Chad Walters & Kimberly Drinko Walters make gift to WV Autism Training Center

Chad Walters and Kimberly Drinko Walters, granddaughter of John Deaver and Elizabeth Gibson Drinko, made a $25,000 gift to support the operations of the West Virginia Autism Training Center.

April 25, 2017

Chad Walters and Kimberly Drinko Walters have made a $25,000 gift to support the operations of the West Virginia Autism Training Center.

Kimberly Drinko Walters is the granddaughter of the late John Deaver Drinko and Elizabeth Gibson Drinko, major benefactors of Marshall University. John D. Drinko graduated from Marshall College in 1942 then attended The Ohio State University to earn his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1944. He married Elizabeth Gibson Drinko in 1946.

“My husband and I attended the Drinko Fellow Symposium with no intention of making this contribution,” said Kimberly Drinko Walters.  “I really feel as though it was meant to be. Speaking with John Smith, retired external affairs director of Big Green, I learned of my grandmother’s involvement with the program. A dear friend of ours has a son who has been diagnosed with autism. We decided in that instant to make a donation.”

“During the dinner, Chad and I learned that the Autism Training Center was going through budget cuts,” Kimberly Drinko Walters said. “My hope for this money is that it directly affects the community.”

“We greatly appreciate the generous donation from Kimberly Drinko Walters and her family,” said Dr. Marc Ellison, executive director of West Virginia Autism Training Center. “The funds will be used for the direct support of clients registered with our center, particularly the development of social skill groups for clients living in more rural regions of West Virginia.”

“John D. Drinko and Elizabeth Gibson Drinko thought so highly of Marshall University,” said Kimberly Drinko Walters.  “Without Marshall, their path would have been much different, as would mine. Although I did not attend the university, it feels like home.

“Education gave my grandparents so many opportunities and they never forgot it. Although my donation pales in comparison to the many contributions they have made to Marshall and other universities, I think it is so important to keep their legacy alive. I made this donation to honor them. Keeping excellent programs such as the Marshall Autism Training Center going is important. Programs such as this make a huge difference in the community.”

For further information about the West Virginia Autism Training Program, contact Ellison at the West Virginia Autism Training Program by phone at 304-696-2332.