As CEO of American Campus Communities, Bill Bayless, understands how learning and living environments shape the student experience. As a generous alumnus of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, he is helping to shape that experience for business students by paying it forward.
Bayless and his wife, Jamie, who are residents of Austin, Texas, are giving back to the business school in the form of a $200,000 gift to help support the new B&E building complex project on Morgantown’s waterfront.
“My experience as a student at WVU was instrumental in the ultimate conception of what would become American Campus Communities. The instruction, mentorship and shared business experiences I received from an incredible group of educators at the College of Business and Economics prepared me well for a successful career, including taking a company public on the New York Stock Exchange,” said Bayless, CEO of the nation’s largest developer, owner and manager of high quality student housing. “It’s an honor and privilege to give back to an institution that was so impactful in my own career, while investing in the success of future Mountaineers.”
Having grown up in the industrial town of Wellsburg, Bayless graduated with a degree in marketingin 1986. During his time at WVU, he spent three years as a resident and resident assistant at Summit Hall. He then went on to manage the residence hall for a brief period of time, and from there his itch to break into the student housing industry began to grow. In 1993 he launched ACC, which today is a $9.6 billion enterprise with more than 200 properties nationwide.
Nationally recognized as a leader in the business community, Bayless is not only a businessman, but also a philanthropist. American Campus Communities is proud of its efforts through the American Campus Charities Foundation, which has raised more than $3.5 million for organizations like the Rise School of Austin, LifeWorks, the Boys and Girls Club of Austin and The Austin School for Visual and Performing Arts.
“From pioneering his career right here on the WVU campus to becoming a visionary in the real estate industry, Bill is a true Mountaineer and inspiration to our students – the next generation of business leaders,” said Javier Reyes, B&E Milan Puskar Dean. “And as the College launches into a new chapter and a new home, we are truly humbled by the generosity, friendship and trust of wonderful alumni like Bill and Jamie Bayless. This engagement with the College will help to significantly enhance the student experience and innovation, and empower business students to grow into character-driven, entrepreneurial leaders like Bill.”
The gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University , which ended Dec. 31, 2017, with more than $1.2 billion being donated to the University.