Fairmont State alumnus to honor son with endowed scholarship

Barry Baisden & Son

Barry Baisden, 1981 Fairmont State University graduate with a degree in Occupational Safety, recently funded the Sam Baisden Scholarship in Occupational Safety to honor his son, who died in a tragic accident in 2018. 

Baisden went on to a successful career with ExxonMobil, retiring in 2017 as the refining safety, security, health and environment manager.

“The education I received at Fairmont State University provided the foundation for a career where I experienced and achieved more than I ever dreamed possible,” said Baisden, who now resides in Kingwood, Texas. “The oil refining and chemical manufacturing industries I worked in have made significant improvements in worker health and safety through the years. I was blessed to have a career where I could be part of that.”

The endowed scholarship, the first for the occupational safety program, will be for a full-time Fairmont State University student majoring in Occupational Safety with a 2.75 grade point average. The scholarship will be renewable if the student maintains a 2.75 GPA. It will be awarded for the first time for the fall 2020 semester. The $30,000 scholarship fund will provide about $1,000 annually for scholarships.

“Sam was a generous and caring young man and a wonderful son. We wanted to establish this scholarship to honor his life and legacy and to help young men and women get the education they desire,” Baisden said.

Having seen first-hand the devastating impact that industrial accidents can have on families, Baisden is excited to help develop more occupational and safety professionals to support further improvements in the workplace and worker safety. 

“We are so appreciative of this gift to support occupational safety students,” Julie R. Cryser, Fairmont State Foundation president, said. “Our occupational safety majors are protecting workers throughout the region, state, nation and world, ensuring they go home each night with their families. That’s an important and noble profession.”

Fairmont State’s Occupational Safety program is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission. The curriculum teaches safety and environmental composition of industry, safety management and concepts in accident prevention, safety law and compliance, construction safety law, industrial hygiene and toxicology and fire prevention.

“Barry Baisden’s gift is not only generous, but it’s also a reminder that scholarships like the one offered in Sam Baisden’s memory aren’t just about providing money, though that’s certainly important,” Fairmont State University President Mirta M. Martin said. “These scholarships serve as a long-lasting reminder of the impact one person can have on a school and on a community. The ripple effect of opportunity provided in Sam’s memory will last for generations.”

Fairmont State offers both a two- and four-year degree in occupational safety.

“Our students are leading efforts for public and workplace safety,” said Steven Roof, interim dean of the College of Science and Technology. “We can’t thank Mr. Baisden enough for the support that he is providing to our students.”

Baisden’s gift was made through the Fairmont State Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of the Fairmont State University.