The WVU Board of Governors approved spending $1.8 million to lease and renovate space to house the College of Business and Economics Startup Engine.
Startup Engine will be a business startup accelerator program. The renovated retail space in the University Place student housing complex will hold space for business incubation, co-working and a “live experiential classroom” for students to work with startups.
The Startup Engine’s mission, WVU said in a press release, will be to attract, select and accelerate startups focused on the sectors and industries identified in the West Virginia Forward report with the objective of supporting the diversification of the state’s economy.
The $1.8 million will come from private donations, WVU said.
In other BOG business:
— WVU Foundation President and CEO Cindi Roth gave the members a 10-year retrospective on the Foundation’s growth.
In Fiscal Year 2008, she said, the Foundation raised $81.72 million in gifts and pledges. For FY 2018, which ended June 30, the figure was Just over $161.
Foundation money is intended to benefit the university, she said, and the amount going to WVU grew accordingly, from $44 million in FY 2008 to $106 million in FY 2018. Assets under management climbed from just over $640 million 10 years ago to $1.8 billion now.
The State of Minds Campaign, which ended Dec. 31, raised $1.219 billion, Roth said. “It puts us in a very elite class with other universities around the country, because there are less than 50 of them around the country that can ever claim they raised $1 billion or more.”
BOG member Matthew Valenti asked Roth if the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has put any damper on giving — since it raised the standard income tax deduction.
“We are studying it in our team,” Roth answered. So far there’s been no change and she credits that in part to alumni loyalty. “We are not anticipating a drop-off with that.”
— The BOG approved leasing a parcel of land next to the Mountaineer Station parking garage, on Van Voorhis Road, to WVU Hospitals for a 750-space parking garage. This is one of two that WVU Medicine has been discussing building for employees.
— WVU Tech interim President Gerald Lang gave an overview of progress at the new Beckley campus. Among other things, he noted that first-year freshman enrollment for 2008-2009, when Tech was in Montgomery, was 217. This school year, it’s 395. That’s 82 percent higher.
He also said they’ve outgrown the available parking. “We’ve been too successful,” he said with a smile.
— The BOG approved relocating some programs and departments and renaming some buildings to accommodate the demolition of Stansbury Hall for the future B&E Complex and the Hodges Hall project.
ROTC is moving to the Evansdale Campus. The Admissions and Records building will be renamed Colson Annex; Dadisman/Stalnaker Resident Faculty Leader House changing to Laurel House; 660 North High Street to Augusta Hall; Arnold RFL House to Serenity Place; the Blanchette Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute to Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute.