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CSX donates $50,000 through 'Bucks for Brains' initiative

Aug. 03, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- CSX Corp. gave $50,000 to Marshall University on Monday as part of West Virginia's "Bucks for Brains" initiative.

Randy Cheetham, regional vice president of public affairs for CSX, presented the check to Marshall officials and U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., during the National Rural Intelligent Transportation Systems Conference at Pullman Plaza Hotel in Huntington.

The donation will further transportation research conducted by the Nick J. Rahall II Appalachian Transportation Institute through Rail-SORCE (Railroad Safety and Operations Research Center of Excellence). The center provides an array of services including technology testing, research and development for asset mapping and inspections; train, car and mobile worker tracking; and intelligent grade crossings.

"There are many institutions that conduct research on transportation, but the work at RTI has real-life applications to the rail industry," Cheetham said. "Because of Congressman Rahall's vision we are here today and it's because of our relationship with RTI that CSX has grown even stronger."

Marshall President Stephen Kopp said it is significant that CSX gave the money through the "Bucks for Brains" initiative because the investment will be matched by the state's "Bucks for Brains" Research Trust Fund.

The fund allocates $15 million to Marshall University and $35 million to West Virginia University as a research endowment trust fund. Both institutions have to match their share of state funds with private donations by July 1, 2013. Any unused funds could go to the other institution or, if both have unused funds, be distributed to the state's other colleges and universities.

Monday's contribution brings Marshall's private donation and pledge total under "Bucks for Brains" to $800,100.

The research endowment is modeled after a highly successful program in Kentucky. As envisioned, the principal funds in each endowment will produce interest income for each account and fund research grants in specialized fields such as biotechnology and biometrics. The goal is for the universities to create new spin-off businesses and high-paying jobs as research results in breakthroughs, patents and products.

Monday's donation marks the second time CSX has given money to Marshall through "Bucks for Brains." The corporation gave the university $50,000 in 2009. The donation also went toward Rail-SORCE at RTI.