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University of Charleston Receives Major Gift for Sports & Fitness Center

Release Date:  Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The University of Charleston today announced a gift of approximately $1.25 million from H.B. (Bernie) Wehrle, III and his wife Cecilia toward the school’s Sports & Fitness Center campaign. Combined with a gift of $250,000 from the H.B. Wehrle Foundation and Wehrle family members, the total contribution was over $1.5 million.

“This is an incredible gift for the University of Charleston,” said Dr. Edwin H. Welch, president.  “Bernie and Cecilia Wehrle have been ardent supporters of our efforts to complete our capital renovations to our Charleston campus.  This gift brings us a few steps closer to seeing our plans come to fruition.”

Mr. Wehrle currently serves on the board of trustees at UC and has a long history with the school. “My family has been involved with the University of Charleston for many years,” stated Wehrle. “We’ve always been pleased with the educational opportunities that UC provides and the economic benefits the Charleston-area receives from UC’s growth.  In my opinion, UC is a smart investment in our community and I am pleased to continue our support.”

The Sports & Fitness Center is the last remaining piece to the $100 million renovation and rebirth of UC’s Charleston campus over the past decade. UC has successfully constructed three new residence halls, a new parking garage and apartment complex, a new pharmacy school, and completed major renovations to Riggleman Hall and the Geary Student Union. Eddie King Gym, built in 1947, is the only facility on campus that has not been renovated.

“I believe in the leadership of UC and its vision for the future,” said Wehrle. “I hope our gift encourage others to invest in the growth of the University. UC uses our support wisely – recruiting young people to our area, creating much needed jobs, and serving as a symbol of excellence for Charleston.”

Others have chosen to support UC too. Recently BB&T’s West Virginia Foundation announced a $250,000 gift to the Sports & Fitness Center. “UC is on the move in our community,” Bobby Blakley, president of BB&T West Virginia said. “BB&T’s West Virginia Foundation is proud to invest in a project and an institution that is going to give much more back to our community.”

The recent gifts come on the heels of an anonymous $1 million gift UC received for the project last year.  UC has raised over $1 million in each of the last two fiscal years and continues to pursue other interested partners.  “We are truly grateful to those who support UC and our students,” said Welch.  “UC is committed to serving our communities and contributing to their growth.” 

The Sports & Fitness Center will enable the University to serve students better. It will enrich the campus environment by providing much-wanted recreational and fitness alternatives for students, and make a signature statement in the middle of campus about the value of sports and fitness. It will also add a venue for commencement ceremonies and various UC events, while continuing to welcome summer camps, tournaments and other community uses. 

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