WLU began 2013 with a new facility, courtesy of alumnus and benefactor Gary E. West. The announcement was made at a Jan. 2, 2013, press conference held at the former Roadworthy property, now known as the Gary E. West Events Center.
“On behalf of the faculty, staff, students, alumni, benefactors and friends, it is with a great sense of excitement and appreciation that we accept Gary’s act of kindness and dedication to his alma mater,” said President Robin C. Capehart.
The donation includes the former restaurant building and the parking lot area and represents a gift of $1.65 million. It is located at 260 Roadworthy Drive, just across W.Va. Route 88 from the main campus.
“It is one of the most significant gifts in the history of the University,” said Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jason Koegler.
A Wheeling native, West earned his business administration degree from West Liberty in 1958. He bought Valley Welding Supply Company and grew it from a one-shop operation to a business with 84 locations in 10 states and annual sales in excess of $250 million. West’s business became the largest privately held distributor of industrial and medical gases and welding supplies in the United States.
He and his wife, Flip, established the Guy H. and Mary Ann West School of Business Scholarship Endowment. He has served in the past as chair of WLU’s capital campaign, which he supported with the largest lifetime gift by individuals in the history of WLU. He also is a member of WLU’s Foundation Board of Directors.
The Gary E. West College of Business also is proud to bear his name as a result of a 2010 gift and his generosity has funded a number of other campus improvements.