University of Charleston Announces $1.2 Million Gift for New Program


The University of Charleston has received a gift of $1.2 million from the Maier Foundation, Inc. for start-up funding for a Data Analytics Laboratory and program. 

The Maier Foundation board of directors unanimously elected to grant the $1.2 million dollars to the project, funded over a five year period. 

“We expect this program and laboratory to be a key addition to the innovation activities taking place at the University of Charleston”, stated Brad M. Rowe, president of the Maier Foundation, Inc. “Our only request was that the laboratory be named the ‘Welch Laboratory’, in honor of Dr. Edwin Welch’s service and leadership at the University of Charleston.”

Currently in West Virginia, only Marshall and WVU offer degree and certificate programs in the fields of data science or data analytics. Neither offer a program in the Charleston area, nor have they developed multidisciplinary linkages to integrate data analytics across academic disciplines at both the graduate and undergraduate level, as UC plans to do.

The Data Analytics Laboratory and Program is anticipated to serve as the catalyst for integrating Big Data into graduate and undergraduate programs, enable the University to play a leadership role in developing partnerships, conducting applied research, pursuing funding opportunities and delivering services to the benefit of the city of Charleston, state government, area businesses, community nonprofits and other entities throughout West Virginia and across Appalachia.

“The mission of our Innovation Center is to embed in University of Charleston students the inclination and ability to answer questions that others are not yet asking and to connect dots that others do not see. This creative capacity will lead to the generation of new ideas, methods and products,” said President Edwin Welch. “We are truly grateful to the Maier Foundation for supporting UC and our students. This will open even more doors of opportunity for UC students and faculty. The University will become a beacon of change for Charleston and our region.” 

In addition to supporting UC, the Maier Foundation has been a strong supporter of the Charleston Area Medical Center and the Clay Center in the Charleston community as well as other West Virginia colleges and universities.