BECKLEY, W.Va. — A scholarship gift that was presented to WVU Tech’s Civil Engineering Department Wednesday has a special meaning to many, including Department Chair Steven Leftwich.

He accepted the $85,825 gift alongside WVU Tech President Carolyn Long and Professor Emeritus Dr. Govindappa Puttaiah. It was given in honor of former professor Dr. S.A. Swami, who died around 20 years ago.

Swami taught at the school from the 60’s through the 90’s. Leftwich said the scholarship carries Swami’s desire to give back to students and the community.

“I had him as a teacher, then I had him as a colleague when I came here in ’87. He always wanted to give back to society, he always had a really good philosophy about life.”

Leftwich also said he frequently sees students who could benefit from the extra financial aid boost. It will be divided and presented to three civil engineering students this year.

“There’s some students that almost finish school, maybe lack one semester or two semesters, the financials aren’t there. Many of our students work while they’re going to school, so it’s going to help.”

Leftwich described Swami as always involved in the community. He even held physical education seminars throughout the community. In addition, Swami wrote three books on topics ranging from fitness to spirituality.

WVU Tech President Carolyn Long said this scholarship will benefit students much like he did.

“Anytime somebody is generous enough to help our students, we can’t say thank you enough. This will go to deserving students. Students that may be having difficulty to finish a degree or something in that nature in the civil engineering world. This could change kids’ lives.”

According to their website, WVU Tech has an enrollment of 1,600 on its Beckley campus. The school’s civil engineering program recently ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 in the nation. The institution also broke the top 10 percent for salary potential among state schools in the United States.

President Long attributes some of the students’ success to the school’s strong support system.

“As they move down the world, someone has helped them so then we hope that they will in turn help someone else.”

You can contribute to the S.A. Swami Memorial Scholarship. Contact the WVU Tech Development Office at 304-929-1403 for more information.

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