MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University alumnus William Sheedy and his wife Patricia have donated $2.5 million to the John Chambers College of Business and Reynolds Hall, the future hub for business education on the campus.
Reynolds Hall is still under construction, slated for completion in 2022, and once it is, it will house the Sheedy Family Pavilion for experiential learning, which will house, among other things, a center for innovation, financial literacy and education, bureau of business and economic research and a social media technology lab. Javier Reyes, Ph.D., the dean of the WVU College of Business and Economics, said he welcomes the donation and that his excitement goes beyond money and extends to helping students apply what they learn in a classroom to real-world applications via experiential learning.
Not necessarily wait for an internship over the summer or work on one specific project for one specific company while they do the internship, but this project will be something that applies to their courses. Sometimes it will be ad hoc projects that are in the intake from each of the centers that are not necessarily related to the class. We have the data-driven West Virginia initiative, which is taking in data and analytics and making it available to small businesses and organizations across the state, like our work with the National Guard. We do a lot of projections for the PPE demands for COVID.Javier Reyes Ph.D. – Dean, WVU College of Business and Economics
Reyes said when you think about the competitive landscape of the business world; you realize that schools in places like Austin, TX, New York City, and Pittsburgh have a greater advantage for students. He said that’s because those schools and students have access to big companies right in their backyard. That is why Reynolds Hall and the Sheedy family donation to its completion are so vital.
Once complete, Reynolds will replicate the sea of experiential learning that big cities offer. Students will have a big opportunity to engage with their learning in meaningful ways by directly contacting real businesses. This will help them stand out to future employers or make them more suitable for internships.
Even if students don’t get internships, the kinds of hands-on experiences they will have through directly working with organizations will greatly impact their job prospects.
The impact of the Sheedy donation, Reyes said, will go beyond students’ job prospects and to the state. Part of the reason is that many of the projects students will work on will be from West Virginia businesses and organizations.
“Through their learning in the business school and applying their learning to the pavilion, we will have a positive impact in West Virginia, which will fulfill the land grant mission of the college and the university,” Reyes said. “And really, perhaps, many students through these experiences will see there are professional and career pathways within West Virginia for them and will hopefully help us retain more students, more talented students in West Virginia that may have been from West Virginia or are coming from other states. We feel as if we will achieve sort of a trifecta in a way, right? You learn, you apply, and then you have an impact, a positive impact, in the state of West Virginia.”
Reyes said when the Sheedy family was presented with this vision for the future, they immediately jumped on board because they also understand its impact on the state Reynolds Hall will have.
“It really is an impactful gift, very thoughtful on their part, that keeps students at the center,” Reyes said. “But it also allows us to have the impact on those students because of their learning and how they’re going to impact the state.”
According to a WVU press release, William Sheedy has worked at Visa since 1993, holding many roles to help shape one of the world’s largest companies and the largest global payment network.
Before his current role as Executive Vice President, Sheedy was CEO of Visa’s European region. Previously, as Group President, Americas, he oversaw Visa’s business in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, across nearly 50 countries. Further, beginning in 2007, he played a central role in managing a corporate restructuring that merged seven different Visa organizations into a single global company (Visa, Inc.), culminating in what was the largest initial public offering in U.S. history as of March 2008.