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Gift adds dimension to campus

Leon and Gloria Plevin

A strong connection to West Virginia University and the arts made supporting the construction of the Art Museum of WVU an easy decision for the Plevin family. 

Gloria Rosenthal Plevin was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Clarksburg. Her husband, the late Leon Plevin, was a Weirton native studying political science at WVU. Gloria was studying art and business at Ohio University, but would occasionally travel to Morgantown to be a guest at Phi Sigma Delta fraternity socials.

After graduating from WVU, Leon first moved to Washington, D.C., then Cleveland to attend law school. Gloria, and many of the pair’s friends, had found jobs in the Cleveland area. Gloria and Leon started dating soon after.

The Plevins married, then began their supportive relationship with WVU. 

“Donating to the University was a point of pride for Leon,” Gloria said. “Although we had moved away, it helped us keep our connection with WVU and the state.”

Leon worked as a personal injury lawyer for the majority of his career. According to Gloria, Leon had worked at the Weirton Steel Mill during college, and his experience made him sympathetic to the working class and their challenges.

Gloria was a stay-at-home mother with four children, but never lost her love of the arts. At age 30, she again began studying and practicing art. Ten years later, she had her first solo exhibition in Cleveland. 

Gloria’s artwork and connection to the University brought her to Morgantown in 2012. Gloria’s art was featured in the WVU School of Art and Design’s Mesaros Galleries, which house professional artist exhibitions on campus.

“Showing my art at WVU gave me a great taste for the arts at WVU,” Gloria said. “It was a very professional environment, very impressive.”

When she heard about the plans for the art museum, Gloria wanted to support its construction, knowing her late husband would have agreed. 

“This museum is a great asset for the state of West Virginia and is something that can enrich the lives of anyone who steps foot in the door,” Gloria said. “It’s a fabulous museum that adds dimension to campus.” 

The museum’s lobby is named in the Plevins honor, and Gloria finds much satisfaction in the couple’s gift.

“The arts are alive and well at WVU and the museum and the College of Creative Arts are really a testament to that,” Gloria said. “There is a great, dedicated staff on hand, and I know they will continue to move the arts forward.”