MORGANTOWN -- Chesapeake Energy has committed $750,000 over the next five years to provide scholarships and other academic enhancements to energy-related programs at West Virginia University.

The funds will support a wide range of scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate, graduate and professional students in geology and geography, petroleum and natural gas engineering, and law.

"The challenges facing energy industries and energy consumers are wide-ranging, and we must prepare the next generation of students to participate in finding solutions," said WVU President Mike Garrison. "Chesapeake's support will allow us to open more doors for our students in these programs, and provide crucial support for students who want to focus their studies on energy-related issues."

By supporting students in three diverse WVU programs, the company's donation underscores the interdisciplinary approach WVU is taking to energy questions, Garrison said.

"Whenever the important decisions about energy development are being made, there are legal questions, geological questions and engineering questions on the table," he said. "Our students need to recognize early that they won't work in a vacuum – that the scientists and the policymakers have to work together to arrive at solutions that work in the real world."

Garrison credited two WVU grads and Chesapeake vice presidents, Mike John and Scott Rotruck, for taking a "big-picture" approach to supporting the University's work.

"Chesapeake is a major employer of choice for WVU students, and a major player in the development of West Virginia's economy," Garrison said. "By investing in students now, they are helping create a more vibrant and multitalented work force for the state's future."

"We are proud to support all these programs," Rotruck said. "WVU is a leadership institution in energy studies, not just in West Virginia, but across the country. We depend upon a steady stream of well-prepared graduates from these programs to meet our needs as we grow."

"Our hope is that by providing support to students, we will encourage more undergraduates to consider careers in energy-related fields."

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (www.chkenergy.com) is the largest independent and third-largest overall producer of natural gas in the U.S. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company's operations are focused on exploratory and developmental drilling and corporate and property acquisitions in the Mid-Continent, Fort Worth Barnett Shale, Fayetteville Shale, Permian Basin, Delaware Basin, South Texas, Texas Gulf Coast, Ark-La-Tex and Appalachian Basin regions of the United States.

Chesapeake Energy's Eastern Division is headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia. It is the center of operations for natural gas exploration and production in the Appalachian Basin which stretches from New York to Alabama.

The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, a private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.

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