Aware of the difficult economic conditions present in the Ohio Valley, Robert Alvarez and his wife, Mary Ann, have established an endowment at West Virginia University to provide scholarships to students from Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties.

“I was fortunate to have worked my way through WVU at a time when it was possible to do so, but with today’s costs, students need assistance,” said Alvarez, who earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in 1963 and 1964, respectively. “My wife and I thought an endowed scholarship to aid aspiring students from that region of the state that possess good potential and exhibit financial need would establish a lasting legacy for our family.”

With a gift of $25,000, the couple established the Joseph and Louise Alvarez Memorial Scholarship, which is named in honor of Robert’s parents.

“My father was an immigrant to this country at the age of eight,” he said. “He was raised in Marshall County during the Great Depression, and forced to leave school after the eighth grade to help support his family. He firmly believed education was a key component to success, and strongly advocated college education, which he was never able to achieve. I could think of no better way to honor my parents than to establish this scholarship at WVU.”

Over the course of his 42-year career, Alvarez worked for several U.S. businesses engaged in the manufacture of consumer and commercial products, focusing on heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. Now retired, he held technical management positions for General Electric, Hussmann, Carrier and Lennox corporations.

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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