Marshall honors donors with first Recognition Celebration

Monday, October 31, 2011

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University and the Marshall University Foundation Inc. celebrated the philanthropy of many of their most generous donors Friday evening (Oct. 28) with the first Recognition Celebration at the Marshall University Foundation Hall, home of the Erickson Alumni Center, on the Huntington campus.

Approximately 125 people from throughout the country attended the event in which lifetime giving societies were announced, and plaques honoring the donors unveiled. Four plaques displaying the names of more than 250 donors have been hung on the walls of the foundation hall.

“Tonight we are honoring our largest donors to the university, thanking them for their generosity and philanthropy that is transforming Marshall University both now and in the future,” said Dr. Ron Area, CEO of the Marshall University Foundation Inc. “It is very important to recognize their contributions and the impact they continue to have on the university.”

Les Huff, a Gilbert, W.Va., native currently living in Phoenix, Ariz., drove 1,983 miles to attend the celebration.

“I got an invitation (from Kristi Arrowood, director of foundation development and strategic programs for the Marshall Foundation), and I thought it sounded good to me,” Huff said.

Huff did not attend Marshall, but he chose to support MU because, he said, “It’s one of the better schools and certainly about as close to Gilbert, West Virginia, as any of them.”

Huff gives to Marshall through the Henson Mazey Huff Memorial Scholarship. It is reserved for a graduate of Gilbert High School who “needs the scholarship very badly,” he said. Huff said he gives because of the potential impact the students from Gilbert can make on their community, then noted, “The first (scholarship recipient), Melissa Lester, is a cardiologist.”

The giving societies announced Friday include:

The Legacy Society, which recognizes lifetime gifts and pledges of $5 million or more;

The Pathway of Prominence, which recognizes gifts and pledges of $1 million or more;

The Founders’ Circle, which represents the spirit and dedication of three individuals from Marshall’s early history who founded Marshall Academy. The following donor recognition societies, which are part of the Founders’ Circle, include their names:

  • The John Laidley Society, in recognition of lifetime gifts and pledges of $750,000 to $999,999;
  • The James Holderby Society, in recognition of lifetime gifts and pledges of $500,000 to $749,999;
  • The William Buffington Society, in recognition of lifetime gifts and pledges of $250,000 to $499,999;

The President’s Circle, which recognizes contributions or pledges of $100,000 or more.

“Whenever we recognize and honor our donors we hope it inspires and challenges future generations to give back,” Arrowood said. “We are so grateful to our donors and we are thrilled to be able to say thank you to each of them in person at this first Recognition Celebration.”

Tim Haymaker is a member of Marshall’s Pathway of Prominence and longtime MU supporter. He acknowledged the importance of Friday’s event.

“It is highly important that any institution that receives gifts from donors give them credit and recognition,” Haymaker said. “If they don’t know they are appreciated, they won’t give a second time. You have to recognize your donors and Marshall has done that tonight.”