CHARLESTON -- The Maier Foundation has helped West Virginia Univesity's College of Law establish the William J. Maier Jr. Deanship.
With the Foundation's funding of the William J. Maier Jr. Chair of Law exceeding $2 million, the University is elevating the chair to the deanship.
"A named deanship resonates powerfully in attracting and retaining excellent people," Provost Gerald Lang said in a statement. "It also indicates that the University and our donors have directed significant philanthropic support to the position.
"We are grateful for the Maier Foundation's generous support of the College of Law and of other initiatives throughout the University. The day-to-day excellence at WVU is possible as a result of their generosity and wisdom."
Ed Maier, president of the Foundation, said the timing is important.
"We continue to be supportive of the College of Law for we recognize its importance to not only the University, but also to the state of West Virginia," Maier said. "In light of Dean John Fisher's recent announcement that he is stepping down at the end of the 2007-08 academic year, the creation of the deanship takes on additional significance.
"The deanship will provide the College a higher profile when it initiates the search this fall for a new dean. The income from the endowment will be dedicated to raising the dean's compensation to levels that will be competitive with the University's peer institutions and attractive to quality candidates."
Fisher will become the first Maier Dean.
"This endowment is the cornerstone of ensuring continuing success in the College of Law," he said. "The Maier Foundation's support is helping to fulfill our goal of enhancing the academic quality of the College by nurturing an intellectually demanding and stimulating environment.
"Mr. Maier was truly an outstanding scholar and attorney, and it is fitting that the deanship at our College of Law will forever carry his name. It is a very high honor and privilege as well as humbling that I will be the first to serve as the William J. Maier Jr. Dean of our College of Law."
In addition to the Maier Chair of Law, the Maier Foundation has endowed the Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. Chair of Law and the Warren Point Chair of Internal Medicine in the WVU School of Medicine's Charleston Division. The Maier Chair also was WVU's first fully endowed chair.
Philanthropist William J. Maier Jr. established the Foundation in 1958 as the Sarah and Pauline Maier Scholarship Foundation in honor of his mother and wife. Renamed the Maier Foundation in 2003, it is a private, non-profit, charitable corporation located in Charleston.
Maier was born in Clarksburg on May 24, 1903. After graduating from Huntington High School in 1919, he received a scholarship to attend Harvard College. As the first West Virginia native to be selected as a Rhodes Scholar, Maier attended Oxford University from 1922-25. He received his law degree from Harvard in 1928 and returned to West Virginia to practice law in Charleston.
The Maier Foundation also has established major scholarship endowments and provided $2 million toward construction of a medical education building for the Charleston Division of the WVU Medical Center and $5.4 million for the Maier Village Student housing complex there.
This is the fourth deanship to be endowed at WVU. The late Edna A. Falbo, a 1937 alumna, established the "Philip J. Faini and Falbo Family Endowed Deanship in the College of Creative Arts" in 2000. It was named for Falbo and former dean Phil Faini.
In 2004, Morgantown philanthropist Milan "Mike" Puskar, created the "Milan Puskar Deanship in the College of Business and Economics."
Alumnus Glen H. Hiner established the "Glen H. Hiner Deanship in the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources" in 2005.
The Maier Foundation endowment gifts are managed by the WVU Foundation, a private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.