WVU Libraries' West Virginia &Regional History Center is the beneficiary of a $1.4 million estate gift from an alumna and former faculty member. (WVU Photo)

$1.4M estate gift to benefit West Virginia & Regional History Center

History buffs statewide will benefit from a $1.4 million estate gift from a late West Virginia University professor to support the West Virginia & Regional History Center at WVU Libraries.

Professor Emerita Betty Lou Ramsey of Belington passed away July 19, 2014. Her recently completed trust gift supports a namesake fund she and her late sister, Effie Lucille Ramsey, established prior to their deaths to support WVU Libraries. The fund helps to collect, preserve and provide public access to library materials that honor the history and culture of West Virginia and the central Appalachian region.

Housed at WVU’s Downtown Campus Library, the West Virginia & Regional History Center is the foremost historical archive in the Mountain State. Its vast holdings include manuscripts, photographs, newspapers, artifacts and genealogy resources – all accessible to the general public at no charge, during designated hours.

“Betty Lou was passionate about the arts and history and extremely proud of her West Virginia heritage. She was keenly interested in the WVRHC and its mission and served on the WVU Libraries’ Visiting Committee both as a leading advocate for the Center and contributor,” Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz said.

Ramsey earned her bachelor’s degree from WVU in 1951 and returned to her alma mater as an instructor in 1956, after gaining valuable experience in education and the craft industry. In the 1960s, she founded WVU’s interior design program and eventually rose to the rank of full professor before retiring early in 1985. She received numerous honors during her 34-year career, including several Outstanding Teacher awards.

Ramsey became a student of history later in life, tracing her Scottish ancestry to the early beginnings of Monongalia County in 1769. She was also a member of the James Barbour Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Clan Ramsey Association of North America.

Ramsey’s trust gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University. She belonged to the Foundation’s Irvin Stewart Society, an honorary for WVU supporters who make a planned gift to the University.

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