Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506
In recognition of the importance of flexible pavements to the economy of the state, West Virginia University, working cooperatively with the West Virginia Flexible Pavements Council and the West Virginia Department of Transportation, established an endowed professorship in asphalt pavement technology. The purpose of the program is to promote education and research in asphalt pavement technology for the state of West Virginia and to make contributions at a national level. According to Pat Parsons, Executive Director of the Flexible Pavement Council, the program is an important addition to the curriculum for undergraduate and graduate engineering students. "Ninety-four percent of all pavements in the United States are surfaced with hot mix, yet students were receiving little exposure to hot mix asphalt", Parsons explained.
Through industry contributions, the endowment was established and donated to the University. Over 50 companies and individuals contributed from $100 to $60,000 to raise $250,000 for the endowment. Dan Cooperrider, Vice President and General Manager of West Virginia Paving, summarized the reasons for industry contributions to this endowment as, "Education about our product is vital to our future. By supporting the endowment we are making a commitment to the quality of our product and a commitment to the people who will be governing our industry in the next century."
The effort was started in 1990 and was championed by Dr. Sam Kiger, former chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Many regard the endowment as Dr. Kiger's legacy at WVU. "In my seven years at WVU, I am proud of a lot of things, by this endowment will have the most lasting effect of anything I have accomplished," Kiger said.
The first phase of the program was completed in 1997 with the complete funding of the endowment and the hiring of Dr. John Zaniewski to serve as the first endowed Professor of Asphalt Technology at West Virginia University. The effort is continuing with the development of a curriculum in asphalt technology for both undergraduate and graduate students. An important aspect of this curriculum is the establishment of a state of the art asphalt materials laboratory. The West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, has already donated the equipment needed for Superpave volumetric mix design and an Asphalt Pavement Analyzer and sample compactor. University funds were used to purchase the equipment required for binder evaluation under the Performance Grading system.