MORGANTOWN -- Two couples and a foundation have received the West Virginia University Foundation's 2006 Outstanding Philanthropy awards for their exceptional support and commitment to the University.

The recipients are: Stanley M. and Virginia Hostler, Outstanding Volunteer Philanthropists; Raymond J. and Stephanie Lane, Outstanding Philanthropists; and Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Outstanding Philanthropic Organization.

All are members of the Woodburn Circle Society, the WVU Foundation's most prestigious giving society.

This marks the second year of the annual awards, which were created in celebration of the foundation's 50th anniversary in 2005.

The Hostlers, who live in Charleston, are being honored for their longstanding history of dedication to WVU. Mr. Hostler came to Morgantown in 1959 to establish and lead the WVU Institute for Labor Studies. A respected attorney, he received a degree in 1965 from the WVU College of Law and later practiced law in Charleston.

The Hostlers' support reaches programs at the College of Law, WVU Children's Hospital, WVU Alumni Association, athletics, Extension, the marching band and other campus units.

In addition, Mr. Hostler has helped link minority and disadvantaged high school students to health professionals at WVU. The WVU Health Sciences and Technology Academy encourages these students to pursue careers in health sciences. The couple has since created a fund enabling underrepresented WVU students to attend medical school. In 1999, the auditorium at the WVU Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center was renamed Hostler Auditorium in their honor.

A member of the WVU Foundation board of directors, Mr. Hostler was honored in 1997 as the Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer.

Mrs. Hostler is a Hospice volunteer and serves on the board of the Charleston Women's Club.

The Lanes, of Atherton, Calif., are being honored for their tremendous devotion and support to WVU.

Mr. Lane, who helped make the Oracle Corp. one of the nation's leading software developers, is a general partner in the venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

He served as the national chairman of the WVU Foundation's " Building Greatness Campaign," which raised more than $336 million. Among the Lanes' contributions was $5 million to the WVU Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, which was named in their honor. Their gifts support a computer science chair, graduate fellowships, faculty research labs, engineering library resources and music scholarships.

A 1968 graduate of WVU's Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Lane has remained loyal to his alma mater despite a career path that has gradually taken him across the country to Cincinnati, Dallas and eventually California. He was inducted into the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 1997 and serves on the WVU Foundation board of directors.

Active in civic organizations, Mrs. Lane serves on the executive committee of The Grandview League and is a trustee for the Villa Montalvo, a center for the arts in northern California. She also is taking online courses from WVU.

The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, a faithful contributor to WVU, was established in 1944 by Michael and Sarah Benedum of Bridgeport and Blacksville, W.Va., respectively. The foundation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, was named after their only child, Claude Worthington, who died in 1918 at age 20 while serving in World War I.

The goal of the Benedums to "help people help themselves" has been carried on by the foundation through its work with hundreds of charities and nonprofit organizations dedicated to education, health, human services, community development, and economic development in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.

The foundation's policy is to allocate no less than 5 percent of the market value of its assets each year in support of its charitable activities, including the grants program. Since its inception, the foundation has created nearly 6,500 grants totaling more than $265 million.

Approximately two-thirds of the foundation's grant money is spent in West Virginia. Of its $11.67 million in grant-making during 2005, more than $2 million benefited programs at WVU.

This year's grants from the Benedum Foundation support projects at the University ranging from entrepreneurial development and technology transfer to palliative care and improved teacher quality. All of these grants supporting the University are administered by the WVU Foundation.

William P. "Pat" Getty is president of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

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