FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
University honors Sheweys for
gift used to establish
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Mingo County business and education leader C. Fred Shewey and his late wife, Christine, were inducted into Marshall University’s Pathway of Prominence in a ceremony today at the Pathway.
Donors of $1 million or more to Marshall are honored with a plaque on the pathway, which is located at the center of the Huntington campus between Old Main and the Memorial Student Center. The Sheweys’ plaque is the 19th on the Pathway of Prominence.
The Sheweys were honored for their recent gift of $1 million to Marshall University. The funds will be used to establish the Shewey Learning and Research Center to assist with rural educational research and development. Specifically, the goal is to increase the mathematics and science achievement in middle school students through improved mathematics and science instruction in the middle schools in southern West Virginia, with a preference to Mingo County.
Fred Shewey, formerly of Kermit, W.Va., now lives in Gainesville, Fla., but remains concerned about the future of Mingo County students. Having served 18 years as a member of the Mingo County Board of Education, he says middle school students in Mingo County and other southern West Virginia counties often lacked the direction needed at that pivotal time in their lives.
“They weren’t being guided in the right direction,” Shewey said. “I felt like they were not getting enough steering in the right direction at a time when they had to make up their minds. We have to put our best foot forward and make sure they don’t get out of step.”
He said he hopes the Shewey Learning and Research Center will help equip middle school students in Mingo County and other counties, such as Logan and Wayne, with the skills they need to make the right career choice.
“I could see something was needed to help the folks in Mingo County, and Wayne and Logan counties,” Shewey said. “I’m just happy to put my two cents worth in.”
Marshall’s June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development, under the guidance of its director, Dr. Stan Maynard, is responsible for developing the first 21st Century Model School in West Virginia with a focus on mathematics and science.
“It is an honor and a privilege to associate the June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development with the mission and reputation of the Shewey family in a collaboration that will enhance and improve the learning opportunities of rural West Virginia,” Maynard said. “It also enables Mingo and surrounding counties to enrich the economic climate of the area through the education of West Virginia’s next generation of learners and workers.”
Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said the Sheweys’ latest gift is another example of their love of southern West Virginia and Marshall University. They have been honored before for their longtime generous support of the University. The building that houses many of Marshall’s athletic department offices, located at the north end of Joan C. Edwards Stadium, is named the Fred and Christine Shewey Athletics Building in their honor.
“Marshall University and southern West Virginia are once again indebted to the Sheweys for their extraordinary generosity,” Kopp said. “Fred and Christine Shewey, having seen firsthand the need for intervention in Mingo and other southern West Virginia counties, have given their financial support to this important learning and research center and placed their trust in Marshall’s June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development to provide the direction needed to make a difference in the lives of these young students.”
A needs assessment revealed that Mingo County demonstrates a compelling need for intervention in the form of high-quality professional development for teachers, which in turn impacts student motivation and achievement.
It was determined that a high quality professional development program in the STEM area of science and mathematics instruction is necessary if goals of the Shewey Learning and Research Center are to be met, according to Maynard. The measurable goals/objectives are to:
Among the strategies and methods that will be used to reach these goals are week-long annual summer Mingo STEM Extravaganzas. The first of those is the Shewey Science Academy June 16-19 at Kermit Area School.
It involves an investigation of a contrived murder in which students will gather data, evaluate evidence, prepare and test hypotheses and communicate the results of their investigations. The week will culminate in a mock trial to attempt to resolve the evidence for the murder.
Fred Shewey has been a major force in West Virginia’s coal, gas, oil and timber industries for years, and helped establish International Industries, Inc., with business partner and fellow Marshall supporter James H. “Buck” Harless.
For more information on the Shewey Learning and Research Center, contact Maynard at (304) 696-2890.