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Donation Helps Fund Construction of New WVU Business School

Tue March 16, 2021 - Northeast Edition
WV News

Reynolds Hall will be part of a new complex that sits on an iconic, riverfront site on the Downtown area of campus, with views of the Monongahela River to the east and the campus to the west. (WVU rendering)
Reynolds Hall will be part of a new complex that sits on an iconic, riverfront site on the Downtown area of campus, with views of the Monongahela River to the east and the campus to the west. (WVU rendering)

A multi-million-dollar donation from West Virginia University alumni will benefit the construction of Reynolds Hall, the future home of the school's John Chambers College of Business and Economics.

W. Marston "Marty" Becker and Katharine Becker have donated monies for construction of the new building, as well as an endowment to support operation of the Academic Engagement Success Center and another to supplement faculty salaries. Additionally, the Charleston couple have donated artwork to Reynolds Hall and have previously established an endowed fund for undergraduate student scholarships and a doctoral fellowship.

With their latest gift, WVU has now raised 75 percent of its $40 million goal to construct the new business school building.

"It is because of the generosity and the leadership of our alumni, such as Marty and Kathy Becker, that West Virginia University can continue to achieve great success," WVU President Gordon Gee said in a release.

"Through this gift, as well as through Marty's service to the WVU Board of Governors, future generations will benefit by receiving a high-quality, transformational education that leads to future success. I am grateful for their continued commitment to our Mountaineer family."

Reynolds Hall — named for alumnus Robert "Bob" Reynolds and his wife, Laura, who donated $10 million to the project — is currently under construction at the former site of Stansbury Hall, along Morgantown's scenic waterfront on the Monongahela River.

Slated for completion in 2022, the facility's highly adaptive, collaborative spaces will reflect a reimagined vision for business education at WVU, according to the university. The innovative approach focuses on creative problem-solving and risk-taking, integrating start-up culture with an entrepreneurial mindset to cultivate business leaders of the future.

Reynolds Hall will more than double the Chambers College's existing space to 108,000 sq. ft. — including 175 offices for faculty and staff. The Beckers' gift will enhance WVU's ability to offer competitive salaries to world-class faculty essential to executing WVU's business education model.

"Future generations of business students will transform our world toward greater prosperity because of the investments of time, talent and treasure from dedicated Mountaineers like Marty and Katharine Becker," said Javier Reyes, Milan Puskar Dean of the Chambers College, said in a release. "Their gift will not only attract students to WVU and the Chambers College, but it will give them the support needed to excel in business education."

The Academic Engagement Success Center's new facility at Reynolds Hall will create a hub for students to congregate and work collaboratively on their studies, with greater flexibility for concurrent tutoring, mentoring and coaching sessions.

"This additional funding will really enable us to invest in our students," noted Rachel Nieman, director of recruitment and retention of the Chambers College. "We are so grateful for the opportunity to empower students to grow and provide support to develop future business leaders."

Services like these complements what students receive in the classroom, she added.

"Participating in these kinds of activities, whether it's receiving help or providing help to others, separate the good from the great," Nieman explained. "We know that this is going to take our students to the next level."

Marty Becker said in a release, "Kathy and I are privileged to have this opportunity to support West Virginia University and its land grant-driven mission to advance West Virginia. The Chambers College and its students are an essential resource to enhancing the financial trajectory of our state."

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