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WVU Statler College alumni contribute $750K in pursuit of ‘relentless innovation’

Headshots of Yassini Manley on the left and Statler alumnus Michael Manley on right

Software entrepreneur Michael Manley provided $250,000 to the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in partnership with tech pioneer Rouzbeh Yassini, whose nonprofit YAS Foundation provided $500,000.

A determination to position West Virginia University at the forefront of computer sciences and electrical engineering has inspired two alumni to contribute $750,000 to produce long-term alliances with best-in-class academic leaders.

Story by Cassie Rice, Senior Communications Specialist 
Photos supplied


Software entrepreneur Michael Manley provided $250,000 to the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in partnership with tech pioneer Rouzbeh Yassini, whose nonprofit YAS Foundation provided $500,000. Both donations will go to the Faculty Support Fund within the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. The ambition behind the gifts is to cement WVU as a recognized, leading provider of instruction and academic resources for students who are intent on making a deep and lasting impact in global computing and electrical engineering.

Lane Department programs prepare students for high-demand jobs that ensure cybersecurity, resilient infrastructure, clean energy, national defense, artificial intelligence, digital health and more. Alumni support for teaching faculty helps the Statler College meet a growing need for engineering talent that is vital to a flourishing sector of the economy. “We are deeply grateful for the generous contributions from Distinguished Alumni Academy members Rouzbeh Yassini and Michael Manley to the CSEE Faculty Support Fund,” Anurag Srivastava, Raymond J. Lane Professor and Chair of the Lane Department, said. “Their support enhances our ability to meet the teaching needs of our increasing student enrollment in computer science and cybersecurity and also strengthens our department's commitment to educating the next generation of technology leaders and innovators.”

Yassini is widely known as the “father of the cable modem,” tracing to the breakthrough achievements around high-speed data technology developed by LANcity, a company Yassini founded in 1988. The technologies he and his team innovated are key building blocks of the global broadband sector and have transformed the medium formerly known as “cable television” into the leading U.S. platform for high-speed residential data connectivity.

In April 2024, Yassini was inducted into the Syndeo Institute’s Cable Hall of Fame, joining numerous industry luminaries and trailblazers. Earlier in the year, he was selected to receive an Emmy Award for Technology and Engineering from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Yassini, who is executive director of the Broadband Center of Excellence at the University of New Hampshire, founded the YAS Foundation to empower future generations of global leaders.

“Our ambition is clear: position WVU as a recognized, world-class destination for some of the brightest, most gifted engineering students anywhere,” Yassini said. “My lifelong commitment to ubiquitous broadband availability hinges on relentless innovation from the next generation of leaders. With this contribution, I’m privileged to support them and their important work.”

Manley, of Morgantown, is a computer software entrepreneur and WVU alum who rose to prominence as the founder of Software Systems, Inc., which provides specialized software solutions and support for county governments throughout West Virginia.

“Rouzbeh and I want to help preserve the ability to hire and retain faculty within the Lane Department to maintain the quality of education,” Manley said. “We are convinced this fund and our combined gifts will make a difference by establishing a vital seed that ensures the Lane Department grows.” Among other gifts, Manley previously established two endowed scholarships to help reduce the financial challenges for students in Lane Department programs. In 2021, he was recognized as the University’s Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer during Mountaineer Week festivities and received the Paul B. “Buck” Martin Award from the WVU Alumni Association.

With their contributions, Yassini and Manley are encouraging other alumni to contribute to the CSEE Faculty Support Fund. Gifts can be made online at All gifts are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University, as part of WVU Day of Giving. The 24-hour fundraising event, held March 20, raised $30.4 million from over 8,500 gifts.



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

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Phone: 304-293-4135