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Wehrles, Wehrle Foundation provide $1.5 million to WVU for business program, law school expansion

A $1.25 million gift by a Charleston, W.Va., area couple to the business and law schools at West Virginia University this will create a supply chain management program and provide funds for the law school building expansion.

H. Bernard "Bernie" Wehrle, III and his wife, Cecilia, have made a gift of $750,000 to the College of Business and Economics(B&E) for the creation of a Supply Chain Non-endowed Professorship to initiate a supply chain management program, as well as a $500,000 gift to the WVU College of Law building expansion and redesign.

Additionally, a gift of $250,000 has been donated from the H.B. Wehrle Foundation to support the Supply Chain Non-endowed Professorship at B&E. The foundation principals include Henry B. Wehrle Jr. and his sons and daughters — Bernie Wehrle, Steve Wehrle, Beth Wehrle and Lynne Zande.

WVU President Jim Clements thanked the Wehrle family for its generosity. "Mr. Wehrle and his family have been extremely generous to WVU and higher education over the years," Clements said, "and this latest gift continues that tradition with support to our College of Business and Economics for a new academic program, as well as to our College of Law for state-of-the-art legal classrooms. Literally thousands of our students will benefit from the opportunities these initiatives will provide. Mr. Wehrle helped to build a successful West Virginia business — and now he is helping to build a stronger future for the students at WVU and the state we serve."

"The start of a Supply Chain program helps put into place an important component for WVU's business school," said Wehrle. "Dean (Jose) 'Zito' Sartarelli shares our passion, and his leadership and stewardship gives us great confidence in what the future holds for this new program."

Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean of the College of Business and Economics, said the gift would help create even greater opportunities of study for WVU business students.

"We are elated at the opportunity to create a supply chain management program through this generous gift," said Sartarelli. "With increased globalization, this is a world that is very interconnected. Borders have vanished; companies make their products and move them to where customers are. Supply chain management has become a key enabler to this interconnected world. This is a great opportunity for B&E to add supply chain management to its areas of expertise."

Sartarelli added that the efficient movement of goods through the supply chain to the eventual consumer has evolved due to customer demands.

"There is a real expectation that goods can be available to the consumer in shorter and shorter time cycles. This gift can help B&E develop a curriculum that meets those real world demands and provide much-needed new talent that is highly sought," said Sartarelli.

Joyce E. McConnell, William J. Maier, Jr. Dean & Thomas R. Goodwin Professor of Law, said the gift to the College of Law is important to the expansion and redesign of the facility. "This gift will have a profound impact on the mission of the law school," said McConnell. "In helping fund the construction of a state-of-the-art law center, Bernie and Cecilia are investing in an experiential model of legal education that produces exceptional lawyers for West Virginia and the world. They are also enhancing the lives of the state's residents who rely on the broad range of pro bono legal services provided by the College of Law's clinics."

"The building expansion and redesign of the WVU College of Law will play a major role in the academic offerings of the university," Wehrle said. "With Dean McConnell's vision, this will help ensure that law students will have access to technologically advanced classrooms and learning environments that will help prepare them for the legal profession anywhere in the world."

Bernie Wehrle served as CEO of McJunkin Corp from 1987 thru 2006 and CEO and then co-CEO/Chairman of MRC Global (NYSE:MRC) from 2007 thru October 2008. He is a director of MRC Global, and serves on the boards of the Mountain Company in Parkersburg, W.Va., the Central West Virginia Airport Authority, and Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center (MATRIC). He is a trustee for the University of Charleston and is affiliated with WPO/YPO. Wehrle graduated from Princeton University and received an MBA from Georgia State University in 1978. Cecilia Hamrick Wehrle graduated from the then WVU College of Arts and Science in 1976.

The contribution was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia's University. The $750 million comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2015.