Family, Friends Establish Gustafson Scholarship for PSC-WVU Agriculture Students


In 1956, Oscar Gustafson joined the faculty of Potomac State College (PSC) of WVU.  Over the next thirty-two years, as Gustafson rose through the ranks to full professor and chairman of the College's Agriculture Department, he helped hundreds and hundreds of PSC students achieve their goals and dreams.

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Oscar Gustafson

Gustafson, or "Mr. Gus," as he was always known to his friends, treasured many things in his life.  But his lifetime commitment to the value of education is perhaps the one thing most cited by his friends and family as they reflect on his many contributions and roles.  Carrying on this commitment in Gustafson's name is the driving force behind the establishment of the Oscar "Gus" Gustafson Agriculture Scholarship Endowment at the WVU Foundation for the benefit of Potomac State College of WVU students.  

"My father had a deep and sincere love for teaching young people and fostering their hopes and dreams," said Michael Gustafson, MD, one of Gustafson's four children.  "It's the hope of those in our family, and many of our dad's dear friends and other PSC alumni, that this scholarship will continue to encourage students for many generations to come."  

Gustafson, who passed away in January 2011, was an integral part of the Potomac State College community and the Keyser area.  He was perhaps best known for his work to build a state-of-the-art operational teaching farm as part of the educational experience at PSC.  He retired in 1988 as a Professor Emeritus from the College.  In 1996, Gustafson was honored with the College's Distinguished Service Award for lifetime dedication to PSC. 

"One of the best memories I have of my dad is of him driving around West Virginia, visiting small high schools and encouraging students to attend Potomac State," said Robert Gustafson, MD, another of the elder Gustafson's children.  "Many of those students came from families where no one had gone to college before -- a similar experience to my father's.  When the students enrolled at PSC, dad was like a second father to many of them."  

The Gustafson Agriculture Scholarship is designed to help a student who has financial need but who has already demonstrated academic achievement.  Although the scholarship is open to any student majoring in Agriculture at Potomac State, first preference is for students from rural, unincorporated areas of West Virginia.  

“Mr. Gus’ passion for education and his commitment to the youth of rural America live on through the scholarship that bears his name,” said PSC Campus Provost Kerry Odell. “His lifelong work, the lives he touched and now this scholarship are his legacy to the College. We are pleased that his family and friends have chosen to honor him in this way and appreciate their continued support of Potomac State.”   

A number of "Mr. Gus' " friends and family have already contributed to this project.  Additional gifts are certainly welcomed, and may be made to the WVUF/Gustafson Agriculture Scholarship #3S974, and sent to Potomac State College, Alumni/Development Office, 101 Fort Avenue, Keyser, WV 26726.  

The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University, and all of its affiliates including Potomac State College of WVU.