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After graduating from Marshall University in 2016 with a degree in psychology and working in the addiction science field for over four years, Abbagael Seidler is back on campus and finally feels she has found her niche in the Master of Business Administration program.

“My favorite part about the MBA program is the different courses that are required. Each course provides a different experience, with a different environment. It gives us students an opportunity to meet other students and explore topics we never knew we had an interest in,” Seidler said. “For example, I fell in love with Accounting 215 with Thomas Norton. He is enthusiastic about teaching his students and is one of the reasons why I fell in love with accounting. He has a welcoming and bright personality and can easily break things down for students who need a little extra help in the subject. I remember being terrified the first day of his course and by the end of his first class, I felt comfortable with trusting him and the class as we took the journey of Accounting 215 together.”

Seidler was born in Portland, Oregon, and moved to Charleston, West Virginia, in 2005 to be closer to her father’s family. She chose to attend Marshall after graduating from George Washington High School in 2012 because it was close to her family’s home.

“I love the old-time feel you get as you walk through campus and see all the brick buildings. Marshall’s campus is a beautiful, quaint gem in the middle of Huntington. I always enjoy being on campus especially when the weather cooperates,” she said.

Seidler has been a member of Delta Sigma Phi since 2021. During her Fall semester of 2022, she was the officer of community service where she used her resource knowledge of the Huntington community to provide members of her co-ed fraternity an opportunity to receive business clothes from either Hire Attire, a Goodwill professional clothing program for men, or Dress for Success, a professional clothing program for women. She has also collected pop-tabs to support the Ronald McDonald House.

“As an undergraduate, I was very reserved and unsure of what life direction I wanted to pursue,” she said. “I flip-flopped from becoming a nurse to going to medical school to biomedical research and then back to psychology. This made me not reach out to people or ask questions. Once I graduated, I realized that I missed the perfect opportunity. The university is the perfect place to be able to meet friends, professors, opportunities for jobs and internships, and even future employees. Campus is full of so many young and bright-minded individuals. All you have to do is put yourself out there! Meeting new people is a must as you try and navigate your time as an undergraduate student.”

Seidler is the recipient of the Frank Deacon Scholarship, which supports graduate students in the Lewis College of Business.  It has provided Seidler the opportunity to grow and learn about her passions and interests without having a high financial burden.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity. This scholarship has helped aid in buying my textbooks, online programs required for homework and to help cover fees in different business competitions provided by Marshall University and West Virginia University,” she said. “It could also help cover the costs of the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) membership where I have access to their Maker’s Vault. I am a very new member at RCBI, however, Deacon Stone has been very welcoming and helpful with showing me around the facility and assisting me in building my prototype for the business competition.

“I have completely fallen in love with innovation and invention and plan to pursue the creation of my own patents, trademarks, and intellectual property. Olen York was my entrepreneurship professor last semester. He is a very kind and knowledgeable man. He has helped me cultivate enough confidence to get out there and make my ideas turn into something.”

Last semester, York had his class submit an idea to the 2022-23 WV Collegiate Business Plan Competition. Seidler was the only student (undergraduate and graduate) to be chosen to represent Marshall University in the semifinals.

“We just submitted our second deadline which will determine if I made it into the finals. Either way, I am grateful for the experience and am excited to see where my idea goes!”

After graduation, Seidler isn’t sure where her degree will take her. She has a wide range of interests ranging from accounting, human resources, and entrepreneurship. Her ultimate dream is to start a clean beauty business with her twin sister, Jessica Seidler who also graduated from Marshall with a master’s in biomedical sciences.

“Using truly clean products and incorporating these into our everyday life is high on our priority list,” she said. “Brands can put whatever they want on the front of their packaging to entice their customer, it does not even have to be true. Flipping the product over and reading the active ingredients is key to finding out what is exactly in these beauty products. Our skin tells us a lot about a person and feeding it natural and clean ingredients that nurture us rather than hurt us isn’t too much to ask for from a company serving in the beauty industry.”

Seidler also dreams of having her own patent or invention.

