Attorney General Darrell McGraw
CHARLESTON – The new pharmacy school building at the University of Charleston will carry a big name for a politician who provided big money and a smaller name for a politician who delivered a smaller amount.
The pharmacy school will operate in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Pharmacy Education, in honor of the U. S. Senator who procured a $9.6 million appropriation.
A plaque in the east lobby will honor West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw, who donated $500,000 to the school from proceeds of a lawsuit.
The university's proposal to McGraw offered him a chance to name a "rural health activism center" that his gift will support, but McGraw passed up the chance.
University President Ed Welch and pharmacy school dean Richard Stull extended the offer of naming rights at the end of a proposal they presented to McGraw in October.
The proposal asked for a portion of a $10 million settlement that McGraw and drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma reached in 2004.
McGraw had claimed in a McDowell County suit that state agencies incurred improper expenses due to abuse of a Purdue Pharma pain killer, OxyContin.
Purdue Pharma agreed to a court order awarding two thirds of the settlement to McGraw and a third to private attorneys that McGraw had deputized as his special assistants.
McGraw agreed to distribute his share to drug abuse prevention programs.
The university requested $500,000 this year and $1 million next year for a rural health activism center in the pharmacy school that will open in August.
"The University of Charleston is creating a pharmacy school that will respond both to the need for additional pharmacists and the need for pharmacists who are trained to recognize and confront the very significant problem of drug abuse and diversion in West Virginia," Welch and Stull wrote.
They described the rural health activism center as "a place where scholars come together to address significant issues that affect rural health."
They wrote that the center would develop "innovative practice models that shape the evolving health care delivery system."
They wrote that it would recruit students from rural West Virginia.
"Students from rural West Virginia will be more likely to return to rural areas of the state close to home to practice," they wrote.
Finally, Welch and Stull threw their best pitch.
"In recognition of this very significant contribution to the effectiveness of the School of Pharmacy in addressing a pervasive social problem," they wrote, "the University would like to be in conversation with you about an appropriate name for the center that would recognize the significant contribution of the Attorney General as an advocate for the awareness and treatment of drug abuse in West Virginia."