WVU Announces $40 Million Partnership to Expand Economics Education Through Innovative Chambers College Programs
Leadership gift to West Virginia University from longtime supporters Ken and Randy Kendrick will enable John Chambers College of Business and Economics to transform economics education through innovative programs for high school students and educators across the state through the new Kendrick Center for an Ethical Economy.
The $40 million partnership with the Kendricks complements broader efforts to make WVU a goal-oriented leader in higher education. Over the next 10 years, WVU will contribute approximately $20 million – including reallocated funds, in-kind support and new investments – to the project, while the Kendricks will contribute $20 million over the same period, making of their commitment one of the most important gifts. in the history of Chambers College.
“This alliance to create the Kendrick Center for an Ethical Economy is a game-changer for West Virginia because it will help our state retain top young talent in line with West Virginia University’s land-grant mission by helping teachers to address the economic literacy gaps that exist. for students,” said President Gordon Gee.
The Kendrick Center for Ethical Economics will build on the existing excellence within Chambers College’s Department of Economics to implement three key initiatives:
The Kendrick Educators in Economics program will increase the capacity and reach of youth economic education statewide by investing in West Virginia teachers. The program will create a specialized stream for educators within its Master of Science in Economics program, offer summer workshops focused on teaching economics to teachers, and recruit teacher mentors to support Kendrick educators.
Enrollment in Economics 201, Principles of Microeconomics, will be expanded for West Virginia high school students to increase economic and financial literacy, encourage students interested in higher education to broaden their education, and help retain and invest in local talent.
The Kendrick Fellows program will recruit high-performing high school students to WVU, engage them in Center courses and activities, and inspire them to stay in West Virginia after graduation.
The Kendrick Center completes a reimagined vision of business education at WVU. The innovative approach – reflected in Reynolds Hall, the new home of Chambers College due for completion in April 2022 – integrates startup culture with an entrepreneurial spirit to nurture the business leaders of tomorrow.
“The Kendricks’ focus on economic and financial literacy and keeping our best students in the state will not only benefit individuals in these three programs, but West Virginia as a whole,” said Josh. Hall, Milan Puskar Dean. “This groundbreaking gift touches on every aspect of our mission, from training the business leaders of tomorrow to catalyzing cross-disciplinary solutions that advance economic growth in West Virginia and beyond.”
The Center’s efforts to supplement existing education in economics and ethics for West Virginia students and provide enhanced study for their teachers will be led by the Kendrick Professorship in Economics, a position to be filled by the Center’s director. , with the support of at least four additional teachers. . Cathleen Johnson, assistant professor and deputy chair of the Department of Economics, will be the first Kendrick Chair.
“The Kendrick Center allows us to draw on our charge as teachers to instill excellence, innovation, and ethics in our work, and it is an honor to partner with them to activate this gift that will serve our students and our land-grant mission in transformative ways,” Johnson said.
Hailing from Princeton, Ken Kendrick is one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from WVU in 1965 and is now a general managing partner and principal owner of Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks. He and his wife, Randy, reside in Paradise Valley, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix.
The Kendricks’ donation was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and manages private donations on behalf of the University. Kendrick served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors for many years and completed his final term in 2020.
“On behalf of the WVU Foundation team, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Ken and Randy Kendrick for their continued partnership,” said WVU Foundation President and CEO Cindi Roth. “Their incredible history of supporting WVU reflects their passion for seeing Mountain State grow. This latest gift will build on their incredible legacy by launching impactful programs to benefit the West Virginia economy for generations.
Ken Kendrick remained devoted to his alma mater throughout his career. He previously established programs at Chambers College focused on free enterprise, funded children’s vision awareness programs at the WVU Eye Institute, and supported facilities and programs to benefit WVU student-athletes, including the WVU Hall of Traditions.
After graduating from WVU, Kendrick worked at IBM before founding Datatel, Inc., a global leader in the development of computer software for infrastructure technology management for colleges, universities and foundations.
He went on to become a banking technology industry executive in the 1980s. Kendrick is a lead investor in Woodforest National Bank, one of the nation’s largest private financial institutions. He is also the owner of Bumble Bee Ranch, which is dedicated to providing Western lifestyle experiences for children’s charities throughout Arizona.
Kendrick was a founding member of the ownership group that created the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1995, and the team has achieved significant success on and off the field under his leadership as general manager since 2004. Kendrick is also chairman of the Arizona Foundation Diamondbacks and serves on the boards of many other charities, including the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kendrick received an honorary degree from WVU in 2013. He was also inducted into the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame, the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni, and Chambers College’s first Roll of Distinguished Alumni.