“My twin sister and I were adopted at the age of three by Donald Seidler. In a sense, he gave us his last name, and being able to create something that is mine and representing that by putting my name on it means a lot more to me than what I ever expected.”

“I am here to chase opportunity and creativity,” she said. “I would love to create a product that would make a simple task less complicated. Convivence is everything and creating a patent with my last name on it would mean everything to me. I come from a family of four females and having our last name ‘Seidler’ on a patent would be an honor.”

Five Marshall University graduates who live in the region and work as State Farm agents recently came together to establish the State Farm Agent’s Alumni Scholarship.

The agents who made this scholarship possible are Rob Bowers of St. Albans, West Virginia; Brandon Huffman of Cross Lanes, West Virginia; Bill Mangus of Dunbar, West Virginia; Jeff Smith of Huntington; and George Swain of Williamson, West Virginia.

“We are all very proud of Marshall and individually contribute to the Marshall Foundation or the Big Green Foundation,” Smith said. “We do our part to give back to Marshall and the community.”

Recipients of this scholarship will be full-time undergraduate or graduate students in the Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business who are in good academic standing with a 3.0 GPA or higher and have financial need, per the standards of the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

“Given that all of us are self-employed entrepreneurs with business or marketing degrees, we felt it was important to focus our scholarship on the College of Business in an effort to support future entrepreneurs in the community,” Smith said.

For information regarding the State Farm Agent’s Alumni Scholarship, please contact Marshall University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance by phone at 304-696-3162.

Marshall University’s Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) has announced Friday, Oct. 6, as the date for the 10th annual West Virginia Makes Festival, the state and region’s largest maker fair. Officials say this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever thanks to a sizeable STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation.

The Foundation, the charitable arm of American Water, parent company of West Virginia American Water, has awarded $14,000 to the Marshall University Foundation to support RCBI’s annual community-based event that promotes innovative West Virginia-based STEM entrepreneurship.

“Our future leaders in West Virginia are significantly better off and will be more prepared for their careers with strong STEM skills thanks to access to the outstanding programming provided by community partners such as RCBI,” said Robert Burton, president of West Virginia American Water.

The annual Makes Festival attracts hundreds of students and innovators of all ages from across the region, providing them the opportunity to demonstrate their own creations, compete for prizes and engage in STEM-focused activities during the annual celebration of creativity and ingenuity in all forms.

“Thanks to the tremendous generosity of the American Water Charitable Foundation, people of all ages will have the opportunity to demonstrate their creations and ingenuity, engage in hands-on STEM activities and revel in the joys of discovery during the 2023 West Virginia Makes Festival – our 10th anniversary – set for Oct. 6 on the campus of Marshall University,” said Derek Scarbro, RCBI deputy director. “This support is another example of the American Water Charitable Foundation’s and West Virginia American Water’s commitment to strengthening our communities by investing in those they serve.”

Registration is now open for makers of all ages, exhibitors and groups that want to attend the free event this fall. Details at

According to Jan Haddox, nothing in his life has been planned.

Haddox, a long-time resident of Mason County, West Virginia, built a career as an educator and later as an artist. Haddox graduated from Marshall University in 1970 with degrees in art and language arts.

“I had just gotten out of the service,” Haddox said, of his decision to attend Marshall. “I had always been a Marshall fan, and I have two brothers-in-law who had athletic scholarships to Marshall. I have a brother-in-law who played football for Marshall in the ‘70s. Actually, my mother-in-law wouldn’t have allowed me to go anywhere else.”

Haddox said he always knew how to draw, which is why he chose to major in art, but he double majored in language arts on a bit of a whim.

“Most of what I’ve done in life just happened,” he joked. “Not a lot of planning.”

Nonetheless, Haddox took those majors and ran with them, eventually obtaining a master’s degree from Marshall in vocational education, and certifications in gifted education, elementary education, a principal’s certification, and lastly, a certification in social work.

During his time at Marshall, Haddox taught a class as a graduate assistant on the personalities in West Virginia History, which later inspired the subjects of many of his paintings.

“We talked about the history of West Virginia, and the reasons why they came here,” Haddox said.

After graduating, Haddox worked in the Mason County school system. He started as a reading teacher before becoming a vice principal and principal. He then served as an attendance director overseeing attendance and social work.

