Vienna, W.Va.—On October 13, 2018, multiple generations of the Stanley family gathered in the student center which bears the name of its benefactor and founder, John Stanley, to celebrate the Stanley Family Reunion. Had it not been for his generosity, the Stanley Student Center would not be providing services for OVU students and housing functions for the larger community of Vienna, West Virginia. A member of the Board of Trustees, John not only funded the student center on what is now the South Campus but the Stepping Stones Conference Room in the Stotts Administration Building on North Campus as well. John stands as one of many pioneers for Christian education, and he is not the only Stanley in the university’s history.
The heritage of Christian service began with John’s grandparents, James and Marion Stanley, on the family farm in Elizabeth, West Virginia, in the late 1800s. While all fourteen of their children attended a one-room school, the value of education was deeply instilled in them. Their daughter Belle married Marlin Newberry, an early supporter of the university, who stood with shovel in hand at the initial ground-breaking. When the school was first established, H.C. Stanley, owner of a small, family-run market on Pike Street in Parkersburg, offered the space above his market as a male residence hall. Since the family’s heritage is strongly linked to both faith and education, the connections continue in successive generations. More than twenty descendants of James and Marion Stanley, including Newberrys and Carpenters, are counted among OVU alumni. And so it continues. Wyatt Grose, a great great-grandchild of the original couple, is currently enrolled at OVU.
Unfortunately, John passed on before the Stanley Family Reunion in October, and his wife, Carol, was unable to attend due to health reasons. Cathryn Krebs, one of their daughters, had the honor of standing in the space her father so generously provided. As she snapped photo after photo to show her mother, she remarked, “I was very pleased and proud to attend the Stanley reunion in the Stanley Student Center. My dad would have been so happy. He loved OVU and the Stanley clan.”
Following the reunion, Jack Thorn, Vice-president of Advancement, noted, "OVU continues to flourish because of faithful partners like the Stanley family, who have given and continue to give time, effort, and financial gifts to the university. We look forward to enjoying similar partnerships with other families who share the Stanley’s value in Christian education for generations to come."
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Chartered in 1958, Ohio Valley University is a faith-based, residential, liberal arts college founded by members of the Church of Christ. Students of all faiths are accepted and encouraged to apply. The university offers a variety of baccalaureate and master’s degrees to students from 26 states and 25 nations. To learn more visit www.ovu.edu.