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Chambers College Top 10 Moments from 2019

“These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things…”

We have had a busy and exciting year here at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, and we thank you all for following along with us.

Whether you attended an event, helped us share our good news or shared a social post, contributed to our University-wide Day of Giving, read our latest magazine or cheered us on in other ways, we appreciate you!

We’re able to tell these stories because of all the wonderful things that are happening in and around our College. Here are just a few of our favorite stories or moments from 2019.

1. Record Incoming First-Time Freshman Class for Fall 2019

Our College continues to grow and increase the number of incoming students. In fact, the Fall 2019 semester saw the largest first-time freshman (FTF) class we’ve had with 532 freshman students. In total, we have approximately 2,800 business students.

Come be a part of our next record-breaking class. Learn more about our College:  John Chambers College of Business and Economics

Freshman Class 1 Freshman Class 2

2. Building Beyond

Our University has tripled in size since the 1960s and, as it transforms for the next generation of students, it’s reshaping our plans for the future. On September 9, 2019, we launched our Building Beyond campaign to give our students, faculty and staff, as well as the community, a glimpse into Reynolds Hall. Reynolds Hall is possible thanks to the generosity of alum Bob Reynolds, and his wife Laura. Expected to open in 2022, our new building has big plans to transform the business landscape of the University and showcase an intersection of technology, innovation and state-of-the-art programming. “It’s very satisfying to be able to plant the seeds for other people’s success. I am delighted to help the young people of the greatest state in this country. That’s what ‘paying it forward’ means to me," said Reynolds. 

The road to Reynolds Hall: A transformation made possible by Bob and Laura Reynolds

Learn about our future home at Reynolds Hall and how you can help us build beyond: buildingbeyond.wvu.edu

Reynolds Hall 1 Reynolds Hall 2

3. Encova Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

In September, West Virginia University’s Brickstreet Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation became the Encova Center thanks to the generous $2 million donation from Encova Mutual Insurance Group. This was the first corporate gift made towards the Building Beyond campaign, which will provide a new home for the Center. “We are very excited about the partnership and the opportunity to partner with the business school and West Virginia University,” said Greg Burton, executive chairman of Encova Insurance. “It’s a perfect partnership for us as we strive to make a difference in the communities in which we work and live. We look forward to seeing what this partnership will bring in the years to come.”

Learn more: Encova Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Encova Center opening

4. Penni and Rob Roll Gift

Penni Facemire Roll and Rob Roll met at WVU, where they both graduated with accounting degrees. The couple announced a gift in New York City on Oct. 10 to give back to the College where their story began. The new trading lab in Reynolds Hall will be known as the Roll Capital Markets Center. This space will truly give our students the ability to learn through doing, as they will experience an environment similar to a real-life trading floor at a major financial institution.

“Having the connection with the students and seeing them start to think about their careers and where they want to go has helped us feel close to what’s happening in the state, said Penni Roll, who serves as partner and chief financial officer of the Credit Group of Ares Management Corporation, said. “We want to keep making a difference in their lives.”

Read the story and see the video behind the Roll Capital Markets Center: Roll Capital Markets Center

Alumni Event in NYC

5. Chambers on Campus

On Friday, Oct. 4, John Chambers visited our College. His time on campus included faculty and staff meetings, lunch with our Chambers Student Ambassadors and bringing his energy and vision to the official launch of Vantage Ventures. He engaged by learning about each group and department, and sharing ideas and strategies for evolving to meet needs of the business students of the future and to prepare them to “disrupt or be disrupted”.  Chambers has a plan to transform WVU and West Virginia, and we’re proud to partner with him as he helps to propel West Virginia Forward into an innovation economy.

Learn more about Chambers’ vision: Reinvention Revolution

John Chambers Visiting campus

6. Vantage Ventures Launch

West Virginia’s new energy source, Vantage Ventures, launched in October to ignite hope for a new economic future for our state through start-ups and job creation. Led by a small but mighty team of tenacious entrepreneurs, Vantage Ventures is a concentrated effort to launch high-impact, scalable businesses that tackle complex challenges. “One of the strongest components of the West Virginia culture is the sense of commitment to one another’s success,” said Sarah Biller, executive director of Vantage Ventures and one of the founding executives of FinTech Sandbox. “We want to embody that value system and provide a hands-on, learned approach to helping talented entrepreneurs build investable businesses here in West Virginia.”

Learn more about their vision: Vantage Ventures

Chambers, and politicians at Vantage Ventures opening

7. Recognizing Business Leaders: West Virginia Hall of Fame and Chambers College Roll of Distinguished Alumni

Early into the semester, we attended The West Virginia Business Hall of Fame, which honored inductees at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs and kicked off the 2019 West Virginia Business Summit and Annual Meeting. The 2019 inductees each trailblazed a path to business success from WV roots: Judy Sheppard, CEO, Professional Services of America; Leo Vecellio, CEO, Vecellio Group; Bill Bayless, CEO, American Campus Communities; and the late Chris Cline, who was a West Virginia coal industry executive and philanthropist.

We also honored our very own alums at our 9th Annual Roll of Distinguished Alumni luncheon in October: Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, Senior VP and Chief Human Resources Officer of Symantec; Nesha Sanghavi, Owner and President of UG Apparel and chicka-d; and John Gianola, retired Managing Partner of Ernst & Young in Charleston. Nesha Sanghavi was also one of the speakers for West Virginia University’s December commencement.

Learn more about the inductees: West Virginia Business Hall of Fame and Roll of Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished alumni 2019 Hall of Fame 2019

8. WVU Economist Research Shows Aggressive Features = Higher Pay for Coaches

Brad Humphreys

Earlier this year, WVU economics professor, Brad Humphreys, reminded fans that football was never intended to be a beauty pageant and had the research to back it up. (Yes, you read that right!) In fact, a multidisciplinary team of WVU researches used a face recognition and machine learning approach, and found that head coaches with a more aggressive appearance earned a salary premium. More attractive football coaches, on the other hand, faced a salary discount. “One explanation for the attractiveness discount and aggressiveness premium may stem from that fact that American football is a very aggressive sport, and an unattractive face might signal mental and physical toughness, viewed as a desirable characteristic in this market,” said Humphrey’s.

Read the story that gained national media: Why Beauty is the Least Paid

9. Study Abroad

Study Abroad in Brazil

Here at Chambers College, our goal is to engage as many of our students with business on a global scale. Through the Stuart M. and Joyce N. Robbins Center for Global Business and Strategy, we have formed relationships with accredited business schools in the   G-20 countries to provide study abroad and exchange programs for our students and faculty. With trips to China, Brazil, India and Nepal, Dubai, Bahrain and more. “Business in Brazil was a trip unlike any other. The joy of simply being able to experience such a wonderful place in the world was overwhelming. Having the opportunity to immerse myself in Brazilian culture, both socially and professionally, entirely changed my outlook on life,” said Olivia Foden, a sophomore double-majoring in Marketing and Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Ready to see the world? Learn more: Robbins Center for Global Business and Strategy

10. The John Chambers College of Business and Economics Magazine 

Business Magazine Cover

This fall, we launched our first magazine since adding John Chambers’ name to our College. The magazine’s cover featured Chambers, former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco. It’s been a year since he announced his plan to partner and invest his time, treasure and ideas in his alma mater - providing the University with significant financial and intellectual resources that will help push West Virginia and West Virginia University to “disrupt” ourselves.

Read the latest magazine edition from our College: REINVENTION REVOLUTION