“I did get to help a lot of kids,” Haddox said. “I was an advocate, and kids need an advocate more so today than ever.”

Haddox retired in 2000, but taught nights at Marshall’s Mid-Ohio Valley Center from 1999-2016. Once retired from education, Haddox turned his attention to a new passion.

“I didn’t really paint until I retired,” Haddox said. “I’d always done artwork. I did the logo for the Point Pleasant River Museum and other businesses. I did whatever people needed, and if I didn’t know how to do something I learned on the job.”

Haddox’s work, which can be found on his website, initially combined his love of history and art when he first began painting regularly. Many of his paintings feature historical figures in West Virginia history, including Mad Anne Bailey, Cornstalk, Simon Kenton and Chief Logan. Haddox has since branched out to feature landscapes and still life, as well as pet portraits and wildlife, affectionately called “Janimals.”

Haddox’s work has been exhibited at the Tamarack’s Fine Arts Gallery in Beckley, West Virginia, as well as the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington, the West Virginia Cultural Center and State Museum in Charleston, and outside the state in Columbus, Ohio, and Chillicothe, Ohio. Haddox also offered historical insight to Robert Griffin, who painted the mural along the floodwall in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Though his work stretches across many counties and cities in the Ohio River Valley and is considered in-demand by those around him, Haddox creates his artwork primarily for the good of the community.

“I do some commissions, but it’s mostly free,” Haddox said. “One of my favorite presents is just to give somebody artwork.”

In addition to Haddox’s well-known career as an educator and artist, he is also heavily engaged in different service projects and giving back to his community.

Haddox has served on the Mason County Public Library board, during which the library board built three new libraries, and he also served on the Mason County Development Authority board. The MCDA focuses on fostering new businesses and a strong economy in the Mason County region.

Perhaps Haddox’s biggest passion project of late is the Mason County Veterans Memorial. The Veterans Memorial will establish a permanent tribute honoring all Mason County, West Virginia, veterans from World War I to present day that have been honorably discharged, all those who currently serve, and those who will serve in the future. Haddox, who is a United States Army veteran and served during the Vietnam War, is the art consultant for the project.

Steve Halstead, president of the Veterans Memorial project, said Haddox is a true asset to their community.

“Jan was the first person I thought of for the project because of his art abilities and history awareness,” Halstead said. “He’s been a staple and is always involved in the community.”

The Veterans Memorial project began in February 2022 and is divided into two phases. The first phase will recognize Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients, including a bronze statue of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jimmy G. Stewart, a recipient and Mason County native who was killed in the Vietnam War. Phase one will also honor the fallen veterans from Mason County who were lost in battle from World War I to present day, as well as list the names of the POW-MIA, and the six branches of service. Phase two will honor all Mason County residents who served in the U.S. military and were honorably discharged.

Haddox and Halstead said they are pleased with the positive response they’ve received regarding the memorial.

“It’s a huge project,” Haddox said. “We’re shocked at how much support we’ve gotten from the community, it’s just super. That’s the kind of community we live in here.”

The committee broke ground on the project in November 2022, and is planning a dedication on Veterans Day 2023. The memorial will be located next to the Bridge of Honor in Mason. More information about the Mason County Veterans Memorial can be found at

On Sept. 6, six Marshall University staff members received quite the surprise, complete with balloons, visits from Marco and Ms. Marshall, and most of all, recognition for their years of generous contributions to the Marshall University Foundation.

The surprises were a part of the Marshall Foundation’s Thank A Donor Days, which took place Sept. 26-30, and celebrated the university’s various supporters from staff giving, scholarship endowments and friends and family members of students who helped them achieve their dreams.

Thank A Donor Days also celebrated the conclusion of the Marshall Rises campaign, the Marshall Foundation’s first comprehensive campaign, which raised $176 million for the university in six years.

“The Marshall Rises campaign has been tremendous. I think it helps with our national prestige, especially with our peers in comparison,” said Monica Brooks, dean of university libraries. “We’re a force to be reckoned with. We’ve elevated our academic standing, our athletic standing, and now we’re elevating our financial standing.”

