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The Marshall University Foundation has announced that Service Wire Company has committed $1 million in support of the Brad D. Smith Center for Business and Innovation at Marshall University.

Service Wire Company will provide both financial resources as well as wire and cable products for the new state-of-the-art facility for the Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business. Additionally, the Transformative Sales and Service Excellence Center within the college will be renamed the Service Wire Company Transformative Sales and Service Excellence Center.

Louis Weisberg, president and chief executive officer of Service Wire Company, said he is excited to expand upon an existing relationship with the university and the city of Huntington.

“Service Wire has a long-standing history partnering with Marshall University, and we are pleased to continue this legacy,” said Weisberg. “We are proud to have Marshall University graduates in all departments across multiple locations – from accounting, sales and marketing, to engineering, operations and executive management.

“Service Wire has always been committed to serving the communities in which our employees live and work and that dedication extends to educational institutions. By providing an outlet for our employees and their families to further their education and recruit new talent, we can better equip our growing workforce.”

Dr. Ron Area, chief executive officer of the Marshall University Foundation, echoed the importance of the relationship between regional businesses and Marshall.

“There is a great deal of excitement right now surrounding the new school of business and its impact on Marshall University and the surrounding area,” Area said. “And that dream can only be fulfilled through relationships and great partners like Service Wire Company. Louis Weisberg, Chuck Oldaker and their team have been a partner of the university for a long time, and we look forward continuing that relationship in the future. This gift will help Marshall achieve its goals in transforming Huntington into a central hub for business innovation.”

Service Wire Company is a multi-generation, family-owned wire and cable manufacturer in existence since 1968. With locations across the nation, including West Virginia, Texas and Arizona, the company is committed to providing quality American products and industry-leading service. Through a nationwide network of distributors and advanced distribution capabilities, Service Wire Company is able to meet the needs of industrial, commercial, utility, pump, irrigation and transit customers throughout North America and the world.

With numerous employees and team members touting a degree from Marshall, Chuck Oldaker, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Service Wire Company, sees this as a unique partnership to further enhance the students and future workforce of West Virginia.

“The College of Business’ cutting-edge curriculum will help attract new talent,” Oldaker said. “We can continue to support these individuals post-graduation by offering gainful employment opportunities in one of our nationwide locations or through our vast sales agent network.”

The new state-of-the-art facility is slated to be built in the 1400 block of 4th Avenue on a plot of land that formerly housed The Flats on 4th apartment complex. The building is scheduled to open in January of 2024.

The building, which will also serve as a center for the economic development of the region, will provide for conference facilities capable of hosting both small and large business gatherings. Additionally, the building will serve as the hub for student centric activities, providing students not only with instructional facilities but also facilities encouraging interaction and collaboration.

The gift will also advance the Service Wire Company Transformative Sales and Service Excellence Center within the college. The Center aims to prepare the next generation of sales and service leaders through relevant curriculum, role-play exercises, real-world challenges, training and certification programs and networking with corporate partners. This funnel helps provide best-in-class employees for local businesses to grow and meet ever-changing needs in a post-pandemic economy.

“Service Wire is proud to be a staple in the community. We have a long history of supporting West Virginia and the Tri-State region and are pleased to be able to continue this spirit of giving,” Weisberg said.

Gary G. and Jo Ann White announced they have established the Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert Professorship in Biomedical Engineering in honor of the 37th president of Marshall University.

White, who served as interim president of Marshall University from December 2014 to January 2016, said he hopes this professorship will help cement the legacy of Gilbert while also continuing to propel the university forward in this unique and exciting field of study.

“Dr. Jerry Gilbert came to Marshall University at a critical time in our history, becoming Marshall’s 37th president after the unfortunate and untimely death of Stephen J. Kopp,” White said. “Under Dr. Gilbert’s leadership, Marshall continued to move forward. Among his many initiatives, Dr. Gilbert established the biomedical engineering program in 2018 combining the strengths of Marshall’s School of Medicine and its College of Engineering to provide students the opportunity to enter this new and exciting profession. Jo Ann and I are pleased to be able to memorialize Dr. Gilbert and his wife Leigh for their service to Marshall University and the region it serves.”

