A $5 million donation was announced at West Virginia University Friday.
Verl O. Purdy, a WVU graduate and Poca native, and his wife, Sandra, will provide the donation. The donation will be split between the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the College of Business and Economics and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, according to university officials.
Purdy, who founded the largest agricultural data analysis and marketing company in the world, graduated from WVU in 1964 with a degree in chemical engineering. He, later, earned his MBA from University of North Carolina-Charlotte, which launched him on a career path that included leadership and management roles at B.F. Goodrich Chemicals, FMC, BASF and Rio Tinto Zinc Chemicals before he created AGDATA, Inc., university officials said. He sold AGDATA, Inc. in 2010 and is now the president of Cadrillion Capital, which is a company that invests in and grows businesses in the healthcare information sector.
"West Virginia University gave me the opportunity to live the dream and journey from being a student in a one-room elementary school to a first-generation college graduate," Purdy said. "My parents realized the value of higher education and made great personal sacrifices, provided continuous encouragement and never lost faith in my journey to succeed. Sandra and I, along with my family, hope that our gift can make many dreams come true for the generations that follow in our path."
The gift is part of the "State of Minds" private fundraising campaign for WVU, of which Purdy serves as co-chairman. He has been a member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors since 2004 and served two years as chairman, university officials said.
The largest part of the gift - $4 million - will go to the Statler College to find endowed scholarships, faculty fellowships and an endowed faculty chair. The remaining $1 million will be split evenly between the College of Business and Economics and WVU Athletics to fund endowed scholarships, an endowed experiential opportunity fund at B&E and a golf program endowment for athletics.
"It is because of the generosity and the leadership of our alumni, such as Verl Purdy, that West Virginia University can continue to achieve great success," said WVU President Gordon Gee. "Verl often credits this University as providing him the foundation he needed to create a vibrant career. However, credit must also go to Verl in that his dedication to alma mater - through both this gift and his service to the WVU Foundation - will allow future generations to receive the same quality education he received. I am grateful for both Verl and Sandra's commitment to this University."