While the decision to give to the Marshall Foundation varies slightly among each staff member, it is always rooted in student success.

Perry Chaffin and Bob Walker both work in Marshall’s finance department. Though, the similarities don’t end there. Both are from Kenova, West Virginia, and were both first-generation college students. While they are nearly 10 years apart in age, they even grew up on the same street. For both Chaffin and Walker, giving to Marshall was their way of saying “thank you” for the opportunities they received after earning their degrees.

“I felt that I should give to the Foundation because I had opportunities that others in my family did not,” said Chaffin, director of internal audit. “I was given this jumpstart, so I decided to give back. I felt really proud and fortunate that my parents would support me. My parents really valued an education, and said, ‘Hey, we want better for you.’ It was just a great situation, and that’s really what got me started giving.”

Walker found that giving to the Marshall Foundation allowed him to extend the same opportunities he had to students who might face disadvantages.

“I wanted to support the university because it supported me in getting the education I have, and to be where I am today,” said Walker, director of finance information. “I thought it’s best to support where you come from. I like to think I’m helping someone who may not have the same opportunity to get an education, which I feel is very important for everyone.”

Karen McComas and Mary Beth Reynolds know firsthand the importance of what a quality education can provide. Both work in the Office of Academic Affairs and are instrumental in crafting the university’s curriculum. McComas is the interim associate vice president for academic affairs and associate provost. Reynolds is the associate provost and associate vice president for assessment and quality initiatives.

“The most important part of a university is the students. Everything we do is in service of students,” Reynolds said. “When I first became a faculty member at Marshall, I felt like that was almost a sacred trust.”

Reynolds and her husband, Nick, decided to start contributing to the Marshall Foundation because of the impact the university has made in their lives and the lives of their children as members of the Huntington community.

For McComas, the decision to give was an important one, both professionally and personally.

“For me, Marshall is a family affair,” McComas said. “My father graduated from Marshall in 1945. I came here in 1973 as a freshman, and since then, with the exception of two years, I have either been enrolled or employed by the university. My entire adult life has been wrapped up in this place, so I feel really deeply committed to it.”

Because of the generosity and commitment of Marshall’s benefactors, the university has been able to make significant strides in the 21st century.

Patsy Stephenson, document librarian, has been with the university for 41 years. In that time, she has witnessed the dramatic changes across campus, particularly for the university’s libraries.

“I think the most inspiration has been the online learning and everything you can do with computers,” Stephenson said. “When I started here, we had a few computers and people had to stand in line to use them.”

But for Stephenson, it’s not just the changes you can see up close. It’s the incremental changes that build over a period of years or decades.

“I had graduated from here. My husband went to school here. We had our son and we knew that he would go here. It was a part of giving back,” Stephenson said. “When you are here for so long, you see what even just $1 can do. So, through the years, you want to give back and want to see everything grow.”

The Thrasher Group recently established the Thrasher Group Scholarship to support Marshall University students in the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

Recipients will be West Virginia residents who are in good academic standing with a 3.0 GPA or higher and have financial need, per the standards of the Office of Student Financial Assistance. The award is non-renewable with only one recipient a year.

“So many of our employees are West Virginia educated, and we are really proud of that. This is just another way for us to help feed that talent pipeline here at home,” said Jenny Weaver, human resources director at the Thrasher Group.

Thrasher Group officials say they are proud of its collaborative efforts with Marshall. In 2019, the group established the Phillip G. Simmons Scholarship, which was generously funded by Simmons’ friends and coworkers at the Thrasher Group. This scholarship benefits students from Braxton County High School in Braxton County, West Virginia, with preference to students who are incoming freshmen and studying in Marshall’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

“West Virginia is so special, and anyone who has ever spent time here understands what I mean by that,” “said Woody Thrasher, president and founder of the Thrasher Group. “I don’t just mean the natural beauty of our state, I mean the people. West Virginians are bright, they are innovative, and they are perseverant–some of the many reasons I feel so passionate about these scholarships with Marshall University,

The Marshall Foundation maximizes continuous financial support for Marshall University and its students by soliciting, receiving, investing and administering private gift support. The Marshall Foundation is committed to providing professional service to Marshall University, its students and donors.

