Alumni couple’s planned gift pays tribute to WVU family impact
A West Virginia University alumni couple is celebrating the University’s life-changing impact on their family with a planned gift to benefit athletics, education, health care and disability services.
Story by Cassie Rice, Communications Specialist, WVU Foundation
The planned gift from Gregory and Amber Nailler, of Mars, Pennsylvania, is worth more than $660,000. Those funds will be divided equally to provide support for the WVU football program, the industrial and management systems engineering program at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, WVU Medicine Children’s and the Country Roads program led by the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities.
“We’ve been blessed in our lives and WVU has been a big part of that,” Greg Nailler said. “We know there’s a great need for money in all of these programs. We want to help students reach their potential and be successful.”
The Naillers first met as undergraduates at WVU. Amber was destined to attend WVU as a Morgantown native whose parents and grandparents attended the University before her. Greg grew up in the Cleveland area, but he was drawn to WVU for its engineering programs, sports teams and proximity to extended family.
The couple has shared their love for the Mountaineers with daughters Claire, 20, and Addie, 16, who have been attending WVU football games with their parents since they were babies. Claire was even born in Morgantown at WVU Medicine Children’s, where she spent the first month of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
“They saved her life,” Greg Nailler said. “She was in really rough shape. The first couple of days were touch and go. The Children’s Hospital is super close to our hearts because of that.”
Claire has persevered despite developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. She has thrived with her family’s support and always had her heart set on attending WVU.
The Naillers weren’t sure Claire could fulfill that dream until the Country Roads program launched a few years ago. The program aims to prepare students with disabilities for independence by providing academic courses, social engagement and real-world work experiences.
The entire family was overjoyed when Claire was accepted to join the program this fall.
“It’s comforting to know that WVU is a place I can trust,” Amber Nailler said. “Claire has lived under our roof for so many years and has needed us for so long. She’ll learn all kinds of skills, like how to read medical bills and manage money. To prepare her to be independent and live on her own is the goal.”
The Center for Excellence in Disabilities is eager to welcome Claire to campus and grateful for the family’s future support.
“Claire and 15 of her peers will be part of our WVU family for the 2023-24 academic year,” Lesley Cottrell, director of the Center for Excellence in Disabilities, said. “Our Country Roads students carry more than 14 credit hours each semester, learn from WVU faculty and staff, and begin to navigate what they want to be and what it takes to get there. They add to our personal and professional learning on a daily basis, and it is truly a blessing to get the chance to work with them in this program. This gift will allow us to continue to grow the program’s offerings for future students.”
Claire’s career goal is to help people, possibly as a nurse’s aide. She hopes to one day return to WVU Medicine Children’s for work.
“The WVU Medicine Children’s NICU is dedicated to providing the best possible care for newborn infants and their families,” Amy L. Bush, WVU Medicine Children’s chief administrative officer, said. “With the help of the Nailler Family, our team will be able to continue to provide the best possible outcomes for our smallest patients. We’re very thankful for their support and appreciate the passion we share in caring for our most vulnerable population.”
Greg Nailler earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from WVU in 1996 and found a professional home with Eaton Corp., a global power management company. He has worked for Eaton in a variety of roles and locations for 27 years.
He remains engaged with the industrial and management systems engineering program as president of the IMSE Academy, which recognizes achievements in the field and works with Statler College leadership to ensure the program reflects the latest techniques, technologies and tools used in the profession.
Amber Nailler graduated from WVU with a pharmacy degree. She worked in the field for many years – including a role with the School of Pharmacy – before shifting to special education after advocating for Claire throughout her schooling. She now serves as an autistic support paraprofessional for students in kindergarten and first grade.
Gifted in science and math, Addie Nailler is interested in health care like her mother and sister. She has not yet determined where she wants to go to college, but her parents are keeping WVU on her radar.
“She knows how awesome the school is,” Amber Nailler said. “We talk to our girls about how your dreams can come true. You work hard. You get a good education. You get a good foundation from this University and we’re proof of that.”
The Naillers’ gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.
MEDIA CONTACT: Cassie Rice
Senior Communications Specialist
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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