A $767,000 donation from the Asphalt Pavement Association of West Virginia will fund the creation of a new endowed faculty chair within West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. The gift will be paired with donations made earlier by the group that funded a faculty professorship.
In 1993, the APAWV, which is comprised of multiple contractors from around the state, created an endowment with the WVU Foundation to fund an asphalt technology professorship. Professor John Zaniewski has held that position since 1997. After Zaniewski announced late last year that he would be retiring, board members of the APAWV voted to pledge additional money to raise the position from an endowed professorship to an endowed chair.
In doing so, they hope to attract a strong candidate, according to APAWV Executive Director Pat Parsons.
“We want to attract the best candidate that we can.” Parsons said. “And to elevate that to a chair, we think will add prominence to the position and will help the college recruit the best person it can.”
The Asphalt Technology Program in the Statler College exposes civil engineering students to the latest asphalt pavement technology, practices and materials. At the time of its inception, the program was only the second of its kind in the country. In addition to teaching students valuable skills, Parsons said the investment is beneficial for the pavement industry.
“The program has been a great investment for our industry and the need has never been greater for our workforce,” Parsons said. “Perhaps it is even self-serving. We’re looking for people, now and for years to come, to help secure the future of our industry.”
WVU Foundation President and CEO Cindi Roth said WVU’s Asphalt Technology Program impacts the entire state.
“I think the biggest thing for the state as whole, first of all, is infrastructure,” she said. “Infrastructure is critical for any development of a community, big or small-- let alone a state.”
The Asphalt Pavement Association, a division of the Contractors’ Association of West Virginia, is a nonprofit trade association representing a variety of firms involved indirectly and directly in the asphalt industry. After the fulfillment of its latest pledge, the group’s total giving to the Statler College will be $1 million.