Dennis Xander knew that West Virginia Wesleyan College had put a lot of its graduates in the oil and gas industry, but he was amazed to discover just how high a level those graduates had obtained.
Xander, a 1975 graduate of the college and the president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia, said that about 10 percent of the organization's past presidents have graduated from Wesleyan.
IOGA continued its relationship with the college on Tuesday by donating $10,000 to help establish the IOGA School of Business Lounge. The donation increases the amount the association has donated to the college to nearly $38,000 in the past three years. IOGA has also contributed more than $27,000 to support the Reemsnyder Research Center on the Buckhannon campus. IOGA has also contributed $5,000 to the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts.
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
The Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia continued its long-standing relationship with West Virginia Wesleyan College by donating $10,000 Tuesday to help establish the IOGA School of Business Lounge. From left are Wesleyan’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Larry Parsons, IOGA Director Don Nestor, IOGA President Dennis Xander, Wesleyan Masters of Business Administration student Morganne Bennett, IOGA past president John Haskins and Wesleyan’s Vice President for Administration and Finance Dr. Barry Pritts.
"This is not the end of our relationship with Wesleyan," Xander said. "IOGA is proud to represent an industry with a long history of generous financial support to communities throughout West Virginia. When the industry is successful, it always shares that success. We hope to be supporting Wesleyan for decades to come."
IOGA is West Virginia's largest oil and gas association with about 700 company members. The organization works to promote the state's oil and gas industry and to educate the public about the economic benefits, environmental and safety issues associated with its operations.
"We are grateful to IOGA and its members for continuing to support Wesleyan and the new School of Business Lounge," Wesleyan's Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Larry Parsons said. "From IOGA's donations, Wesleyan's business students and faculty have a space for group projects and informal meetings. IOGA has certainly been an exceptional friend and partner to Wesleyan."
Xander said the recent growth of the industry in the state has created job opportunities, and it is his hope that students who want to remain in West Virginia have the opportunity to do so.
"We need quality employees, and we need educated people," he said. "Wesleyan does an amazing job at that."
Wesleyan and IOGA will join together in July to present the Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy in conjunction with the annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Equipment Show. Forty teachers and 80 students will be invited to the campus July 9-10 to learn about the industry and the opportunities it offers.
"This is going to be their future for jobs," Xander said. "We want to provide those jobs."
The event is in memory of Dunn, a long-time industry leader, Buckhannon resident and 1964 graduate of Wesleyan. He is also a former trustee of the college.