West Virginia University has received nearly $1.1 million from the Hazel L. Sutton Trust to establish new endowed scholarships within three WVU colleges and fund research initiatives at the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI).

The donation to the WVU Foundation from the late Hazel L. and John L. Sutton of Elkins provides:

Also, $300,000 will benefit research projects and operations within the BRNI, a not-for-profit research institution that partners with government and private enterprise in the search for cures to cognitive disorders.

The scholarship portion of Sutton Trust gift will count toward the Dream First scholarship initiative, an effort publicly announced earlier this year by WVU President Gordon Gee to raise $50 million for student scholarships. To date, nearly $21 million has been raised as part of Dream First.

“This is a beautiful legacy from a couple whose dreams came true partly through the education they received at West Virginia University,” Gee said. “Now, through this very generous gift from the late John and Hazel Sutton, many current and future students will also be realizing the American dream of a college degree. I am very grateful for the support of this important scholarship campaign.”

“My parents saved money, made wise investments and gave generously,” said Carol Jiga, daughter of the Suttons. “They were wonderful, successful and charitable people.”

The Suttons both graduated from WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 1938. John Sutton continued his education and earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Denver. He served in World War II in the Pacific as a bombardier/navigator. His military service would span 33 years, rising to the rank of colonel. After his time in the service, he owned and managed Tygart Valley Phone Co., and served as director of Mountain Valley Bank.

Hazel Sutton graduated from WVU with a teaching degree and taught French and history in Lumberport. After the couple married, she became a military wife. According to their daughter, Mrs. Sutton made wonderful homes for her and her brother in 20 different locations, from Anchorage, Alaska, to Wiesbaden, Germany.

The couple returned to West Virginia in 1969 and lived in Randolph County. John Sutton passed away in 2005; Hazel Sutton died in 2012.

“They were faithful fans of the Mountaineers and always looked forward to attending the football games,” Jiga said. “They loved Tygart Valley, WVU, and West Virginia.”

The gift from the Hazel L. Sutton Trust was made in conjunction with "A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University." The $1 billion fundraising effort by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.

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CONTACT: Bill Nevin, WVU Foundation
304-284-4056, wnevin@wvuf.org