Family shows support for Glenville State College Waco Center

GLENVILLE – Glenville State College has announced contributions to the college by Jae Spears, former state senator from Randolph County, and her son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Ellen Spears.

Both contributions are designated to support the Waco Center that is under construction, said Glenville State College President Peter Barr.

To recognize Jae Spears’ contribution, the GSC Board of Governors conference room in the Mollohan Campus Community Center will be renamed in her honor and a plaque recognizing the former senator is being installed at the entrance to the room.

Spears was first elected to the West Virginia Senate in 1980 after serving three terms in the House of Delegates. She became the first and only female senator to lead the Finance Committee of the Senate.

To recognize Jim and Ellen Spears and upon their request, the GSC Fine Arts Gallery is being named in their honor. The first event in the newly named Spears Gallery was Feb. 5, when the ceramics exhibition of artist Zach Orcutt officially opened.

Ellen Spears is active in the Elkins area where they make their home having served as executive director of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, appointed to the Governor’s 21st Century Job Cabinet, past president of the Elkins Historic Landmark Association, and serves on other charitable and business committees.

Jim Spears is the senior vice president for external relations at Glenville State. He came to the college after serving former Gov. Joe Manchin as his chief of staff. Prior to that position, he was the cabinet secretary for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

Jim Spears had a long career in the U. S. Army where he rose to lieutenant colonel while serving in intelligence posts throughout Europe followed by working for the U. S. Department of State in Africa.

Barr noted the significance of these gifts, saying, “Gifts from private individuals are an important element that will assist us in completing the fundraising for the Waco Center. Senator Spears’ gift is an excellent example of the reach that Glenville State College has across central West Virginia. We truly appreciate her stepping forward. Jim and Ellen have also stepped forward, and their gift is one of the largest of the many staff and faculty donations that have been made in the past few months. Our staff and faculty are joining us in this fundraising effort in an impressive fashion. We all are anxious for the completion of the center late this year.”

Donations to the Waco Center can be coordinated through the Glenville State College Foundation office. For more information, contact the GSC Foundation Executive Director Dennis Pounds at 304-462-6380, by email at, or by mail at 200 High Street, Glenville, WV 26351.