GLENDALE, Ariz. -- West Virginia University alumnus Ken Kendrick welcomed the Mountaineers to Arizona on Dec. 31 with a surprise donation of over $1 million to cover the cost of unsold tickets to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

"Ken and I met yesterday to discuss how we can work together to move WVU forward," said WVU President Mike Garrison, who is in Arizona with thousands of other Mountaineers for the Jan. 2 game. "I know that he cares about the University, our students and our athletic programs, and he has shared some very constructive suggestions with me."

Kendrick, who in recent weeks has been outspoken about Coach Rich Rodriguez' departure for the University of Michigan, said, "while I have been critical of recent events in the Athletic Department, I made this gift because I love West Virginia University and West Virginia, and I only want what's best for my University."

"His gift is a signal that the lifelong relationships that bind us together as West Virginians are not easily broken," Garrison said. "We may sometimes disagree – and we're not shy about expressing ourselves when we do. But at the bottom of it all, the passion we feel is driven by our dedication to the state and to the University."

His gift of $1,012,500 to the WVU Foundation will support scholarships at WVU. It equals the amount WVU paid for 7,500 unsold Fiesta Bowl tickets. In part, Kendrick made the gift in recognition of the loyal Mountaineer fans who were unable to travel to Arizona for the game. He has worked with the Fiesta Bowl Committee to make tickets turned in by WVU available to Phoenix-area nonprofit organizations.

Specifics of the scholarship program will be announced at a later date.

Earl G. "Ken" Kendrick Jr. is a member of WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He graduated from the WVU College of Business and Economics in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. The Princeton, W.Va., native founded Datatel Inc., the industry leader in the development of software for the management of infrastructure technology for colleges and universities.

Kendrick is one of the founders -- and managing general partner -- of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks. He also is one of the main investors in the Dodge Theater in Phoenix, a state-of-the-art entertainment venue that seats approximately 5,500. He also owns the Bumble Bee Ranch and Bumble Bee Ranch Adventures, LLC, which includes more than 74,000 acres for horseback riding, cattle driving, off-road and helicopter tours, overnight facilities and team-building activities for companies and corporations.

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