The Thrasher Group is a full-service consulting firm that has served clients in West Virginia for nearly four decades. With offices in Bridgeport, Charleston, Beckley, Scott Depot, Martinsburg and beyond, Thrasher employs hundreds of professionals throughout West Virginia and the greater mid-Atlantic region. For more information, visit their website at

For information regarding the Thrasher Group Scholarship and the Phillip G. Simmons Scholarship, please contact Marshall University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance at 304-696-3162.

The Marshall University Foundation announced it received a $25,000 grant from Truist West Virginia Foundation to support need-based scholarships at Marshall University. 

“We are grateful for the long-standing partnership between the Marshall University Foundation and the Truist West Virginia Foundation,” said Dr. Ron Area, chief executive officer of the Marshall Foundation. “Increasing scholarship aid is a top priority for the university, and this grant will ease the financial burden for a number of students.” 

The grant will support scholarship recipients who are full- or part-time students who are residents of West Virginia and have need, as determined by the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Scholarship aid has increased by 44 percent over the last several years due to the Marshall Rises comprehensive campaign with 500 more students receiving aid annually.  

“We’re pleased to support the Marshall University Foundation,” said Jacqueline Keene, executive director for the Truist West Virginia Foundation. “Truist is committed to our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities, and we believe the Truist West Virginia Foundation contribution to Marshall University will help make a difference in the lives of many.” 

The Marshall Foundation maximizes continuous financial support for Marshall University and its students by soliciting, receiving, investing and administering private gift support. The Marshall Foundation is committed to providing professional service to Marshall University, its students and donors. 

Truist and Truist West Virginia Foundation’s relationship with Marshall pre-dates the merger of One Valley Bank and BB&T in 2001. Truist provided a 10-year commitment toward the establishment of what is now called the Truist Center for Leadership at the Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business. Truist West Virginia Foundation has a long-standing history of support towards Marshall University student scholarship grants. 

The Truist West Virginia Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Since 2000, the foundation and its predecessors have been making strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist West Virginia Foundation’s grants and activities focus on economic development, education, arts, health care, social services and financial literacy. Learn more by contacting Jacqueline Keene at 

In 1947, the Marshall University Foundation Inc. was chartered to receive, invest, administer and disburse private resources on behalf of Marshall University.

Ten years later, a well-respected lawyer and alumnus of the then Marshall College, Arthur B. Koontz, made a $20,000 donation to establish a scholarship, the largest donation of its kind to the college. The scholarship is still impacting students today.

Koontz was born at Kessler’s Cross Lanes in Nicholas County, West Virginia, January 29, 1885, one of 11 children. He attended school in Summersville before arriving at Marshall College in 1903.

Koontz’s grandson, George Ragland, said he doesn’t know how his grandfather found himself at Marshall. Ragland’s great-grandfather, John Koontz, was a farmer and stock raiser, but it is clear he valued higher education as all of his children went on to become successful educators, lawyers, doctors and political leaders.

After graduating from Marshall in 1907, Arthur Koontz was accepted at Yale University where he received his law degree. He began to practice law at Charleston in 1911, and appeared “in connection with important litigation in practically all the state courts,” according to a biography written by James Morton Callahan in History of West Virginia: Old and New; Volume 2.

In 1918 he was instrumental in the forming of the Union Trust Company of Charleston, which he served as vice president. It was with the stock in this company that he formed his endowment with Marshall.

Nominated by the democratic party as candidate for governor in 1920, “he made a most creditable campaign and won a flattering vote in the general republican landslide of that year,” according to Callahan.

Ragland described his grandfather like Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.

“He was erudite, but in an understated way; a bit pensive; serious, but not stern; and respected in all circles,” Ragland said. “When he was not at home, he generally wore a navy suit, a white shirt, a tie and a hat. He deferred to his wife, Mazie, in all domestic matters.

“When he returned home at the end of his workday, he would go into a small room (today we might call it a den), sit down in a chair right beside the radio, take off his very thick glasses, close his eyes and listen intently to the news. Everyone knew not to bother him on those occasions.”

