Leslie “Les” DeFelice, chair of the West Liberty Foundation announced the launch of a $22 million fundraising campaign today that will fund the future of West Liberty University. The capital campaign was unveiled during a press conference in historic Shaw Hall.

Pastilong, Capehart, Campbell, DeFelice

From left are Ed Pastilong, President Capehart, Clyde Campbell and Les DeFelice.

“West Liberty University Foundation is pleased to announce The Capital Campaign for a Great University. The result of this fundraising effort will touch the lives of students, and the entire region, for many years to come,” said DeFelice, as he introduced the campaign chairman, President Emeritus Clyde Campbell ‘53.

“I’m so proud to be a part of this campaign. It’s an ambitious goal and we will have to work hard to reach it, but I know that people love this institution and recognize how far we’ve come. We invite our alumni and all friends of higher education to join us in our effort,” said Campbell, who served as president from 1984 to 1995 and was a professor for many years prior to that.

West Liberty University has already secured 70 percent of the $22 million overall campaign goal. The fundraising goal for this year alone is $4 million.

West Liberty University President Robin C. Capehart also spoke during the press conference, stating that he was excited by the partnership represented by the announcement.

“Today marks the beginning of a new and exciting initiative – an initiative that is vital to maintaining our ability to move West Liberty forward. This campaign is not just a fundraising effort, but the announcement here today also represents the advancement of a partnership, a partnership between the campus, our alumni, our benefactors, our supporters and our friends, who have pledged their time and their efforts to moving this institution forward, towards a bright and prosperous future,” Capehart said.

Members of the WLU Foundation Board have pledged their financial support as individuals, as well as a their support as a group.

Capehart also introduced special consultant Ed Pastilong, former director of athletics for West Virginia University from 1989-2010, who will assist campaign coordinator and Director of Development Angela Zambito-Hill in her fundraising efforts. Pastilong will focus on athletic fundraising.

Pastilong spearheaded WVU’s growth into one of the nation’s finest intercollegiate athletic programs in the nation during his tenure with the Mountaineers.

“As a visionary and successful athletic director, we could find no one better than Ed Pastilong. Our students will benefit from his involvement and I thank him for his willingness to share his talents with us,” Zambito-Hill said.

“The response we’ve had so far has been good,” according to Jason Koegler, vice president of institutional advancement. “We are grateful to everyone for their support and we encourage our friends, alumni and the Wheeling community to join us as we advance toward our goal.”

West Liberty University has enjoyed steady increases in enrollment for the past seven years, with more than 2,800 students enrolled for the current term. This past summer the University also began its new master’s degree program, Physician Assistant Studies. Additionally, women’s soccer has been added as a NCAA Division-II sport and the new soccer field is now being finished.

“The announcement of our Capital Campaign is a perfect addition to West Liberty homecoming festivities. We welcome our friends and alumni back to campus as they reconnect with classmates, coaches and faculty. We also thank them for their ongoing support and encourage the community to get involved in our fundraising effort,” DeFelice said.

Hilltopper homecoming events begin today with special events for alumni. Also taking place today is a new homecoming event, a town of West Liberty cleanup. Initiated by the 2012 Homecoming committee, the service project will begin at 4 p.m. and includes the Student Government Association, Homecoming King and Queen candidates and other student volunteers.

Public events include a 10 a.m. homecoming parade on Saturday, Oct. 13, through the town of West Liberty and ending on campus. Following the parade, there will be tailgating and football as the Hilltoppers take on Shepherd University in a 1 p.m. matchup at Russek Field. The Homecoming King and Queen will be announced during the halftime ceremony and West Liberty’s marching band will be featured in a special halftime show.

For more information on ways to give to the Capital Campaign for a Great University, please contact the WLU development office at 304-336-8888. Or visit online.