WEST VIRGINIA (LOOTPRESS) – The future of supply chain education has arrived at West Virginia University, thanks to a $1.6 million gift supporting the growth and acceleration of the Global Supply Chain Management program in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics. This gift was made in memory of Henry B. Wehrle Jr., former chairman and CEO of McJunkin Corp.
Positioning future Mountaineers on the cutting edge of supply chain management through experiential learning and career-ready skill development, this gift comprises commitments from the H.B. Wehrle Foundation; H. Bernard “Bernie” Wehrle, III; his wife, Cecilia; Stephen and Laura Wehrle; and E. Gaines and Annie Wehrle.
“The Wehrle family has been a key driver of the success of our Global Supply Chain Management Program,” said Javier Reyes, Milan Puskar Dean of the Chambers College. “Their latest gift will allow it to grow and accelerate to position our students to stand out in a competitive job market with Fortune 500 companies on the other side of COVID-19.”
The student-centered gift will enable GSCM majors to engage in experiential learning – cultivating in students a global perspective through study abroad and giving the program bandwidth to grow with the addition of a faculty position.
It will also fund an innovative global supply chain lab in Reynolds Hall, the new hub for business education on the WVU campus and the Morgantown waterfront that will open in 2022. In addition to the lab space, it will support the necessary equipment and a director to oversee its activities.
“We are pleased with the progress of the Global Supply Chain Management program and happy to support its continued growth,” said Bernie Wehrle, whose 2013 gift initiated the original global supply chain program.
The donation is a continuation of the Wehrle family’s vision to create a leading Global Supply Chain Management program at WVU. Their initial $1 million gift kick-started the program and brought John Saldanha, Sears Chair in Global Supply Chain Management, to WVU in 2014.
Since that time, the program has grown from 14 students in an area of emphasis to 150 students in a major, with an 80 percent placement rate six months after they graduate. The combined forces of Saldanha and Professor and Program Coordinator Ednilson Bernardes, a renowned expert in process transformation and supply chain innovation, has been instrumental to the program’s growth and success.
“This gift allows us to expand our efforts, bring more minds to the game and change the way we approach things – and do it much faster,” Saldanha said.
One of the students who thrived in the program is Michala Luck, a May 2020 graduate who started a job as a process lead with the Hershey Company only a few weeks after graduation, a position she accepted among a robust pool of 14 job offers.
“The Wehrle family’s investment in our program will position students to visualize problems and program them in virtual reality,” said Luck. “They will be able to understand the inner workings of processing and logistics. It will add tremendous value to the program and will prepare our students for the future of supply chain management.”
The gift from the Wehrle family was made through the WVU Foundation, the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of the University.
Reynolds Hall is a result of the vision and generosity of Bob and Laura Reynolds and will open in 2022. Learn more about the campaign at buildingbeyond.wvu.edu.