MORGANTOWN -- Four individuals whose contributions to West Virginia University range from improving academic programs and facilities to bolstering financial support are recipients of the school's highest honor for service to the institution.
The Order of Vandalia's 2006 class includes:
* George R. Farmer Jr., attorney and trustee for the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust and Ruby Foundation
* Vaughn L. Kiger, president of Old Colony Co. of Morgantown
* Stuart M. Robbins, retired managing director of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette
* Guy H. Stewart, dean emeritus of the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism
The honorees will be inducted during a special ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 13, at Erickson Alumni Center.
Farmer is best known as the conscientious legal mind behind two philanthropic organizations that have been generous to the University and Morgantown communities.
After graduating from the WVU College of Law in 1956, the Morgantown native became a partner with his father, George R. Farmer Sr., a College of Law graduate who taught business law at WVU; Farmer & Farmer remained in business until 1980. He later joined Jackson Kelly and is currently of counsel with the law firm.
He served as one of youngest presidents of the West Virginia State Bar in 1971 and was chairman of the State Bar board of governors in 1972.
Farmer's reputation for being an able, fair and compassionate steward of justice led to his representation of two of Morgantown 's most generous benefactors – J.W. Ruby and Hazel Ruby McQuain.
He is a trustee of the Ruby Foundation and chairman of the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust board of trustees. Under his leadership, the two organizations have provided millions of dollars for support of, among other things, the creation of Ruby Memorial Hospital, a WVU College of Law library endowment, four fully endowed teaching chairs in the WVU School of Medicine and a wrestling practice facility being built near the Natatorium, as well as a major gift for a new Alumni Association center.
Farmer lives in Morgantown with his wife, Mary Ann.
Kiger, a Morgantown native and 1966 WVU graduate, has remained a prominent fixture in his hometown for almost four decades.
He has been a part of the business community since 1967 when he started in the real estate business. He became president of Dorsey & Kiger Inc. Realtors in 1979 and is currently president of Old Colony Co. of Morgantown.
Robbins, a native of Parkersburg , made his mark on Wall Street – an experience that would later benefit WVU.
He retired in 2000 as managing director of global equities for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, a leading Wall Street investment firm he joined in 1984. Prior to that, he worked for several other investment companies, including Paine Webber, Colin Hochstin, CS McKee and Parker Hunter.
Stewart has made a difference at WVU in two capacities – as former dean of the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism and as chair of a committee dedicated to renovating WVU Jackson's Mill State 4-H Camp.
Stewart, who grew up in Keyser, began his journalism career while still in high school, working for the Cumberland ( Md. ) Evening Times, Mineral Daily News-Tribune and Wheeling Intelligencer. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from WVU in 1948 and 1949, respectively, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1957. He also worked briefly at the Chicago Tribune.