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Dr. Bonnie Dean Memorial Scholarship

The Bonnie Dean Memorial Scholarship commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. Bonnie Dean, whom many described as the heart of the WVSU Department of Biology. In keeping with Dr. Dean’s passion for preparing students to enter health care fields, the Bonnie Dean Memorial Scholarship will be awarded each year to a nursing student and to a biology student planning to enter a health care field. Thanks to the generosity of two former colleagues of Dr. Dean, $10,000 in matching challenge money is available to help this scholarship reach its goal of $50,000.

Dr. Bonnie Dean was appointed assistant professor of biology at West Virginia State College in 1976. As a young faculty member she founded the Delta Nu Alpha Beta Club and served on numerous committees and councils. Dr. Dean played an important role in the development of WVSU’s first general education program, collaborating with faculty from other disciplines to secure a Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) grant in 1986 and to launch the general education program in 1987.

Dr. Dean served as chair of the Department of Biology from 1989 until 2005, leading the department from a small, bachelor’s degree-granting liberal program into the current research-oriented master's degree-granting program. She recruited faculty members with active research programs that included undergraduates, because she believed students learn science by doing science. Under her leadership, the number of biology majors grew from 98 in 1989 to nearly 300 students in 2002.

In the mid-nineties, when State was regaining its land-grant status, Dr. Dean worked to integrate biology faculty research into the newly-created land-grant research programs. Her work at this time led to and student exchange program with the University of Exeter, which resulted in two West Virginia State graduates receiving PhDs from the University of Exeter. She was a member of the Land Grant Consortium Steering Committee, and was involved in bringing anaerobic digester technology to the campus of West Virginia State.

Dr. Dean served as the advisor to hundreds of pre-nursing students. The attention and care she paid to her students resulted in the growth of the program to nearly 300 student advisees in the mid-2000s. She developed a close relationship the nursing faculty at WVU Institute of Technology (Tech), and was named to WVU Tech's School of Nursing Advisory Committee and Nursing Selection Committee.

On March 23, 2012, while traveling with a team of faculty members and administrators to the Texas Southern University in Houston on a fact-finding trip in fulfillment of an NSF grant award, Dr. Dean suffered a stroke and passed away. The WVSU community paid tribute to Dr. Dean at a memorial service April 27, 2012, in Hamblin Hall Auditorium.

Dr. Bonnie Dean Memorial Scholarship Matching Challange
Gifts for the Dr. Bonnie Dean Memorial Scholarship will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000.
Decades Challenge
Compete with other alumni to see which decade raises the most money for WVSU Day of Giving!
What year did you graduate?
Rank Answer Amount
1 1980-1989 $65,394.83
2 1990-1999 $6,894.93
3 1970-1979 $6,300.00
4 2000-2009 $4,930.00
5 1960-1969 $3,219.00
6 2010-2019 $2,081.00
7 1950-1959 $1,750.00
8 2020-2024 $250.00
Rank State Gifts
1 WV 11
2 AR 1
3 AA 0
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Or you can contact us at foundation@wvstateu.edu.