The West Virginia University art collection will soon welcome a new addition, this year’s Blenko Glass state birthday vase, “Autumn Leaves.”

The Blenko family donates the newly-released birthday vase to the University annually. This year’s birthday celebration vase “pays homage to the state trees,” and their warm fall colors.

Saturday is “West Virginia Day,” the state’s birthday, and Blenko Glass traditionally celebrates with a new vase each year – but only makes as many vases as years since the sate was incorporated. So on Saturday, 152 “Autumn Leaves” vases will go on sale.

As the WVU collection of Blenko Glass expands, so does, too, the West Virginia history and artisanship within the University art collection.

The Blenko Glass collection at WVU originally belonged to Hillary Homburg, a WVU School of Dentistry alumna and 2000 WVU Foundation Scholar.

Homburg donated her collection to WVU in 2007, calling it her “most valuable possession” at the time, now one of only 10t known complete sets. WVU’s collection is on display at Blaney House, home of the WVU president.

Homburg said she was inspired to donate her collection by the giving of the Foundation to the student body and University, as well as the “greatness of West Virginians and their generosity.”

She felt the collection should be viewed by the public, with hopes that it would encourage others to preserve and appreciate the glass works of the only remaining glass factory in the state.

“Glass making, much like coal mining, is a part of our wonderful state history,” Homburg said. “History and art, knowing from where we came, and appreciating beauty are necessary for personal growth.”

Homburg’s involvement with Blenko Glass stems beyond the donation of her personal collection. As creator of The Blenko Project in 2000, Homburg has spent years advocating for the preservation and appreciation of West Virginia glassworks.

Homburg has served as part of the WVU School of Dentistry rural and community health initiative, and as the dentist at Cabin Creek Clinics, a rural community health center in Belle, W.Va., for five years.

For more information on the Blenko Glass Factory, visit or the blog “Heart of Glass,” at

The gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. the $1 billion fundraising effort being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.



CONTACT: Bill Nevin; WVU Foundation

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