As native West Virginians and WVU alumni, James and Barbara Gilkerson have partnered with the West Virginia University Reed College of Media to establish a unique scholarship opportunity for students enrolled in the college.

Established in 2013, the James and Barbara Gilkerson Journalism Scholarship is the College’s first four-year endowed scholarship, providing financial support to multiple students, who are West Virginia high school graduates and current residents, throughout their undergraduate experience.

What’s unique about this scholarship is that a student who receives it as a freshman will be able to rely on the same amount of funding each year through their senior year, assuming they meet the criteria.

“We are so appreciative of this scholarship and the Gilkersons for providing this gift,” said College of Media Dean Maryanne Reed. “It provides peace of mind for students who know they can count on that money throughout their undergraduate academic career. It’s also a recruitment tool for the College, as it will help us attract the best and brightest students. We hope other alumni will be inspired by the Gilkersons’ generosity to create similar scholarship funds in the College.”

The Gilkersons say they hope the scholarship recipients will recognize, as they have, the value of their WVU education.

“The communication skills we learned at the School of Journalism (now Reed College of Media) have been an integral element of our career and personal growth,” said the Gilkersons. “Our goal is to take the satisfaction we have achieved from this growth and pay it forward to future students.”

James Gilkerson, a native of Coalwood, West Virginia, was a public relations major and earned his B.S. Journalism in 1967. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Air Force for four years and then spent more than three decades in public relations for several large companies including National Steel, Kaiser Steel, General Dynamics, Hughes Aircraft, Raytheon Company and Kaiser Permanente. Barbara Gilkerson, a native of Morgantown, West Virginia, graduated in 1968 with a B.S. Journalism, majoring in news-editorial. She spent more than 35 years in the labor relations and human resources fields for the City and County of Riverside, California, and for Kaiser Permanente. The Gilkersons are retired and live in California.

The Gilkersons’ contribution to the WVU Reed College of Media was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $1 billion comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.

Alumni and friends who would like to make a donation to the WVU Reed College of Media should contact Director of Development Tiffany Samuels at or visit the college’s website.



CONTACT: Kimberly Walker, WVU Reed College of Media

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