Schoolnic Gift Creates $2.55 Million Additional Scholarship Funds for FSU Students

Monday, January 30, 2017

A $2.55 million gift, the largest in Fairmont State University history, will support scholarships for FSU students through the Elva V. Schoolnic Trust, according to Gary K. Bennett, Trustee. 

“Fairmont State University continues to meet students’ need for financial aid and to provide a unique learning environment close to home in North Central West Virginia,” said FSU President Maria Rose. “Gifts like this one truly make a difference in the lives of our students and help foster student success. We are grateful to the Schoolnic family for their investment in our students and the future of our great state.”

The gift will create additional scholarships for students in the FSU School of Business and general scholarships available to all FSU students.

 Elva V. Schoolnic passed away on Nov. 11, 2008. The daughter of the late George T. and Bertha Kennedy Snyder, she was born on April 17, 1912. She was a graduate of Blacksville High School and West Virginia Business College. During her career, she worked as the office manager for Household Finance in Fairmont and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Fairmont.

“Louis and Elva Schoolnic became my friends in 1971 while I was still a student at Fairmont State” said Gary K. Bennett, Past Chair of the Fairmont State Foundation Board of Directors. “They both knew the importance of education and this planned gift is their way of supporting students into the future. It is my pleasure to present this transformational gift to the Foundation on behalf of the Schoolnic family.”

Elva’s husband, Louis Schoolnic, was a prominent Fairmont attorney. A 1929 graduate of Fairmont State Normal School (now FSU), he was a member of Tau Beta Iota fraternity. Louis Schoolnic also was a charter member and board member of the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. After his death in 1987, the Louis Schoolnic Scholarship Fund was established at FSU to support students in the School of Business by Gary K. & Barbara D. Bennett, and this gift will be an addition to that endowment.

Louis Schoolnic was a mentor to Dr. Gregory T. Hinton, now a Senior Professor of Business Law at FSU.

“In 1981, Mr. Schoolnic gave me the ‘passport’ to people who could and would help me with my legal practice when the need of their services arose. What he gave me was more valuable than money, and there was no other single person, lawyer or otherwise, who could have given me such valuable assets,” Hinton said. “He always took time from his busy schedule to help with a complex issue and would help in choosing between competing issues. I greatly admired and appreciated Louis Schoolnic. When he passed, Marion County lost its greatest gentleman attorney of all times, and I lost a mentor and friend.”

The Fairmont State Foundation offered thanks to the Schoolnic family for its generosity.

“Fairmont State is forever grateful for the Schoolnic family and their transformational gift in support of student scholarships. This endowment truly has the power to change lives through education,” said RJ Gimbl, President and CEO of the Fairmont State Foundation.

“The incredible foresight and generosity of Louis and Elva Schoolnic in creating the original trust will tremendously impact the students of Fairmont State University in perpetuity. The earnings from this endowment will provide the much needed financial assistance to students, thus allowing them to earn their degrees and continue their life’s journey. Further, we applaud the astute management of the trust over the years by Mr. Gary K. Bennett—a true benefactor in so many ways for Fairmont State University,” said Craig Walker, Chair of the Fairmont State Foundation Board of Directors.

The mission of the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., is to support, through ethical stewardship, the mission of Fairmont State University. The Foundation will identify, establish and cultivate meaningful relationships with FSU alumni, as well as potentials and existing funding constituencies to meet contributor needs while securing funds and supporters for priority objectives identified by the FSU Board of Governors. For more information, visit