Howard Davidson, a senior criminology student at West Virginia University from Wheeling, is the third recipient of the Esther L. Crane Endowed Scholarship created in 2012 to supplement federal benefits for student veterans.

“It’s really helpful to veterans in particular to cover extra expenses that the GI Bill does not,” said Davidson, who entered the U.S. Army’s delayed entry program while still in high school, serving five years on active duty after graduation.

“Having a part time job along with school is stressful enough, but getting awarded this scholarship definitely helps with relieving some of the stress,” said Davidson, who will receive close to $1,000 to be used during his final year of college. After graduation, Davidson hopes to ultimately become a Pennsylvania State Trooper.

Davidson is the third recipient of the scholarship, funded by WVU alumnus Robert Crane and his wife, Sharon. The two pledged $100,000 in Robert’s mother’s honor to support student veterans at WVU beyond the GI Bill. Crane credits his mother, Esther Crane, a schoolteacher in Jefferson County from Uvilla, West Virginia, with his successful transition from the military into higher education.

Robert Crane spent nine years in the active Army and Army Reserve and attended college on the GI Bill. He created the scholarship to give back and help the more than 800 student veterans and their dependents enrolled at WVU achieve their goals. The scholarship is awarded to students who are West Virginia natives, and a preference is given to disabled student veterans.

Davidson says the transition from military to civilian life is ongoing. He would like to organize a program that the University could use to better assist veteran needs in the classroom by educating faculty on how to enhance their curriculum.

Jerry McCarthy, director of WVU Veteran Affairs, said the scholarship highlights the importance of helping the University’s student veterans work toward their goals and achieve their dreams.

“We are immensely grateful for Robert and Sharon Crane’s generous donation to WVU’s student veterans,” he said. “Their financial support helps veterans like Howard who has worked so hard toward in achieving his academic goals and dreams of graduating from WVU a reality.”

The endowment was created through the WVU Foundation in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia University. The $1 billion comprehensive campaign runs through December 2016.

To learn more about giving to WVU’s veteran students, visit or make a donation to the WVU Veterans Fund online at



CONTACT: Jerry McCarthy; WVU Veterans Affairs

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.