Born and raised in Blacksburg, Susan West Marmagas played a significant role in the establishment of the university’s public health program. Marmagas’ more than 15 years of experience in the national public health field, most notably addressing how environmental factors affect the health of women and children, provided countless experiences in policy and practice she shared with her students.

Marmagas’ incredible influence prompted her colleagues to initiate an effort to create the Susan West Marmagas Public Health Scholarship. To ensure her memory was honored in perpetuity, Marmagas’ brother and sister-in-law, Roger and Deborah West, pledged the difference between what was raised in the crowdfunding campaign and the level of endowment.

Marmagas was passionate about improving health in rural Appalachian communities while championing her public health students both professionally and personally. The first endowed scholarship in the Department of Population Health Sciences will support underrepresented students in the program. Based on Marmagas’ desire to improve access to public health in Appalachian communities, students who grew up in the region, or are from families in Appalachia, will receive priority for the award each year.

Marmagas’ career focused on engaging health professionals and scientists in strategic discussions with the goal of implementing evidence-based protective public policy. This scholarship will lead to new champions for this important goal.

“My wife Debbie and I are thrilled to be able to support the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor and memory of my sister, Susan West Marmagas. This scholarship will help students from the Appalachian region study public health at the school and, perhaps, follow in her footsteps”