Our First George W Longenecker Scholars

Congratulations to our first George W. Longenecker scholarship recipients.

The board of directors of the West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association (WVNLA) approved scholarships for two West Virginia students entering West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.

 Sarah Gompers is a rising WVU Landscape Architecture student from Buckhannon who attends Buckhannon Upshur High School. Kiersten Smith of Oak Hill attends Oak Hill High School and is a rising WVU Horticulture freshman.

Both students will be provided tuition reimbursement for four semesters (a two-year scholarship) from the association. Both students enter WVU in the Fall and will need to maintain a 3.0 or above grade point average to continue receiving tuition assistance.

WVNLA created the George W. Longenecker Memorial Scholarship earlier this year to encourage incoming West Virginia freshmen to pursue the scholarship, which will be offered every two years.

The association also offers the Marcus W. Rennix Memorial Scholarship for West Virginia students at any institution who have completed half the required courses in horticulture, landscape architecture, nursery and greenhouse management and other green industry majors in an accredited program and maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average

The Marcus W. Rennix Memorial Scholarship offers $5,000 per eligible student, and the deadline for this year’s entries is September 30.

Julie Robinson, WVNLA executive director, said, “The scholarships are valuable investments in the future of our industry’s professionals, and the students we have awarded scholarships to thus far will be well prepared and represent us well.

George W. Longenecker dedicated a lifetime to the study and mentorship of landscape architecture. He was instrumental in developing the landscape architecture program at West Virginia University, where he was beloved by his students and fellow faculty members for his personality and knowledge of plant materials.  

He founded and led the effort to organize and establish the West Virginia Botanic Garden in Morgantown. For 35 years, Longenecker served as an advisor for the Pennsylvania Conservancy-sponsored summer landscape architecture internship program for the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pa.