The late Stuart and Stephanie Bloch were devoted supporters of the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts. Their generosity and commitment impacted thousands of students throughout the years, and will continue to do so for decades to come.
“The Blochs were wonderful and gracious people with a great love of life, engagement for life and love for each other,” said Bernie Schultz, former dean of the college and retired professor of art history. “They had a love and passion for the arts, and they believed strongly in advancing education.”
One of the Bloch’s most influential contributions to WVU allowed for the 2003 remodel of the Choral Rehearsal Hall, now named Bloch Learning and Performance Hall. The hall significantly enhanced the educational capabilities of the college with the latest audiovisual technology, lighting and aesthetic improvements.
“Stuart and Stephanie saw the important of this space for education,” Schultz said. “Since its remodel, thousands of students have had access to a professional space for their recitals, presentations and performances.”
The Blochs were also supporters of the Art Museum of West Virginia University. The couple in 2013 pledged $100,000 to the museum for its new Print Study and Collection Room.
“Stuart studied art history at Princeton, so he had a special place in his heart for visual art,” Schultz said. “but the Blochs truly valued all art and education, and they made sure to acknowledge that through their thoughtful contributions.”
Stuart Bloch enjoyed a successful career as president of Bloch Brothers Tobacco Co., of Mail Pouch fame, from 1968-75, then he served as executive vice president and director of Hazlett, Burt and Watson, Inc., an investment and securities firm.
Bloch served on several high-profile committees, most notably as the 52nd president of the U.S. Golf Association. He served WVU on the School of Medicine Visiting Committee and was a former member and chairman of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors.
Stephanie Hawkins Bloch graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and was a devoted member of the WVU College of Creative Arts Visiting Committee and a former member of the Board of Advisors of WVU’s Blaney House. She was a member of the Snowshoe Institute Board of Advisors and the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Foundation and a board member of the Oglebay Institute.
The Blochs were charter members of the WVU Foundation’s planned giving donor group, the Irvin Stewart Society. They were named Most Loyal West Virginians in October 2005 at WVU. Most Loyal West Virginians exemplify faithfulness to the ideals and goals of the state of West Virginia through business, professional and civic achievement, as well as support of WVU.
“So much of what the Blochs did for WVU was because of who they were as people – generous, caring and loving,” Schultz said. “They could light up any room with their passion for life.”