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» Philanthropy


CONTACT: Amy Johns, HSC News Service


Michael Fragale, Sports Communications

(Editors: A photo of Chris Cline is available for download here.)

WVU academics, athletics receive $5 million gift from Cline Family FoundationMORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s School of Medicine and Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will both benefit from a $5 million gift from the Cline Family Foundation.

Two million dollars will be used to create an endowed chair in orthopaedic surgery while $3 million is earmarked for the new basketball practice facility.

The Cline Family Foundation was established by Christopher Cline, a southern West Virginia native and highly successful coal operator.

“Chris Cline is a true West Virginian who has never forgotten his roots,” said WVU President Jim Clements. “His generosity to WVU will be felt for years to come, especially as we continue to pursue first-class national-caliber academic, health care and athletic facilities and programs. I join the WVU community in expressing deep appreciation for this wonderful gift.”

The endowment creates the Christopher Cline Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery, and will qualify for matching funds from the state Research Trust Fund, making the total benefit to WVU $4 million.

Mr. Cline decided to establish the endowed chair after developing a close relationship with Joseph Prudhomme, M.D., a faculty member in WVU’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Prudhomme will serve as the first chair holder under the new endowment.

“Chris Cline’s gift will enable Dr. Prudhomme and the Department of Orthopaedics to develop and sustain a comprehensive program of biological, transitional, and clinical science in the discipline of orthopedic surgery,” Chancellor for Health Sciences Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., said. “Gifts like these are transformational.”

School of Medicine Dean Arthur Ross, M.D., thanked the Cline family for its generous gift and said he expects it to have a great impact on research productivity.  “We are intent upon discovering knowledge which will help us to improve the health and wellness of West Virginians, many of whom suffer from musculoskeletal disease,” Ross said.

The basketball practice facility, on the Evansdale campus adjacent to the Coliseum, is being paid for with private contributions. It will feature two separate gym areas for the men’s and women’s teams, a weight training center, meeting space for each program, an athletic training room and a basketball hall of traditions. The 64,000-square foot facility is expected to be completed later this year.

“The Cline Family Foundation gift for our new basketball practice facility is helping us reach our vision of providing WVU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams with a first-class home on a daily basis,” said WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck. “Our goal is to win championships and this practice facility will help us take a giant step up in all facets of the college basketball world. We are very thankful for Chris Cline’s generous support through the Cline Family Foundation and their help in building champions at West Virginia University.”

WVU men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins added, “We’re elated with the Cline Family Foundation’s gift to the Mountaineer basketball practice facility. Chris Cline fully understands this building is a need, not a want, for the continued growth of WVU basketball. This facility will be the best in the country and would have never been possible without the Cline Family Foundation’s generous contribution.”

Cline said, “I have been fortunate to have lived and employed people in West Virginia and I owe the state of West Virginia and its people much for my success. I wanted to give something back that will be beneficial to the people of the State.”

Cline grew up in West Virginia as part of a coal mining family. In 1980, he went into business moving from mining small reserves in West Virginia to buying up and mining large coal reserves, mostly in southern Illinois. Today, he is the principal owner of Foresight Energy, LLC, a private mining company. While residing much of the year in Florida, Chris Cline also maintains a home in Beckley.

WVU Foundation President and CEO Wayne King said, “The generosity of Chris Cline and the Cline Family Foundation is greatly appreciated. This gift, benefiting both academics and athletics, will have a lasting impact on students both in and out of the classroom for many years to come.”

In 2008, the state created the Research Trust Fund with an initial appropriation of $50 million ($35 million for WVU, $15 million for Marshall) to leverage public and private investments that will transform West Virginia’s economy. WVU is able to tap into the fund to double private gifts that support expansions to research faculty and infrastructure in key areas linked to economic development, health care and job growth.  To date, private gifts and pledges approved for RTF match total more than $16.7 million.

The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.



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