The Gary E. West College of Business at West Liberty University is proud to bear the name of a successful alumnus and long-time friend of the university, Gary E. West (BSBA ’58). Through West’s generosity, the College of Business is able to pursue a focused strategy to become the best business school in the region.
West’s $1.5 million donation provides new and expanded opportunities to students who, like West, hope to become successful business leaders. The funding allows the College of Business to provide essential business skills to an increasing number of future entrepreneurs and business managers. That’s the kind of ROI West hopes to receive from his gift. “Without West Liberty, I probably wouldn’t even know what a balance sheet or profit and loss statement is,” says West. “West Liberty teaches you what you need to know…then later, you put those practices to work, and hopefully, you refine them and make your company better.”
West speaks from experience, having started his career by purchasing Valley Welding Supply Company and later refining the business practices he learned at West Liberty to grow the single shop into Valley National Gases, Inc. West’s business became the largest privately held distributor of industrial and medical gases and welding supplies in the United States, with 84 locations in 16 states and annual sales exceeding $220 million. Today, West continues to be involved in several business ventures, and he and wife Flip are also enjoying the fruits of their labors, traveling and dividing time between the Wheeling area and their home in Florida.
WLU President Robin Capehart accepted the generous donation on behalf of the university at the October, 2010 Benefactor’s Gala and presented West with a statue depicting the new logo of the Gary E. West College of Business – a globe motif, signifying a recognition of the importance of a global perspective in business today and a commitment to a world-class business education for West Liberty students. “Gary West’s donation will provide the means to develop business faculty resources, expand programs, and encourage innovation in preparing tomorrow’s business leaders,” said Capehart.