You would be hard pressed to go through a day without reading or hearing about college student debt. The White House is talking about it, Congress is talking about it, and students and parents are definitely talking about it.

All of that talk and debate is what has prompted Fred Tattersall, an investment executive and finance graduate of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, to give $1 million to help his alma mater’s business students alleviate debt. Top B&E students who meet the criteria could be awarded up to $19,000 to put specifically toward the debt they have accrued as a college student.

“The topic of student debt is very sensitive, and is a topic that nearly every family of a soon-to-be or current college student has to address,” Tattersall, a 1970 B&E graduate, said Friday (Sept. 19) in announcing the gift. “This is a merit-based scholarship where, if you work hard and meet the criteria for the scholarship, you will be rewarded for that hard work. Students who work so hard at B&E will see their efforts pay off in the decrease — if not the elimination — of their student debt.”

B&E Milan Puskar Dean Jose (Zito) Sartarelli said this is Tattersall’s second major gift to the business school during WVU’s capital campaign, the first being a $3 million gift in November 2010 to endow a faculty chair in the business college’s Finance Department.

“Fred’s commitment and dedication to his alma mater is simply overwhelming,” Sartarelli said. “His first gift immediately affected business finance students by funding high quality faculty. This gift is designed help students reduce their college debt. His generosity is based on doing great things for students, and we are so very appreciative of him.”

“The gifts from Fred and Roddy Tattersall truly make a difference,” said West Virginia University President Gordon Gee. “The brilliance of this gift is that it helps offset student debt in a way to give back to both the University and the business school. It is innovative — but mostly it is supportive of our students. That is what is important to the Tattersall family.”

Tattersall is chairman of 1607 Capital Partners, a boutique investment firm located in Richmond, Virginia. The firm has $3 billion in total assets under management. He is also the founder and president of Richmond First Tee. He retired as the managing director and chief executive officer of Tattersall Advisory Group in June 2004.

He serves on West Virginia University’s Foundation Board and is a member of the investment committee. He is also a trustee emeriti at the University of Richmond and a past president of the Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia. Tattersall serves on the National Trustee Board of The First Tee. Tattersall was elected to the Greater Richmond Business Hall of Fame in 2009.

“On behalf of the WVU Foundation team and our partners at WVU, I want to express our deep gratitude to Fred and Roddy for this gift that will touch the lives of bright, talented students,” said Cindi Roth, Foundation president and CEO. “I know from talking with Fred on many occasions, he is passionate about helping young people. What better way to do that than by creating a scholarship to help alleviate college debt for our aspiring future business leaders. We thank the Tattersalls for their continuing generosity and commitment to the University.”

The contribution was made through the Foundation’s A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia University, the largest private fund-raising campaign in WVU’s history.

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CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics

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