White was appointed to the role of interim president following the sudden death of long-time president Dr. Stephen J. Kopp. A Marshall graduate, White is a former member and past chairman of the Marshall University Board of Governors, as well as an accomplished businessman and leader in the coal mining industry.

Dr. Jerry Gilbert succeeded White in January 2016 as the 37th president of Marshall University. A Mississippi native with a background in biomedical engineering, Gilbert made an immediate and lasting impact on the university.

“I thank my friends Gary and Jo Ann White for their generous gift to establish a biomedical engineering professorship in my name at Marshall University. Having spent almost my entire career in biomedical engineering, I can think of no greater honor,” Gilbert said. “This professorship will help Marshall attract high quality faculty to the program and place it on the path to becoming a leader in the field of biomedical engineering. Along with its highly esteemed medical school, the biomedical program at Marshall has enormous potential for growth in both the research and education arenas.”

The Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert Professorship in Biomedical Engineering will help support an engineering professor with a background and advanced education in biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences (CECS) at Marshall University. Most importantly, the professorship will help attract high-quality faculty and support important educational and research initiatives in the department.

“My hope is that this professorship will enable us to attract a world-class chair for biomedical engineering,” said Dr. David Dampier, dean of CECS. “Dr. Jerry Gilbert has always been an inspiration to me. This gift provides a legacy that is both deserved and will preserve his memory. All gifts are valuable and provide needed resources for programs and this gift is directed to hiring a certain caliber of faculty member that Marshall may not be able to attract without the resources that are being provided.”

In addition to the educational opportunities, White hopes the establishment of this professorship will help further propel the legacy of Gilbert at Marshall University. Under his direction, Gilbert rapidly increased the national profile of the university and helped the institution earn the prestigious “R2” research institution designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of High Education. He also oversaw the addition of multiple high-demand programs and was a champion for sustainability and diversity and inclusion initiatives at the university.

“Looking back on my six years at Marshall, I am very proud of the progress that was made in both research and student success,” Gilbert said. “Being ranked as a doctoral research university for the first time in its history was a significant accomplishment that will continue to raise the stature and quality of the university. There is no question that student success rates continue to improve as undergraduates have more opportunities for cocurricular engagement in research, community projects and other activities to augment the excellent classroom experience at Marshall. Our number one focus is always on the students.”

To support the Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert Professorship in Biomedical Engineering or to learn more about supporting other important initiatives at Marshall University, visit or contact the Marshall University Foundation at (304) 696-6264.

“In addition to establishing the biomedical engineering program, we believe Dr. Gilbert will be remembered for his visionary leadership and his many major initiatives,” White said. “We hope others will join Jo Ann and me by contributing to this professorship to help memorialize Dr. Gilbert’s service to Marshall University.”

Dr. Asad Salem was awarded the J. Robert Fletcher Professorship for Engineering in Marshall University’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences in April. Salem is the interim chair of the Weisberg Department of Mechanical Engineering.

“Dr. Salem has served Marshall University in mechanical engineering very well for a number of years, and is very deserving of this honor,” said Dr. David A. Dampier, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

The J. Robert Fletcher Professorship for Engineering supports an endowed faculty position in mechanical engineering at Marshall. J.H. Fletcher & Co., along with the Fletcher family, established the endowment in 2010 with a gift of $125,000, which was matched by the trust fund at that time.

Fletcher, who died in May 2009, moved to Huntington in 1947 with his family business. Alongside his father and brother, he designed underground roof support systems for coal and limestone mines and built a manufacturing plant in Huntington. Today, J.H. Fletcher & Co. is one of the world’s premier manufacturers of underground roof support systems.

“I’m honored, and I would like to thank Fletcher for their support of the mechanical engineering program here at Marshall,” Salem said. “I am appreciative of Dean Dampier who trusted me and saw my hard work to award me this professorship.”

The funds Salem received will support his research in the areas of coal mining production, mining equipment and mine safety.

In 2012, Marshall received a $721,000 bequest from the Fletcher estate to fund the engineering professorship. The donation was matched through the state’s “Bucks for Brains” West Virginia Research Trust Fund for a total benefit to the university of more than $1.4 million.

Salem has been with Marshall since 2013. He is the founding chair of the mechanical engineering program. Fletcher was instrumental in establishing the program through monetary gifts.