West Virginia University alumnus Stuart M. Robbins, a retired financial industry executive, believes his alma mater is poised to make a great leap forward and he and his wife Joyce want to help pave the way.
That’s why Robbins, a native of Parkersburg who went on to a successful Wall Street career with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, and his wife are donating $3 million to be shared between two of WVU’s colleges.
- The Stuart M. and Joyce N. Robbins Center for Global Business and Strategy 20/21 will be created within the College of Business and Economics with a $2 million gift.
- The Stuart M. and Joyce N. Robbins Distinguished Professorship in Epidemiology will be endowed with a $1 million gift.
The professorship, the first new endowed position within the new School of Public Health, is also expected to be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match from the West Virginia Research Trust, making the total impact on the University $4 million.
“WVU has tremendous momentum and is on the cusp of greatness,” Robbins said in announcing the gift Friday. “The University’s plans for the next decade and its dynamic organizational improvements show the creativity and determination necessary for a giant leap forward.
“We just want to be some small part of helping WVU achieve its goals and deserved recognition,” he said. “We wanted to do something transformational.”
President Jim Clements praised the Robbins for their long-standing backing of the University.
“Stu and Joyce have been strong supporters of West Virginia University for many years, and I want to thank them for this continued show of confidence in the future direction of WVU,” Clements said. “Their support and endorsement of both the College of Business and Economics and the new School of Public Health will go a long way toward keeping the momentum going in our global business education efforts as well as our healthcare outreach.”
Jose V. Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean of the College of Business and Economics, said, “This generous gift will enable the College of Business and Economics to offer additional and unprecedented opportunities to our students. The donation has also prompted the University to provide a permanent faculty position, which will translate into a director for the center.
“In all, this gift could certainly mean student assistantships, partnerships with overseas universities in ‘G20’ economies in the 21st Century and eventually offering a major in global business,” Sartarelli said. “Students at WVU’s business school will have incredible opportunities, and we are grateful and honored to receive this gift from Stu and Joyce.”
The Center “will have tremendous benefits for our students in a worldwide economy and help WVU become an emerging markets university of choice,” Robbins said. “And the introduction of the Distinguished Professorship in Epidemiology for Health Sciences will be central to the development of the School of Public Health and to the research that can allow the University to be a model for community health issues and education.
“These are potential game changers for WVU.”
Chancellor for Health Sciences Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., said, “Our goal for the new School of Public Health is to eliminate the health disparities that exist in the state. This generous gift from the Robbins will fund a key position in the new School, and will help the efforts of people across West Virginia who are working to solve the state’s health problems.”
“On behalf of the WVU Foundation team, I want to express our sincere gratitude to Stu and Joyce for their generosity,” said Wayne King, Foundation president and CEO. “This gift will truly advance the 21st century land-grant mission of the University by helping to improve academic and research environments, as well as enhancing the well-being and quality of life of the people of this great state.”
Robbins recalled his youth in Parkersburg, “with very limited resources.”
“WVU provided me the academic and personal support that gave me a foundation for competing around the world and never once feeling outgunned educationally,” he said. “The University has among the broadest charges in the country to provide academic, research and regional economic support and, still, has been able to give thousands, like me, a foundation for life.
“For us, WVU has earned and deserves our aid and has been a labor of love for more than four decades.”
Robbins is the former managing director of global equities for DLJ, one of Wall Street’s leading investment banks. At DLJ he managed one of the investment industry’s most successful equities businesses. During his tenure, DLJ Equities grew to more than 1,500 employees in 24 offices doing business in all major money markets worldwide and became one of Wall Street’s most highly ranked organizations. He was a member of DLJ’s board of directors, a member of the board of DLJ International (Equities) and chair of Autranet. Prior to managing the company’s equities business, he was director of research. He was, also, a top ranked research analyst, ranking in the top three of the Institutional Investor All Star rankings for 11 consecutive years.
He currently serves on the board of directors of LaBranche, formerly the leading specialist firm with the NYSE, and as chair of the board of directors of Open Exchange, a firm that provides a qualified controlled compliant solution for business desktop video.
Robbins served on the board of the WVU Foundation from 1991-2008, serving as chair from 2003-2005. He is a member of the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni and the Vandalia Society, WVU’s highest honor for service. He also currently serves on the College of Business and Economics Visiting Committee and is a member of the board of directors of the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute. He has been involved with numerous other WVU, civic and charitable activities.
He graduated with an A.B. in history from WVU and he and his wife, Joyce, have previously established a chair in history in the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences.
Mrs. Robbins graduated with a B.S. in special education from California University of Pennsylvania and received a masters in special education and rehabilitation from the University of Pittsburgh. She taught in the Pittsburgh school system, including establishing the special education program at Taylor Alderdice High School. She then earned an MBA in accounting from Pace University and achieved a CPA. Her career included working with Coopers & Lybrand, one of the leading accounting firms, and was controller of Data Switch, a New England based provider of specialty technology.
In 2008, the state created the Research Trust Fund with an initial appropriation of $50 million, including $35 million for WVU, to leverage public and private investments that will transform West Virginia’s economy. WVU is able to tap into the fund to double private gifts that support expansions to research faculty and infrastructure in key areas linked to economic development, healthcare and job growth. To date, private gifts and pledges approved for RTF match total just over $16.7 million.
The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the private, non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.