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Donors surprise engineering dean with gift in his honor

Photo of sign unveiling

Pres. Gee and Provost McConnell join Dean Cilento and his family for the sign unveiling.

Two long-time supporters of West Virginia University have found yet another way to honor the institution that has given so much to them, while surprising one of its deans in the process.

Glen Hiner, who earned a degree in electrical engineering at WVU, and his wife, Ann, donated a gift of $225,000 to name the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Freshman Engineering Learning Center. While the Hiner’s generosity was not a surprise, the name on the wall was: Eugene V. Cilento.

“Ann and I wanted to recognize Gene’s long-term dedication and commitment to the College as we feel his leadership has been instrumental in its growth,” Hiner said. “Gene has played a key role in the nurturing and inspiration of the culture of the College along with its values, and for the development and adoption of its long-term strategic vision.

“I’m a proud West Virginian,” Hiner, a Morgantown native, added, “and giving back has always been a significant part of the way Ann and I want to live our lives and the heritage we want to pass on to our family.”

To say Cilento, who serves as the Glen H. Hiner Dean of the College, was at a loss for words would be an understatement.

“I am truly honored and humbled by this announcement,” Cilento said. “This Center is special; it epitomizes our College philosophy for engineering education, just as Glen epitomizes what it means to be a loyal Mountaineer. This wonderful gift will show future generations of our students how Glen and Ann felt about the importance of providing them with the tools needed for a quality education.”

Upon graduation from WVU, Hiner embarked on a successful and innovative 35-year career with the General Electric Company. In 1992, he became chief executive officer of Owens Corning, where he introduced new products, built new manufacturing facilities around the world and oversaw many major initiatives. When Hiner took the reins, Owens Corning sales hovered at $3 billion. When he retired in 2002, sales had grown to $5 billion, with operations in more than 30 countries on six continents.

Over the years, Hiner has served the University and the Statler College in many ways. In 2005, he funded the College’s deanship that carries his name. In his honor, the College established the Glen H. Hiner Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings business leaders to campus to share their experience and knowledge with students and faculty. His many honors at WVU include induction into WVU’s College of Business and Economics Business Hall of Fame, the Distinguished Alumni Academies for the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, and WVU’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He was awarded an honorary degree in 1989.

Cilento began his career with the Statler College in 1979. He served as a professor, researcher and the department chair for the College’s Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. He was named dean of the College in 2001.



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