The West Virginia University College of Business and Economics has established the B&E Young Professional Network to engage young alumni.

In the first year, the group, comprised of individuals under the age of 45, has grown to 121 young alumni members hailing from 20 states, 49 cities and 2 countries.

“In the College of B&E, we understand that so many of our young alumni are succeeding in their careers and they value a sense of engagement,” said Bonnie Anderson, director of alumni relations and assistant director of development at WVU’s business school. “We wanted this Young Professional Network to be a channel for these young, accomplished alumni to give back to their alma mater, and also be a part of an exclusive network of successful B&E graduates.”

Those who joined in the initial year are designated as charter members. Because of this distinction, these members will decide how money raised through this membership will be spent to help their business school.

Of the more than 22,000 living B&E graduates, many are young alumni who are working industriously and have flourishing careers. YPN is a vision realized to build a young professional network comprised of individuals who wanted to contribute to B&E and be part of an exclusive alumni network.

According to Anderson and the B&E Office of Development , the network’s charter members have raised more than $25,000 to date. To become a member of YPN, the young alumni are asked to make a minimum donation of $10 per month or become a lifetime member of the network by donating $1,200 or more.

The charters members of YPN are eager to use the funds raised to make an impact and assist current and future B&E students and graduates. Nick Oxley, a 2005 MBA graduate of B&E and member at Arnett Carbis Toothman Wealth Advisors LLC in Charleston, West Virginia, said he became a YPN member to give back to the business school in a meaningful way.

“Through my membership, I hope to help increase the potential for success of future B&E graduates and strengthen my relationship with B&E and with my peers who share the vision for the Young Professional Network,” Oxley said. “It’s not about us as individuals. It’s about what we can do collectively – as the YPN – to enhance student experiences, increase their probability of success, and create a legacy of future donors of B&E to further its mission.”

To commemorate this initiative and its remarkable success, B&E hosted a reception honoring the charter members of the network on September 4 at the Erickson Alumni Center, where the charter members were presented with a custom made wooden business card holder handcrafted by Tamarack-juried artisan Matt Thomas owner of ThomasWork in Gilmer County, West Virginia. Edward and Nancy McCormick DiPaolo, both 1976 graduates of WVU and who live in Houston, Texas, provided funding for the gifts presented to YPN charter members.

Additionally, six members of the WVU Irvin Stewart Society attended the event. Former WVU President David Hardesty and his wife Susan Hardesty, Morgantown; Jim and Ann Strader, Pittsburgh; and Dan and Mary McBride, Pittsburgh, distributed the custom gifts to the charter members and networked with the alumni.

“As each name was read with a brief bio, we could tell that they were proud to have been recognized by their college at this stage in their lives and also proud of the other young professionals,” Susan Hardesty said. “B&E has developed a program that could be effective at every college on campus. Acknowledging young professionals is a wonderful way to remind graduates that their careers started at WVU.”

For more information, please visit, or to register as a member of the B&E Young Professional network, please visit



CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics

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