FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Arthur and Joan Weisberg, founders of State Electric Supply Co., Arthur’s Enterprises and Service Wire Co. in Huntington, are contributing $2.5 million to Marshall University to support the Division of Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Information Technology and Engineering (CITE), President Stephen J. Kopp announced today. Kopp said the Marshall University Foundation, Inc. will receive the entire amount of the gift within five years.
The gift was announced during a news conference in the Drinko Library on Marshall’s Huntington campus. Kopp also announced that the Arthur and Joan Weisberg Division of Engineering and Computer Science is being named in honor of the couple not only for today’s gift, but for their many years of supporting the university.
“Art and Joan
Weisberg have been wonderful supporters of
Marshall University for years,” Kopp said.
“They have impacted the university in many
ways, including establishment of the Arthur
and Joan Meyer Weisberg Chair in Software
Engineering 15 years ago. Today’s most
generous gift will enhance the Division of
Engineering and Computer Science, and
benefit engineering students for generations
to come. We are very thankful for their
CITE dean Betsy Dulin said more than 150 students currently are enrolled in undergraduate computer science and engineering programs at Marshall, with significant additional growth expected as the programs continue to develop and reach new students and markets.
“The generosity, enthusiasm, and encouragement of Art and Joan Weisberg has been instrumental in the development of CITE and its engineering and computer science programs,” Dulin said. “Their endowment of faculty chairs provided the initial seed by enabling Marshall to recruit talented professionals who created and nurtured the college in its very early stages. As the college moves into the next phase in its growth, the current gift will be transformational and will push CITE’s programs to new levels of growth and success.”
Art Weisberg is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and 1950 graduate of City College of New York with a degree in electrical engineering. He founded State Electric Supply Co., a retail/wholesale distributor of electrical and electronic supplies with showrooms and warehouse facilities, as a one-man operation in 1952 by selling light bulbs, extension cords and fuses out of the back of his truck to grocery and hardware stores.
Today, under the corporate umbrella of Arthur’s Enterprises, State Electric has 33 branches in five states – West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and North Carolina. In 1968, the Weisbergs established a specialty wire fabrication company called Service Wire Co. that now has customers throughout the world. Louis Weisberg, son of Art and Joan, is the company’s president. Combined, State Electric and Service Wire have 850 employees in eight states.
In addition to co-owning the two companies, Joan Weisberg is the president of Twelve-O-Six Virginia, Inc., a real estate and property management company. She was born in Charleston, W.Va., and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University.
The Weisbergs have five grown children and 10 grandchildren. Son Charles and his wife, Amanda, have one daughter, Asher, and live in Phoenix. Son Louis and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters, Trish and Marlo, and live in Charleston. Daughter Martha Weisberg Barvin and her husband, Mark, have three sons, Eric, Joshua and Daniel, and live in Houston. Daughter Pam has two sons, Simon and Kalman, and they live in Los Angeles. And, son Seth and his wife, Rivka, have two sons, Adrian and Moses, and live in Denver.
The Weisbergs’ commitment to community is shown by their service on several boards of directors in Huntington and Charleston. Joan Weisberg is on the Huntington Museum of Art, Team for West Virginia Children, Clay Center and Huntington Jewish Federated Charities boards. Art Weisberg is on the First Sentry Bank and Marshall University Foundation, Inc., boards, serves on the executive committee of the Huntington Area Development Council (HADCO) and is a member of the West Virginia, Huntington Regional and Charleston Chambers of Commerce.
Both as a couple and individually, the Weisbergs have received many honors and awards, some of which follow:
“To me, Art is the textbook entrepreneur,” said Clarence Martin, State Electric’s chief executive officer who has worked with the Weisbergs for 34 years. “He has vision, and he embraces change at every opportunity. He built this business from nothing, and that’s a tribute to his creativity and his entrepreneurial spirit. Joan’s not only been a supporter, but a contributor to their success. She is a pillar of strength.”
Martin is hardly surprised by the Weisbergs’ generosity to Marshall and the community, especially when it involves education and economic development.
“They place a huge emphasis on continuing education,” Martin said. “We’ve utilized a number of Marshall students as interns, and hired a number of Marshall students as well. We have a tuition reimbursement program for our employees, no matter where they are, and a scholarship program for children of our employees. These demonstrate their commitment to continuing education.”
That commitment goes beyond Marshall. In 1995, the Weisbergs contributed funds to help build the Erickson Alumni Center at West Virginia State College (now University) in Institute, W.Va. The center’s dining room was named the Art and Joan Weisberg Room. Last year, Art Weisberg was named to the President’s Circle at West Virginia State, an honor given to selected donors.
The Weisbergs have been active, involved members of the Jewish communities in both Huntington and Charleston, W.Va., for many years. They belong to Congregation B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston and B’nai Sholom Congregation in Huntington.
Their philanthropy extends to their religious lives as shown by their generous gifts and leadership in Jewish Federated Charities, Israel Bonds and local congregational causes. They were the lead donors in B’nai Sholom Congregation’s L'Dor V'Dor (from generation to generation) Capital Campaign to restore its 1925 sanctuary, and also established two funds at B’nai Sholom to support and encourage education and culture of youth and adults.
Marshall’s Division of Engineering and Computer Science is chaired by William Pierson, Ph.D., P.E. He has been with the university since January 2000.
Current programs in the Division are BS in Computer Science, BS in Engineering, MS in Engineering, and MS in Information Systems. CITE’s other degree programs, in the Applied Science and Technology Division, include BS and MS in Safety, MS in Technology Management, and MS in Environmental Science.
For more information on the Division of Engineering and Computer Science, persons may contact Pierson at (304) 696-2695.