Marshall and West Virginia Universities Build Endowment Fund With $500,000 Grant from Verizon West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - With a $500,000 grant from Verizon West Virginia, Marshall University and West Virginia University are one step closer to raising the necessary funds to hire faculty to conduct scientific research that would be used to strengthen West Virginia's economy by attracting new businesses to the state.

Marshall and WVU, two of the state's research universities, created endowments that will be matched with state funds.  Through the schools' "Bucks for Brains" programs, newly hired faculty will also find ways to patent, license and commercialize products that result from their research.  The ultimate goal is for West Virginians to reap financial benefits from industries this investment creates - from bioscience to health care to manufacturing to technology.

"Verizon has been a leading proponent of economic development in West Virginia for decades," said B. Keith Fulton, president of Verizon West Virginia.  "Technology will play an important role in our state's continued growth and future success.  Our goal in supporting this program is to improve the communities we serve and live in by helping to create new, technology-based jobs right here at home." 

According to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, studies show that regions populated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals have more intellectual property creation, higher wages, positive health care statistics, and more new business startups and jobs.  In areas like North Carolina, where colleges and universities receive federal and state funding to attract the right people who can get grants and conduct research, the effort has generated billions of dollars into the state, although it can take time.

Through "Bucks for Brains," Marshall and WVU can compete on an international level for up-and-coming scientists.  Both schools have already developed plans for their respective shares of the funds, which they can start to receive by the first part of this year through 2010. 

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 80 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 224,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.