Celebrating Their Life Together
By Jade Ruggieri, WVUF Communications Intern
As a tribute to her late husband, WVU alumna Linda Jacknowitz is celebrating their shared passions through gifts in her estate to three places the couple loved: the Art Museum of WVU, the WVU School of Pharmacy, and WVU Libraries’ West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection held at the West Virginia & Regional History Center.
“Art and I shared the belief that education can be transformational,” Linda said. “We believed in the power of education, experience, and providing opportunities for people to expand their universe.”
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Linda’s parents often took her to the Brooklyn Museum, which instilled in her a passion for the arts and an appreciation for education. This buoyed her through multiple degree programs. After attending Brooklyn College for her bachelor’s degree in English, Linda earned a master’s degree in Information and Library Science at the University of Buffalo, then a second master’s degree in Public Administration from WVU.
Linda’s lifelong passion for education has been manifested through several roles in her career, including at the National Library of Medicine, West Virginia CONSULT, which serves rural health professionals, and Mountains of Hope, West Virginia’s statewide comprehensive cancer coalition.
Married for over 50 years to fellow Brooklyn native Dr. Art Jacknowitz, she and her husband found their “almost heaven” in each other and in the state of West Virginia. Art served as chair of the WVU School of Pharmacy’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy for almost 16 years and was an academic advisor to over 260 pre-pharmacy and pharmacy honors students.
He received many honors during his lifetime, including induction into the WVU Health Sciences Center Academy of Excellence in Teaching and Learning, the Heebink Award for Outstanding State Service, and WVU’s Most Loyal Faculty Mountaineer. After retiring, Art happily served as a docent for the Art Museum of WVU, as he always knew he wanted to provide cultural resources to his community.
“We embraced West Virginia, and West Virginia hugged us right back,” Linda said. “West Virginia changed us. We saw young people truly blossom and become even greater because they were exposed to intellectual, cultural, and emotional experiences that the University offered.”
Linda’s passion for education continues today. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for WVU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which provides educational opportunities for adults 50 and over. When asked why she chose to include gifts to WVU in her will, she said the gifts reflect how important it is to support what you love.
“I have been very influenced in my life by the role models of philanthropy that I have seen through the years, and I learned from them how important it is to give back,” Linda said. “I’m excited to give students and the public interesting opportunities to experience the Art Museum through the support of a graduate assistant position. With the School of Pharmacy, I think supporting students’ ability to meet the different challenges in their lives will allow them to be better students and graduate to help the community. And the library endowment will help recognize and acknowledge the important contributions that West Virginia’s feminist activists have made in the past and are making now, and encourage women to be activists in their own lives.”
All of us have a place at WVU that is meaningful. Like Linda, you can pair your philanthropy with the program or area you love the most. Contact Matthew Clark at 304-284-4033 or firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation.