$1.6M Gift To WVU Football Expands Educational Opportunities Through Q5 Program

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s football program in Q5 expands to provide unique educational opportunities for select student athletes thanks to a donation of nearly $1.6 million from WVU alumni John and Elaine Chambers.

The couple’s recent contribution through the Chambers Family Foundation complements previous philanthropic leadership efforts aimed at advancing WVU and Mountain State through innovative programs, experiential learning, entrepreneurship and more.

“We’re excited to partner with WVU’s football program to rethink the way we educate Mountaineer student-athletes,” said John and Elaine Chambers. “We know our student-athletes have the drive and work ethic it takes to succeed. By equipping them with comprehensive next-generation skills and experience, we can ensure they are prepared to excel in a rapidly changing global workplace. Your professional victories will also help build West Virginia’s growing reputation as a startup state that fosters innovation and creates future leaders.

Launched in 2020 by Head Coach Neal Brown, the Q5 program aims to serve and develop all mountaineers by preparing student-athletes for success on the field as well as for life after graduation. The program’s holistic approach focuses on five pillars: Personal Development, Leadership Development, Real Life, Career Development and Social Responsibility.

The couple’s gift will create Chambers Elite Climbers, a complementary two-year program that provides additional personal and professional development opportunities for athletes selected through a competitive application process. Each cohort will delve deeper into key areas of interest—entrepreneurship and innovation, technology, financial literacy, and communications—through a variety of educational resources, complete a study abroad program, and select a West Virginia-centric humanitarian project each year.

Attendees also benefit from expert speakers, internships, career preparation resources, cultural excursions, designated work/meeting spots, and staff support.

“The fifth quarter program is an integral part of the overall success of our football programme,” said Brown. “It helps us educate and prepare our players to be the full student-athlete and give them an important understanding of life after football. Chambers Elite Climbers will offer improved levels of development across all five pillars of the Q5 program. I would like to thank John and Elaine Chambers for their generous support.”

The Chambers gift will help WVU create one of college football‘s premier student and athlete development programs. With the added incentive of Chambers Elite Climbers, the Q5 program offers the potential to attract the best recruits in the country by ensuring they can achieve their professional goals upon graduation.

“John and Elaine Chambers made a significant donation to our program in Q5 and I want to thank them for their support and help us take it to a higher level,” Director of Athletics Shane Lyons called. “It’s already hugely successful, but the addition of the additional two-year Chambers Elite Climbers program gives our soccer student-athletes a unique opportunity to excel in the game of life. The benefits of this additional program will be impressive and I appreciate John and Elaine’s willingness to make it possible.”

John Chambers is the former Executive Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems and the current Founder and CEO of JC2 Ventures, a venture capital firm that strives to transform the world through digitalization and entrepreneurship. A native of Charleston, he earned bachelor’s degrees in finance and law from WVU in 1971 and 1974 respectively. In 2001 he was awarded an honorary doctorate as the inaugural speaker of the WVU.

Elaine Chambers graduated from WVU in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology. A passionate supporter of education and health initiatives, she currently serves as vice chair of the CDC Foundation.

The couple have generously supported many university programs and units. The John Chambers College of Business and Economics was named in honor of John’s dedication in 2018 to provide financial and intellectual resources to his alma mater. In late 2020, they donated $1 million through their Chambers Family Foundation to establish a college scholarship program that benefits students from underrepresented groups.

The Chambers gift was made by the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that accepts and administers private donations on behalf of the university.

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