Clarksburg native and president and co-founder of a private investment firm and his wife, an attorney, have developed a scholarship to support students from Harrison and Marion counties.
Bill and Mala Harker have established the Bill & Mala Harker Endowed Scholarship, which will provide scholarships to a Fairmont State University student with first preference to African American students and second preference to students of color from Harrison County and Marion County with at least a 2.5 grade point average.
“Having grown up in the Clarksburg area, I am keenly aware of how much Fairmont State and its graduates have given to the community,” Bill Harker said. “We have a number of friends who are Fairmont State alumni. We see this scholarship as an opportunity to give back to an institution that has indirectly enriched our lives.”
Bill Harker said the couple felt that their investment in West Virginia students might go farther in this state, as opposed to higher cost areas, and would potentially help people who are sometimes overlooked by other philanthropic activities.
“It is evident that even those who are not alumni of Fairmont State University understand its importance to the local community,” said Julie R. Cryser, president of the Fairmont State Foundation. “We can’t thank the Harker family enough for their support of our students, especially our students of color.”
Mala Harker’s father is a retired math professor who spent most of his career teaching at Southeast Missouri State University, a state school similar in many ways to Fairmont State. Her family was very active in the university community when she was growing up.
“Our family endowed a scholarship at SEMO a few years ago and we have seen the impact that such an investment can make on the lives of deserving young men and women,” Mala Harker said.
“We believe in funding scholarships because we believe that education is the great equalizer,” Bill Harker said. “Much of the professional success we each have achieved is directly related to the wonderful educations we received.”
William “Bill” R. Harker is president and co-founder of Ashe Capital Management, LP, a private investment firm. He is a graduate of West Virginia University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Mala Ahuja Harker is a partner and member of the management committee at the New York City law firm of Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP. She is a graduate of Washington University in St Louis and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
They reside in New Jersey with their two children.
“This generous gift from Bill and Mala Harker affirms the potency of our mission,” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “We make a profound, real-world difference in the region, and we transform the lives of our students. Bill and Mala recognized the impact we make, and they have a deep appreciation for a university like Fairmont State. Through the Bill & Mala Harker Endowed Scholarship, they are supporting our mission to provide affordable, transformative educations to hard-working students, and we are so thankful to have them part of our Falcon Family.”