The Mountaineer tradition runs deep for the Gaziano family of Charleston, W.Va.
Having met during freshman week in September 1955, both recall fond and fulfilling experiences as WVU students.
“WVU met our academic needs and provided us with an enhanced social environment,” Dominic Gaziano said.
Today, they hope to make that tradition possible for future scholars, donating $1 million to fund the Gaziano Family Legacy Professorship in the Department of English.
“The generosity of the Gaziano family is truly humbling,” said Gregory Dunaway, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. “It speaks to the power of the educational experience in the Eberly College and at WVU.”
The professorship will fund a senior scholar of national reputation who is not only an exemplary teacher and researcher, but someone capable of developing synergies among the department’s existing programs.
"We are deeply honored to receive the Gaziano Family Legacy Professorship, and we can’t thank the Gaziano family enough for their generosity,” said Brian Ballentine, interim chair of the Department of English. “This professorship will play a key role in advancing the goals of the Department of English and help provide support for our programs in literature, creative writing and composition."
While raising their five sons, it was evident there was no better education experience for them than WVU. They all received scholarships to attend WVU, and sons Todd and Thomas Gaziano received the prestigious Truman Scholarship while Thomas also received the Rhodes Scholarship. After graduating from WVU, they pursued careers as authors, attorneys and physicians, completing graduate and professional degrees at Chicago Law School, Harvard Medical School, Oxford University and Yale Medical School.
The family chose to support a Department of English professorship because an education in composition and literature provided them each with cultural competencies to their individual educational experiences.
“This area of education not only provided us with personal enrichment but, equally important, broadened our perspectives for our professional work as well,” Dominic Gaziano said.
The Gaziano family encourages others to obtain as much of a liberal arts education as possible, especially experiences in English and history.
“In essence as a family, we are fully aware of the benefits and indebtedness we have for the education we acquired at WVU,” Dominic Gaziano said.
To learn more about the Gaziano Family Legacy Professorship and other Eberly College of Arts and Sciences scholarships or to make a contribution, visit give.wvu.edu/eberly.
This donation was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. Conducted by the WVU Foundation, the fundraising effort will run through December 2017.