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Alum’s $1M gift establishes faculty fellowship at WVU Statler College

Herb & Barbara Dripps

A gift from WVU alumnus Herb Dripps, pictured at right with wife Bobbie, establishes a fellowship to help recruit and retain faculty at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources (Photo/WVU Foundation)

West Virginia University alumnus’s $1,040,000 gift is strengthening efforts to recognize and retain top-notch faculty at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Story by WVU Foundation
Photos by WVU Foundation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—

The contribution from Herb Dripps establishes a namesake fellowship that will be awarded to two non-tenured faculty members who excel at teaching, research and service. One recipient must be in civil and environmental engineering; the other recipient will be determined by Statler College leadership.

Fellowship recipients may use the funds for supplemental compensation, work-related travel, research support, technology/equipment enhancements, library resources, staff support and student support.

Pedro J. Mago, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College, said that one of his priorities is recruiting and retaining productive and talented junior faculty members. Fellowships are an incentive for prospective and current faculty at WVU by offering additional resources to bolster their research and teaching efforts.  

“In order for us to continue to provide a high-quality education, enroll great students and produce excellent engineers and computer scientists, we need to attract and retain outstanding faculty members,” Mago said. “Therefore, it is vital to support these faculty members and recognize their valuable work, which benefits the College, University and community.”

While the bulk of Dripps’ gift will go toward an endowment that supports the fellowship in perpetuity, he provided $40,000 to launch the program in the spring 2024 semester. Including the Dripps Fellowship, the Statler College offers eight endowed fellowships to support junior faculty members, which Mago said is remarkable.

Dripps earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from WVU in 1965. He transferred to the University after beginning his college career as a pre-med major at Georgetown University.

“I’m grateful that I went to WVU for three years,” Dripps said. “I think a lot of the school, and I value the education I got there highly.”

Mago said he appreciates Dripps’ generosity and willingness to provide faculty support.

“The commitment shown by our alumni and their passion for the University is admirable,” Mago said. “As the dean, I value the contributions made by alumni such as Herb Dripps, who are willing to give back to the University and help advance its goals. I am extremely grateful to Herb for supporting our faculty and contributing toward the College’s most pressing needs.”

Dripps said his WVU education provided practical knowledge that has proven useful throughout his career. After completing a master’s degree at Columbia University, Dripps worked for Bethlehem Steel and a Baltimore-area construction company before founding his own business, Glen Arm Building Company. The contracting business, which focuses on commercial and industrial work, celebrates 50 years in 2024.

Dripps and his wife, Bobbie, reside in Towson, Maryland. They have four adult children and several grandchildren.

The Dripps gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.


-WVU-

kl/12/6/23

Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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