For more than 40 years before his retirement in 2009, Joginder Nath gave to West Virginia University students by mentoring and sharing his knowledge as a genetics professor. Now, he is giving back in a different way, but helping students is still at the core.
Through the WVU Foundation, Nath, now an emeritus professor, has established the Nath Student Food Pantry Endowment that will provide funds to purchase food for distribution to students from The Rack, WVU’s student food pantry.
“Students have been my life,” Nath said. “I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the students. So we must take care of them. They are very precious.”
Nath learned about “The Rack” after reading a local newspaper article, and was surprised to find out just how many students are using its services. Since its creation in the fall of 2010, “The Rack” has served over 4,000 students and their dependents. Nath said he had wanted to do something to help combat hunger in the local area, and after talking extensively with those who operate “The Rack”, it seemed like a great fit.
“It bothered me after reading about students foregoing meals because of expenses like tuition, fees, books and transportation,” Nath said. “I feel very strongly about helping students these days. I’m very happy and proud to be able to make this gift to the WVU food pantry.”
Jacqueline Dooley is program director for “The Rack” in WVU’s Student Organizations Services. She said a random sampling of students during the 2012-13 academic year showed that 57-percent of those surveyed said they have sacrificed the purchase of food to pay for educational expenses, such as tuition, room and board, and/or student loans.
”’The Rack’ is a vital resource for many at WVU be it undergraduate, graduate or professional students,” Dooley said. “Students utilizing ‘The Rack’ are overjoyed and grateful to receive food without cost.”
“The Rack” at WVU is funded solely through private donations and grants. The Nath donation is the first-ever endowment supporting the initiative. Dooley is hoping to use the Nath gift and other local contributions to secure matching funds through the Feinstein Foundation’s hunger relief program.
Nath has made several gifts to the University and community over the years, including supporting the Art Museum of WVU, an endowed lectureship in the Honors College, a graduate student travel fund at the Davis College, of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and local arts projects and hospitals in the region. But he says there’s just something special about this latest philanthropic initiative.
“I have helped many causes, but this perhaps, is the most satisfying,” Nath said. “It is such a joy to know you are helping kids. I hope my gift serves as an inspiration for others to support this worthy project.”
The Nath Student Food Pantry Endowment was created 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.
CONTACTS: Bill Nevin, WVU Foundation
Jacqueline A. Dooley, Student Organizations Services
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