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The Encova Foundation of West Virginia has made a $1.8 million gift for the auditorium in Marshall University’s new Lewis College of Business building, home of the Brad D. Smith Schools of Business.

The new facility, which will be constructed on the 1400 block of Fourth Avenue, will feature a 360-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium that will be named the Encova Auditorium. Currently under design, the new facility is expected to be complete by the fall of 2023.   Classes are projected to begin in January 2024.

“The Lewis College of Business is sincerely thankful for the generous donation of the Encova Foundation of West Virginia. Their commitment to the new Lewis College of Business facility, the Brad D. Smith Center for Business and Innovation, will benefit all Marshall students for generations to come. This state-of-the-art facility will be utilized by our students and be an ideal venue for our speaker series, lectures and classes, business meetings, conferences, film screenings and workshops. We are honored to bestow the Encova name on this auditorium,” said Dr. Avinandan Mukherjee, dean of the Lewis College of Business.

The university expects that the new facility, measuring 77,000 gross square feet, will house a new distinctive business school focused on empowering students to achieve their professional and entrepreneurial dreams, while making a positive impact on the local and regional economy.

“Encova Insurance is dedicated to supporting higher education and community partnerships,” said TJ Obrokta, president and CEO of Encova Insurance. The Encova Auditorium in Marshall University’s new Lewis College of Business building will allow future business leaders to be trained by outstanding professionals. It will also provide the opportunity to transform the Huntington and Tri-State communities by hosting speakers who will inspire entrepreneurs and business leaders of all ages.”

Marshall University President Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert said Encova’s commitment to higher education in West Virginia is outstanding.

“We are very appreciative of Encova’s partnership with Marshall University,” Gilbert said. “They share our vision that an educated workforce leads to a thriving West Virginia. By working together, public and private alliances can become cornerstones of success for the Mountain State.”

Encova Insurance, formerly BrickStreet Insurance, has generously supported Marshall University for more than 15 years through providing scholarships, supporting athletics and assisting several academic areas. Encova Insurance is recognized as one of the top five corporate donors at Marshall University.

Marshall alumnus Donald McCloud has established the McCloud Family Scholarship for the university. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Marshall University in 1975. Dr. Beth McCloud, Donald McCloud’s daughter, received both her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry in 2004 and Doctor of Medicine in 2008 from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

“Marshall University has had an enormous impact on me and members of my family,” Donald McCloud, who had a successful career in the coal mining industry in West Virginia. “My father, myself and my daughter are all graduates of Marshall University. My father was a student-athlete and inducted into the Marshall University Hall of Fame in basketball and my daughter is a pediatric physician at a major pediatric hospital.

“Marshall University provided us with the experiences and education to find our place in this world, and to observe it with a greater understanding in all its aspects. Growing up by my dad’s side, I observed the ways that set my father apart from his peers who chose not to participate in higher education. Watching my daughter throughout her several years at Marshall, I saw her develop intellectually, analytically and socially, with a growing understanding of her value and contribution to society. I want to help others experience the same growth and opportunities as my family and I have enjoyed and to understand and value the contributions they can make to society.”

The McCloud Family Scholarship supports full-time undergraduate students who are residents of West Virginia. Students must be in good academic standing with a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate need per the standards of Marshall University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance. First preference is given to a chemistry major from Logan High School in Logan County, West Virginia. Second preference to a physics, engineering or biology major from Logan High School; if none, then from Logan County, West Virginia. Third preference is to a chemistry major from any other county in West Virginia, but preferably the southern counties of Boone, Fayette, Greenbrier, Lincoln, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming. The award is renewable for up to four years if the student remains in good academic standing and continues to demonstrate financial need.

Choosing to support students in science, the McCloud family believes the study of sciences develops critical thinking that is represented in every career and in everyday life. The family encourages students to follow their heart and find a career that they are passionate about.

“Far too many rush into decisions and are unduly influenced by others. Be open to all that you can learn, thus creating a larger world for yourself in which to live, work and observe. A university education not only opens many career paths and opportunities, but provides a much richer life, one of enhanced knowledge, understanding and enjoyment.”

For information on the McCloud Family Scholarship, please contact Marshall University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance at 304-696-3162.