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MU Foundation receives $200,000 from Chesapeake Energy for students

Sep. 09, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The Marshall University Foundation will receive $40,000 per year over the next five years from Chesapeake Energy to support scholarships for business and engineering students and for high school students attending the annual summer engineering academy.

During the next five years, a student from the Lewis College of Business and the College of Information Technology and Engineering will each receive a $7,500 scholarship. The remaining $25,000 will support the Exploring Engineering: Academy of Excellence, which is held each summer at Marshall.

Scott Rotruck, vice president of Corporate Development for Chesapeake Energy, said that while natural gas is a nonrenewable resource, investing in Marshall University will never cease to have a return.

"Our greatest renewable resource we have is our leadership," he said, citing a recent West Virginia economic study that showed Marshall's impact at more than $1 billion.

Six students from both colleges also were on hand for the announcement of the $200,000 donation. Tyler Spurlock, a junior in the College of Information Technology and Engineering, said he is very appreciative of the company's generosity.

"It gives you a new aspect, seeing how much people care about expanding the program," Spurlock said.

Suneel Maheshwari, a professor in the College of Business, said it's all about the students. And he is happy to help prepare those he teaches in accounting to work for companies that aren't afraid to give back.

"We prepare our students to serve in the business community and it makes us proud that the businesses are serving us," he said. "We always appreciate the support of the community."

The engineering academy has been going on for 10 years. In June, it attracted 36 students from 23 high schools in six states. Among the activities they were involved in this year: designing roller coasters, trebuchets and a robotics project; an introduction to civil and environmental engineering that included surveying, GPS, materials testing and environmental sampling; and a field trip to the Toyota plan in Putnam County.

"This latest generous gift from Chesapeake Energy is further evidence of their steadfast support for Marshall University students and high school students considering careers in engineering and business," said Marshall President Stephen Kopp. "We are grateful to Chesapeake Energy for their leadership and commitment to strengthening and expanding college education opportunities for students pursuing careers in these high demand fields. We could not do what we're doing here without Chesapeake and other corporate partners."

Chesapeake Energy Corporation is the second-largest producer of natural gas and the most active driller of new wells in the U.S.

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