A $500,000 gift to the West Virginia University School of Medicine will fund scholarships for women who are first-generation college students, descendants of coal miners or interested in miners’ health.
The endowment announced Monday comes from the late Ruth St. John to honor her daughter, the late Dr. Judith Buff.
Buff’s sister, Dolly Bromberg, says helping coal miners was a family passion.
Their father was a Charleston cardiologist who studied the effects of mining work, advocated for health and safety laws, and coined the term “black lung disease.”
Charleston native Michelle Raney is the first recipient of the scholarship. Her great-grandfather was a mine superintendent, her grandfather ran a company store, and her father, Bill Raney, heads the West Virginia Coal Association.
She’ll get $5,000 a year for four years.