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L&S Toyota donates more than $100k in scholarships for WVU Tech students in Beckley

Shawn Ball of L&S Toyota presents check to President Gee and Long

On Tuesday, August 23, representatives from WVU Tech, West Virginia University and L&S Toyota met on the grounds of the L&S dealership in Beckley, West Virginia.

The event brought together Shawn Ball, owner and general manager of L&S, WVU president Gordon Gee and WVU Tech campus president Carolyn Long. The trio exchanged a check to acknowledge and celebrate financial contributions from the Ball family totaling $110,000 in scholarship funds for resident students earning their degrees at WVU Tech on the Beckley campus.

In 2015, the Ball family donated $50,000 to establish two endowed scholarships for both WVU Tech engineering and nursing students in Beckley. This academic year, the Ball family has contributed an additional $50,000 to those endowments, plus $10,000 for general scholarship funds for West Virginia students.

“We want to be supportive of WVU Tech coming to Beckley. That’s the biggest thing,” said Ball.

“It’s a very, very important thing for this town. We need it. We’ve had a decline in coal jobs. We’ve had a decline in jobs period. It’s important right now that we have something that we can rely on. We’re going to be creating a workforce. Hopefully, we’re going to have businesses follow, and so West Virginia University coming in is huge.”

Tuesday’s check presentation recognized the sum of L&S’s investments in the students of WVU Tech in Beckley. Gee said the investment marked the beginning of an era of new and longstanding relationships between the WVU system and the businesses and industries of the region.

“I believe that our opportunity to come to Beckley and have a wonderful campus here will be one of the most transformative activities undertaken by the University in the state forever,” said President Gee.

“This helps us – it does more than help us – but the spirit of this family is what really helps us. He didn’t have to do this. He did this because he believes in his community,” he said.

For Long, the day’s activities were an extension of the warm welcome WVU Tech has experienced in Beckley. She said the contributions to the students in the region would have a far-reaching impact.

“I can’t begin to say how much we appreciate them for what they’re doing and the difference they will make in a student’s life. When we make a difference for a student in a positive manner, we make a difference in the town of Beckley, in the state of West Virginia and in our country,” she said.

During the event, Ball announced the winners of L&S Toyota’s recent Facebook student essay challenge, where the company asked college students from the region to write about their plans to better the communities where they live and work. Students Logan Crowe and Jonathan Duesing took third and second place, respectively, taking home monetary prizes for their work.

WVU nursing student Jessie Kuhn was selected as the winner of the challenge. The Beckley area native was awarded a 2016 Toyota Yaris subcompact, valued at $18,000. Kuhn said that the vehicle will help her travel to complete her nursing clinicals and visit home more often.

Ball also announced the presentation of $20,000 to the United Way of Southern West Virginia. The donation includes a $10,000 donation from L&S and an additional $10,000 through Toyota’s dealer match program.

For more information or to contribute to WVU Tech scholarships, contact Susan Shew, Development Director at WVU Tech, at tech-development@mail.wvu.edu or 304.442.1078.

Check out photos from the L&S event on Flickr. Read local coverage from WVVAWVNS and The Register-Herald.