MORGANTOWN -- Former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton has given $100,000 to West Virginia University to create an outstanding professor award for faculty who demonstrate a commitment to improvement in writing.
The endowment will provide for an annual stipend for a professor whose work in the classroom -- irrespective of discipline or rank -- advances the cause of good writing. It will be awarded on a rotational basis to encourage widespread participation among faculty members.
"No person has done more to advance the cause of writing in the United States than Gaston Caperton," WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. said. "The University is truly grateful for this gift."
Caperton currently is president of the College Board in New York.
The College Board established the National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges, and it has drawn considerable attention to the unenviable state of writing in the country.
"America has a real problem with inadequate writing skills and it must be addressed in a forthright manner or we will lose our competitive edge in the global market," Caperton said. "Other countries are doing more, and the time for real action is now."
Gene A. Budig, once president of WVU and president of Major League Baseball's American League, said Caperton dared to stand alone and detail the depth of an alarming national crisis.
"He took a courageous course, one that is now being followed by many leaders from across the land with regard to improved writing," Budig said.
E. Gordon Gee, president of Vanderbilt University, a member of the National Commission on Writing, and former WVU president, said Caperton articulated what many teachers knew.
"This nation had to do better in advancing writing skills or lose its place as an international force for good in business and industry," Gee added.
The Caperton gift will be administered by the WVU Foundation, a private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for WVU.