He was a gracious man.

“When he and his wife went out to a restaurant for supper, after the meal, when it was time to leave, he would make a point of going to the restaurant’s kitchen and thanking the cooks for a delicious meal,” Ragland said. “I can’t remember a time when he didn’t do that.

“After church on Sunday, my family would often go directly to the Koontz home, and find Arthur and Mazie sitting side-by-side in their rocking chairs on the porch. When I got out of the car and within ear shot, he smiled a big smile, reached out his arms for me, and said, ‘Hello, Big Topper [his nickname for me]. Come up here and sit on my lap.’ That loving gesture made me feel like a million bucks!”

Koontz also impacted the direction Ragland took in life.

“When I was a senior in college, Arthur (I called him ‘Granddaddy’) asked me what I was going to do after graduation,” he said. “When I told him I had no specific plans, he said, ‘A legal education never hurt anyone.’ That casual comment gave me some much-needed direction. So, I enrolled in the Washington & Lee School of Law, had a wonderful experience there, and eventually ended up becoming a partner in the largest law firm in North Carolina, where I worked until retirement. Had Arthur not given me that encouragement and support, who knows what I would have done with myself?”

Koontz continues to impact the lives of college students. His scholarship has been awarded nearly every year since it was established, including this year.

Koontz died of a heart attack in 1968. Ragland said his grandfather, due to the age difference, did not have much impact on his ideas toward philanthropy, and his parents, children of the Great Depression, placed more emphasis on saving.

“Personally, however, I believe in giving to those organizations that benefitted me,” he said. “I began making annual gifts to my law school soon after graduating.”

Ragland said he believes his grandfather and great-grandfather would tell current Marshall students to take the opportunity to broaden their minds, would say something like:

“There are many things you could be doing with your life right now. Of all those options, you have chosen to be a student at Marshall University. As such, you have the opportunity to learn about lots of different subjects, to increase your understanding of the past and the present, to interact with students from dissimilar backgrounds and, in general, to broaden your mind. Take advantage of this opportunity. Apply yourself. Do your best. You will never regret it. We wish you well.”

During his tenure as president of Marshall University, Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert made it a priority to increase scholarship aid for the student body in the face of rising education costs, and thanks to the Marshall Rises campaign, scholarship aid has increased 44 percent over the last five years with 500 more students receiving aid annually.

Part of the increase has been thanks to the hard work by the university’s Office of Student Financial Assistance, which launched a brand-new way for students to apply for private scholarships through an online portal. Launched in January of 2020, the portal reduces the amount of time it takes both students and staff to find and apply for applicable scholarships.

“We were trying to find scholarships for students by looking at each individual guidelines for each scholarship,” said Tara Hensley, senior financial aid counselor. “And then we didn’t really have something set up to where we could view a GPA or ACT score or the major they’re in or anything like that. We just had to search. It was countless hours.”

Financial aid staff said before the portal, there were upwards of 400 private scholarships that each required an application. Students could search most of the scholarships online at the financial aid site and college and department staff would work to pair students with appropriate scholarships, but awarding all available funding was still too big a task for the financial aid office.

“There were hundreds of applicants and applications that would come through,” said Cody Call, associate director of operations. “The paper was so much. We would open them all and there were some that were 20 per student. That would all get scanned in and filed away. It was a big pain. Then you’d have to review those, try to match up the scholarship and look at all the information manually. Now, the portal does all of that automatically for us. One word to describe the portal was just efficiency for our office.”

Students now fill out one application and are automatically matched with the scholarships out of 1,000-plus they qualify for.

“There are about 20 different departments, colleges and financial aid that utilize the scholarship portal now,” said Nathan Miller, applications programmer in enrollment services and builder of the portal.

The portal is a great resource for incoming students, who can see all the potential funding they can receive, and it’s great for retaining students by potentially providing them with funding all four years. It also helps the university catch students who may have fallen through the cracks before, like first generation students.

