Schumann, who led fundraising efforts at Davis & Elkins College for almost 10 years before coming to State, said Thursday that Hemphill himself is a dynamic fundraiser.
By reaching out to alumni and the local community, he has encouraged many to contribute who haven't in the past. She told the board that 463 people have donated so far this budget year, which began in July, as compared to 202 by this point last year.
That's how AEP's donation came about, Hemphill said. The university presented a package to the company, highlighting what it wanted to do with the money and how that aligned with the company's ideas.
While Schumann described Hemphill as an inspiring figure who gets alumni excited, she also said fundraising efforts were lacking in the past.
"The answer I gave the committee this morning is, 'We have more people giving because we're asking.' It's pretty simple," Schumann said. Earlier in the day she had addressed the board's finance committee.
The fervor of a new president won't last forever, but Schumann said the university is implementing simple strategies to keep people cutting checks. The database of university alumni is in need of an update, something Schumann said her office is doing right now.
Ramping up the year-round giving strategy - calling those alumni and reaching out to local businesses - is another crucial step to increasing donations, Schumann said.
"It's building relationships and being strategic in the way we do that," she said.
"For West Virginia State to have a presence in the valley, for us to be visible, for us to be places where the important, influential people are, it's a whole program of communication and outreach."
This is a building year for fundraising in Schumann's opinion, so she didn't want to commit herself to a year-end dollar goal. But she hopes to at least double the number of donors. The university does have a five-year, $12.5 million fundraising campaign, she added. Getting its finances in order could play a big role in State reaching that goal.
The university was operating at a $3.5 million deficit two years ago, and that helped to spur the departure of longtime President Hazo Carter. Moody's, the credit rating agency, cited some of those issues when it lowered the school's bond ratings in late 2012.
Finances have continued to improve slowly, Melvin Jones, vice president for business and finance, told the board.
The school finished the last fiscal year with a $200,000 surplus, he said. It's on pace to finish this fiscal year about $750,000 in the black.