West Virginia State University Annual Black & Gold Gala set for April 5

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
March 28, 2019
West Virginia State University Annual Black & Gold Gala set for April 5
Event Honors Community, Business Leaders While Supporting University Students, Programs

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – The seventh annual West Virginia State University (WVSU) and West Virginia State University Foundation (WVSU Foundation) Black & Gold Gala will take place, Friday, April 5, at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

The black tie event recognizes the generosity of donors while raising funds to further support educational programs and students at the University.

This year’s honorees include the American Electric Power Foundation, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Center for Advancing Opportunity, the John L. Dickinson Family, Dr. Michael A. Harpold, the Maier Foundation Inc., and the Helen Wood Poffenbarger and Perry S. Poffenbarger Foundation.

The American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation’s giving is centered on AEP's community relations goal: “To support and play an active, positive role in the communities where we live and work.”  The American Electric Power Full STEAM Ahead program at WVSU has provided scholarships and research opportunities to undergraduate students and expanded the University’s capacity for research in bioenergy and outreach to public school children. This year, a new commitment from the AEP Foundation is making possible the establishment of a chemical engineering laboratory in support of WVSU’s new chemical engineering program.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO) is a research and education initiative created by a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Charles Koch Foundation, and Koch Industries. CAO supports faculty and students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other postsecondary institutions to develop research-based solutions to issues in education, criminal justice and entrepreneurship. The CAO has made a grant to fund an interdisciplinary research project at WVSU.

The John L. Dickinson Family has been in the Kanawha Valley since 1813 and has long been committed to supporting organizations in the region that better the lives of others. The Dickinson Family has made a gift to make possible the launch of a nursing program at WVSU. Family members Nancy Bruns, Lewis Payne and Jamie Payne stated that they proposed this gift to their family because, “A quality educational institution is vital to a healthy community. West Virginia State University has shown the leadership, innovation and educational results that give the Dickinson Family confidence in their investment in the new nursing program and dedication to a long term partnership with this fine institution.” 

Dr. Michael A. Harpold, grew up in Kanawha County and studied chemistry and mathematics at WVSU while working full time as a technician at Union Carbide. After graduating in 1964 with degrees in chemistry and mathematics, he went on to pursue a doctorate degree in chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an NIH-funded post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, and a distinguished career as a chemist, executive and entrepreneur. Harpold has established the Anna Harpold Endowed Scholarship in memory of his mother, Anna Harpold. In the past year, he has provided scholarship support for chemistry students and funding for experiential learning opportunities such as student internships, and outreach activities through the American Chemical Society.

The Maier Foundation, Inc. is a private, nonprofit, charitable corporation based in Charleston. Founded in 1958 by philanthropist William J. Maier, Jr., the Maier Foundation focuses on the furtherance of higher education in West Virginia and on higher education of West Virginia residents attending colleges and universities elsewhere. In recent years, the Maier Foundation has established the West Virginia Emulation Endowment Trust’s Allan L. McVey Scholarship at WVSU and the Maier Foundation Scholarship for students from areas of West Virginia affected by the recent flooding and southern counties affected by the downturn in the coal industry. This year, the Maier Foundation has made a new commitment to support the launch of a nursing program at WVSU.

Perry S. Poffenbarger, an attorney, electrical engineer and inventor, and Helen W. Poffenbarger, an elementary school teacher, created the Poffenbarger Foundation to assist students in attaining an education that would lead to rewarding job opportunities. Poffenbarger Foundation trustees John T. and Susan G. Poffenbarger have provided funding for The Poffenbarger Foundation Scholarship at WVSU, and have contributed to WVSU’s mission through generous personal contributions and through John Poffenbarger’s service on the WVSU Foundation Board of Directors.

In addition, the Gala honors community and business leaders who have made a lasting impact on the state of West Virginia and beyond. This year’s honorees include Commerce Secretary C. Edward Gaunch, Georgette Rashid George and Otis Laury.

The event will begin at 6:15 p.m. with a reception and silent auction, followed by dinner and the program recognizing honorees at 7:30 p.m.

After the program and dinner, the Gala will continue with an evening of dancing to live music provided by Santa Cruz. Individual tickets are on sale now at a cost of $150 and can be purchased online at https://connect.wvstateu.edu/gala.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call (304) 766-4121, email gala@wvstateu.edu, or visit https://connect.wvstateu.edu/gala.

The WVSU Foundation Inc. is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization and gifts are deductible to the extent provided by federal and state law.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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