“Students and families need to know their financial outlook and the uncertainty of their futures has a negative impact on enrollment,” said Dr. Beverly Boggs, director of Financial Aid and Assistant Vice President of Enrollment. “I don’t know anyone who would be willing to make a large financial commitment without knowing if they can meet it. Having a balance due weighs heavily on the minds of our students; so much so that focusing on learning is secondary. Grades suffer, motivation suffers, and self-esteem suffers.”

Boggs said she has worked at several institutions that don’t have the donor support Marshall has, nor do they have portals as robust as Marshall’s.

“It makes a huge difference when trying to help students reach their educational goals,” she said. “It is so disheartening when a talented and promising student gives up on their education because there are no resources available to help them and financially they just can’t make ends meet. Sometimes it can be just a small amount of money that keeps them enrolled and engaged. Marshall is extremely fortunate to have loyal donors who know this.”

The portal ensures that robust support reaches the hands of the many deserving students.

“It’s an efficient way to spend the donors’ money,” said Jean Ann Bevans, associate director of customer service.

The portal has led to an increase in the number of students applying for scholarships, with over 1,100 students applying last year.

“That’s not even the supplemental applications, which was also a big increase from previous years where we may have been hurting to find students to award these things to,” Miller said. “Now we’re having to be more selective of who we award to because of the criteria, which is great. We’re using the donors’ money as they intended it to be used.”

Miller said the portal is helping colleges utilize their scholarship funding to the best of their ability.

“The portal has created ease of access for our future and current business students to apply for scholarships,” said Jeffrey Archambault, interim dean of the Lewis College of Business. “Keeping students the focus of all that we do is our first priority. We cannot reach the ambitious goals we have set as the Lewis College of Business, and our students from the Brad D. Smith Schools of Business cannot achieve the ambitious goals they set, without a robust and competitive scholarship portfolio. Scholarships are a great equalizer—they help business students realize their potential and help Marshall recruit and retain them.”

The Office of Financial Aid takes every opportunity to teach students about the portal, as does the Marshall University Foundation. From incoming student tours to orientation and beyond, financial aid counselors love to connect students with funding.

“That’s why I’m so passionate,” Miller said. “I did not have any idea until my last semester of college that I could come to the financial aid office and ask for a scholarship. I went through school with student loans. So, we have fixed that for other students so that they know that they can get scholarship money. They may not be awarded it, but they’re going to know about it. They’re going to know there are opportunities out there.”

Dr. Asad Salem and his wife, Ghada Hamad, have recently established the Zaynab Salem Scholarship, named for their daughter, to support first-generation college students studying mechanical engineering at Marshall University’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

The couple had also established the Ebraheem Salem Engineering Scholarship in 2021 in memory of their son, who was Zaynab Salem’s twin brother.

Zaynab Salem earned her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Marshall in 2018. From there, she received her J.D. from Duke University, graduating in 2021. She is an associate practicing patent law at a global law firm in Austin, Texas. Asad Salem said her background in mechanical engineering prepared her for a career in an area of law that is increasing in necessity.

Hamad is also an engineer, but she decided to go into education, and she is a high school math teacher at Huntington High School.

“We established this scholarship because my wife and I want to support women in STEM fields,” Asad Salem said. “Ghada and I both work to encourage and support female high school and college students who choose to pursue STEM to make these fields less male dominated.”

Asad Salem joined Marshall in 2013 as the chair of the Weisberg Division of Engineering. Under his leadership six engineering programs were established including mechanical, biomedical and electrical/computer. Although enrollment in these programs has significantly increased, he said the enrollment of women in these programs is lower than the national average. The couple wants to help change that by providing support for women who choose these fields.

“When I came to Marshall, Marshall was very nice to us, very supportive. This is about giving back to the community and encouraging people to go into engineering,” Asad Salem said.

Recipients of the Zaynab Salem Scholarship must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. The Ebraheem Salem Engineering Scholarship is awarded to full-time students who are engineering majors in the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences. Recipients of both scholarships must be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need, per Marshall’s Office of Financial Assistance.

For information regarding the Zaynab Salem Scholarship and the Ebraheem Salem Engineering Scholarship, please contact Marshall University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance by phone at 304-696-3162. For information about planned giving, please contact the Marshall University Foundation at 304-696-6264.