on behalf of the University.

For further information on the WVU College of Business and Economics, please visit



CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics

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