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Major Donation

WVWC announces $1.5M McCuskey gift

The Inter-Mountain photo by Edgar Kelley West Virginia Wesleyan College alum John McCuskey gifts the college $1.5 million Monday that will go toward the McCuskey Family Fellowship program. McCuskey speaks to the media while Wesleyan President Dr. Joel Thierstein looks on.

BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Wesleyan College announced at a press conference Monday that alumnus John F. McCuskey was donating the largest one-time gift in the school’s 130-year history.

The contribution totals $1.5 million and will go toward the creation of a new undergraduate summer research program that has been billed as the McCuskey Family Fellowship.

“It’s my privilege to announce that thanks to a gift of $1.5 million from John McCuskey, West Virginia Wesleyan class of 1969, West Virginia Wesleyan College has created the McCuskey Family Fellowship program,” Wesleyan President Dr. Joel Thierstein said during Monday’s event. “This program can not be overstated. Receiving the scholarship is a transforming moment in the life of the recipient. The fellowship allows students to conduct primary research in the field of their choice on a subject of their choice.”

The endowed scholarship will be awarded on an annual basis to at least two incoming freshman students and a rising sophomore to conduct research, beginning in the natural sciences, with a fellowship slated in biology, chemistry and physics.

“Wesleyan has for over a century prepared young men and women, not just to make a living, but to be ready to meet the unexpected challenges and opportunities that life brings,” McClusky said Monday. “In this past year of COVID, we all know that higher education has suffered greatly and only the strong are going to survive. And this program will likely make Wesleyan at the forefront of being able to survive and prosper for years to come.”

John Rose (physics and English) of Wheeling, Abigail Bowe (biochemistry) of Charleston and Logan Nelson (biology) of Wenatchee, Washington, make up the first class of the McCuskey Fellows. All three are members of the class of 2024.

“The fellowships we are creating today are not rewards for previous academic accomplishments,” McClusky said. “But rather the presentation of opportunities to students such as Abigail, Logan, and John. To reach for the stars on a fasttrack, while at the same time gaining a well-rounded, ethically based college education.”

McCuskey, who is an attorney in Charleston, said his family’s deep roots at Wesleyan, along with his love for West Virginia, were driving forces behind his decision to give back to the college.

“I wanted to do something that would honor my family’s commitment to the small, liberal arts idea of education,” he said. “And something that would also honor my commitment to making West Virginia a better place to live and work.”

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