Longtime Resident: How a School Landed a Big Scholarship Gift

West Virginia University recently received a $10 million gift to create two endowed scholarship funds for future state students from Wood County, West Virginia. Most of the gift, $9.5 million, will establish the Mary “Mickey” Welch Scholars Program, while $500,000 will create the Mary “Mickey” Welch Wood County 4-H Scholarship Fund. The gift comes from Mary "Mickey" Welch, who along with her family, was involved in the oil and gas industry in the state for many years, primarily in Wood and nearby counties.

Welch has lived in Parkersburg, West Virginia her whole life. To provide some geography here, Parkersburg is in Wood County and serves as the county seat. Welch's philanthropy involves the kind of strong regional ties which motivate a lot of giving. Through the years she's worked with and supported many local organizations including, the Parkersburg Art Center,  the Parkersburg Community Foundation, and Wood County Habitat for Humanity. She founded the Montessori School at the YWCA and supported it until its close. Welch also endowed the Mary M. “Mickey” Welch scholarship at West Virginia University Parkersburg.

With this background, it makes sense that Welch would continue to support her community with another scholarship to a regional university. As she puts it “I’m very grateful to be in a position to support our young people... to be able to help future generations of students from Wood County further their education is such a great feeling. WVU is a major player in our area and the state, so it was a logical choice to make the university the beneficiary."

Proximity matters, once again.