Blairs donate to Potomac State as a memorial to former professor

West Virginia University’s Potomac State College Alumnus Jim Blair (Class of 1967) and his wife, Marsha, recently contributed $25,000 to Potomac State in support of the newly established Atwater Media Center.  Named after beloved journalism professor, Dr. Elizabeth Atwater, the renovated media space will be used to enhance the teaching/learning environment and allow students to experience some of the most up-to-date technology used in the field of journalism and social media.   

Atwater Media Center“I remember standing in line my first day at Potomac State,” said Blair.  “I finally got to the front of the line and Dr. Atwater asked me what I was going to major in.  I had no idea, but said pre-law.  She then asked me if I had ever worked on my high school newspaper and I said yes.  She said, fine, I am signing you up for Journalism.  I didn’t know until the following Monday that she was the journalism professor.”

“We spent our freshman year muddling through how to write a story.  When they announced the staff for the following year and Dr. Atwater chose me for the Pasquino’s editor-in-chief, I was flabbergasted.  We had a really talented staff:  Wendell Cochran, went on to work for USA Today and headed the journalism sequence at American University; Katherine Ann Stephens went on to work in public relations for hospitals in California; Jim Goldsworthy who still works for the Cumberland Times-News; and several others – all much more skilled than me; but Dr. Atwater had confidence in me and I will never forget that.  We corresponded until she was 100 years old.  I owe her a lot!” said the Midland, Md. native.

Blair has been tremendously successful throughout his career as a newspaper editor and entrepreneur.  He ran several newspapers before starting ONLINE Information Services Inc., the nation's leading developer of credit risk assessment and debt recovery solutions.  Giving back to his alma mater will help open the door of opportunity for future Potomac State students.

The Atwater Media Center is currently being renovated and is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of the fall semester.  Anyone wishing to contribute to the project can contact Lucas Taylor, director of development at 304.788.6995 or at  All gifts are tax deductible and will be part of A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University which runs through December 2017.