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Full-ride scholarships at College of Applied Human Sciences, Chambers College aim to keep students in state

The Hayhurst family is renewing its commitment to keep West Virginia students in the Mountain State with three gifts to support full-ride scholarships at West Virginia University's John Chambers College of Business and Economics and the new College of Applied Human Sciences.

The family’s latest contributions – totaling $873,000 – support one new and two existing scholarships established to honor brothers Robert, Robin and Ronald Hayhurst and their shared passion for WVU.

Two scholarships benefit students majoring in sport management, a program that moves to the College of Applied Human Sciences in July. Jack Watson, dean of the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, noted that the Hayhurst scholarships will be among the first to cover the full cost of tuition at the new School of Sport Sciences within the College of Applied Human Sciences.

“These are family gifts from people who care deeply about having an impact in their community,” Watson said. “It’s a family mission. That’s the neat part of this. They’ve developed these family roots, and they’re really committed to West Virginia. They want to educate West Virginians, so they can stay here to live and work.”

The Robert Hayhurst Semper Fi Scholarship will be awarded to in-state undergraduate students who are military veterans. U.S. Marine Corps veteran students majoring in sport management will be considered first, followed by military veterans from other branches, and then students pursuing other majors within the College of Applied Human Sciences.

The Robin L. Hayhurst Sport Management Scholarship goes to in-state undergraduate students enrolled in the sport management program, with first preference to graduates of Buckhannon-Upshur and Hundred high schools. Recipients must be involved with and demonstrate a commitment to community youth sports organizations.

The Ronald Hayhurst Endowed Business Scholarship goes to in-state undergraduate students enrolled in any program at the Chambers College, with first preference to graduates of Buckhannon-Upshur and Hundred high schools and second preference to students from Wetzel County.

“The continued generosity from the Hayhurst family will incentivize business students who have been raised in West Virginia to stay in West Virginia,” said Josh Hall, Milan Puskar Dean of the Chambers College. “Our state’s rising talent will have a creative lab in Reynolds Hall where they can gain real-world business skills, and gifts like this will encourage them to use those skills to propel our existing businesses into the future or have the confidence to take a risk and start their own. That’s our innovation mission at work.

All three Hayhurst brothers graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School and earned bachelor’s degrees from WVU. Ronald and Robin worked with their late parents, Morris and Beulah Hayhurst, to build successful businesses in the oil and gas industry, while Robert served in the United States Marine Corps and worked for the federal government in Washington, D.C. Robert and Robin passed away in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Robert’s daughter, Christine Davis, marks the third generation to lead the family enterprise. She said the family sought to make an even greater impact in the Mountain State by boosting the new and existing scholarship funds to cover the full cost of tuition.

“My father didn’t want to join the family business, so he was forced to leave West Virginia to find a decent job,” Davis said. “That was my grandmother’s biggest regret, and that’s why our family is dedicated to creating opportunities for West Virginians through education. We want to ensure that no one has to leave the state to achieve their dreams.”

Ronald Hayhurst initiated the family’s philanthropic endeavors and inspired other relatives to carry on that tradition. Their generosity has benefited facilities and scholarships in many WVU units, including Extension and Athletics.

The Hayhurst family gifts were made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.

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