A Gift They'll Never Forget

Sharon and Kenneth Murray

Sharon and Kenneth Murray immediately after receiving the news their sons had established a scholarship at the WVU Foundation in their honor.

In December 2000, Todd Murray saw a West Virginia University Foundation publication about creating scholarships and thought it would be a great retirement gift for his parents. Todd, who was 33 at the time, talked to his brothers Grant and Scott, then 32 and 29, respectively. Together they decided to fund a scholarship in honor of their parents.

Todd got the ball rolling by visiting the WVU Foundation to do the appropriate paperwork. Once complete, the endowment agreement establishing the C. Kenneth and Sharon Murray Endowed Scholarship was framed and wrapped as a Christmas gift. The photo shows Sharon and Ken immediately after receiving the gift. They were overwhelmed with emotion.

"I cried, and that's why my nose is so red in the picture," Sharon says. "Especially with the boys still being on shoestring budgets, it meant so much to both of us."

Scott borrowed money from his brothers and paid them back monthly so they could fund the entire endowment. Each year the sons give their parents a trip to Canaan Valley State Park, as well as individual Christmas cards noting the additional donation each has made to the scholarship fund, which is awarded based on financial need and now tops $36,000.

The family has strong ties to WVU. "When we came to Morgantown in 1968, WVU quickly became an integral part of our family life," Sharon says. "It was not only a place for both of us to work but also a place for us to raise our sons, two of whom are WVU graduates."

Grant graduated from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and Todd from the Reed College of Media. Scott pursued a degree in architecture out of state.

Moreover, Ken and Sharon both taught at the University for over 37 years—Ken in the social studies education program in the College of Education and Human Resources, and Sharon in the School of Nursing and later as a Diabetes Nurse Educator in the Department of Family Medicine. Both say WVU is a big part of their lives.

"We have always enjoyed supporting the Mountaineers in various athletic events," Sharon says, "as well as taking advantage of many of the cultural events that the WVU community has had to offer over the years."

The best thing about the scholarship—Ken and Sharon get to experience this gift over and over as they see the fruits of their sons' generosity reflected in the heartfelt letters written by students.

"The letters of gratitude we receive from scholarship recipients clearly spell out the impact that our sons have made on deserving students with the establishment of the scholarship," Sharon says. "We are extremely proud of them and the scholarship that honors us at WVU."

You can create an endowed scholarship at WVU, or simply support our educational mission with a gift through your estate. Please contact Matthew Clark at 304-284-4033 or plannedgiving@wvuf.org to learn more.