Dominion Energy has awarded Fairmont State University a grant of $25,000 for the ongoing restoration and preservation of Hickman Run Stream in Marion County, WV.
This grant was provided through the Environmental Education and Stewardship Grant program offered by Dominion Energy and funds will be used to establish a monitoring station with equipment that measures water and environmental conditions at Hickman Run Stream. This station will allow Fairmont State University faculty and students to remotely collect data that helps them assess the current conditions of the stream and the overall impact of the project’s rehabilitation efforts.
“We are happy to award this $25,000 Environmental Stewardship grant to the Hickman Run project,” said Christine Mitchell, chair of the WV Community Investment Board for Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. “Rehabilitating an impaired stream is a great example of working together with our communities toward a more sustainable future.”
When permanently installed, the new water monitoring equipment will provide continuous monitoring of the stream’s water quality and provide additional data on rainfall, air temperature, wind speed and other important information that improves analysis of stream health. This continuous monitoring method will help researchers to establish a baseline for stream conditions and leave them better equipped to identify deliberate pollution events.
“The advancement of this project would not be possible without Dominion Energy. This grant allows us the capabilities to expand our research from one stream to two local streams. In the past students with Dr. Mark Flood were conducting site visits to manually collect samples, but now they'll have access to many more data points so the stream can be analyzed at many different phases, including before, during and after a storm,” said Fairmont State University’s MS4 Coordinator, Stephanie DeGroot.
Hickman Run Stream, which feeds the Monongahela River, serves as a drainage basin for roughly 1,700 acres of land in Marion County. The waterway has been affected by both household and commercial activities, and as a result, has suffered from pollution and a decline in critical biological diversity.
The Hickman Run Stream Rehabilitation Project, established in 2018 in partnership with the City of Fairmont, hopes to reverse environmental damage to the stream and foster the return of natural plant and animal life that is essential for the health of this waterway. With help from the Dominion Energy grant, the stream will be used in several courses at Fairmont State University for experiential – or hands-on – learning activities in the study of biology, toxicology and ecology.
“One feature of our transformative education model is the use of impactful, hands-on learning,” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “And I can’t think of any example more impactful than our involvement with the Hickman Run Stream Rehabilitation Project. Through this generous grant from Dominion Energy, we’ll continue to give our students a unique experiential learning opportunity while doing our best to keep our region ‘almost heaven.’”
In addition to improving Hickman Run Stream and providing educational enrichment for students at Fairmont State University, the project will encourage environmental stewardship through education in Marion County. Students of all ages will be able to learn the value of protecting waterways through summer programs at Hickman Run Stream. Researchers at Fairmont State University also plan to develop a model for future projects of this kind.
About Dominion Energy: More than 7 million customers in 16 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, Va. The company is committed to sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe energy and to achieving net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions from its power generation and gas infrastructure operations by 2050. Please visit DominionEnergy.com to learn more.
The grant was provided through the Fairmont State Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of Fairmont State University.
West Virginia Folklife Center receives grant for K-12 education initiative exploring folklore and cultural heritage
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center has received a grant of $7,500 from the Daywood Foundation in support of Ruth Ann Musick’s Trunk of Tales, a Fairmont State University project to promote folklore and West Virginia cultural heritage studies in K-12 public schools in the state.
Funds will be used to assemble four teacher resource trunks that include copies of Ruth Ann Musick’s book, The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Stories. Each trunk will also include materials and lesson plans for educators, and digital recorders that students can use to collect stories of folklore and heritage from their own families.
“Among the reasons to give students the opportunity to record and preserve family history is that listening is a gift, a gift to the speaker and a gift to the listener. Often that gift comes in the form of sharing stories filled with nuggets of wisdom, family traditions and cultural values such as perseverance and resiliency. Plus, interviewing family members requires patience, a skill we seldom have the opportunity to practice.” said Dr. Francene Kirk, Interim Director of the Frank and Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center.
Three of the trunks will be donated to school systems in West Virginia’s Barbour, Greenbrier and Kanawha counties as a pilot program. The fourth trunk will remain with the Folklife Center on the campus of Fairmont State University, available on loan to local schools and organizations in Marion County. Teachers will provide feedback during this pilot phase so that the project can be examined and improved before rolling out the project to other counties in West Virginia.
The Folklife Center plans to offer three collaborative professional development workshops for educators participating in the pilot program to help them and their students make the most of their experience with the trunks, while gaining input from educators for future program refinement and expansion.
“Our mission is to educate students, and that mission doesn’t stop at the edge of campus,” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “This outreach initiative is such a marvelous opportunity for us to engage with and support educators and students in the West Virginia K-12 system. The Ruth Ann Musick’s Trunk of Tales project gets to the heart of two of the things that makes Fairmont State great– our belief in the importance of family, and the strength of our bond to our region. By helping students tell the stories of their families and their communities, students will not only build up their creative thinking skills, but they will also deepen their ties to their families and communities.”
Ruth Ann Musick was a math and English professor at Fairmont State between 1946 and 1967 when it was known as Fairmont State College. She introduced the institution’s first folklore course in 1948. She and her students collected ghost stories from around the state of West Virginia. These stories were grouped and published in three different collections, including The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Stories. Dr. Musick also revived West Virginia’s dormant folklore society in 1950, and she served as the founding editor for West Virginia Folklore Journal from 1951 to 1967.
“When we think about West Virginia's history, our thoughts often go to major historical events and famous people, but Dr. Musick's collection tells the story of the common people, the folk. In her ghost stories we learn about the lives of coal miners, farmers and teachers. We hear about acts of courage and selflessness, but we also bear witness to acts of evil and revenge. We connect with those who went before us and build a sense of identity as West Virginians.” according to Kirk.
Donors interested in providing additional support for the Ruth Ann Musick’s Trunk of Talesproject can contact the Fairmont State Foundation by phone at 304.534.8786 or online at www.fsufoundation.org.
Clarksburg native and president and co-founder of a private investment firm and his wife, an attorney, have developed a scholarship to support students from Harrison and Marion counties.
Bill and Mala Harker have established the Bill & Mala Harker Endowed Scholarship, which will provide scholarships to a Fairmont State University student with first preference to African American students and second preference to students of color from Harrison County and Marion County with at least a 2.5 grade point average.
“Having grown up in the Clarksburg area, I am keenly aware of how much Fairmont State and its graduates have given to the community,” Bill Harker said. “We have a number of friends who are Fairmont State alumni. We see this scholarship as an opportunity to give back to an institution that has indirectly enriched our lives.”
Bill Harker said the couple felt that their investment in West Virginia students might go farther in this state, as opposed to higher cost areas, and would potentially help people who are sometimes overlooked by other philanthropic activities.
“It is evident that even those who are not alumni of Fairmont State University understand its importance to the local community,” said Julie R. Cryser, president of the Fairmont State Foundation. “We can’t thank the Harker family enough for their support of our students, especially our students of color.”
Mala Harker’s father is a retired math professor who spent most of his career teaching at Southeast Missouri State University, a state school similar in many ways to Fairmont State. Her family was very active in the university community when she was growing up.
“Our family endowed a scholarship at SEMO a few years ago and we have seen the impact that such an investment can make on the lives of deserving young men and women,” Mala Harker said.
“We believe in funding scholarships because we believe that education is the great equalizer,” Bill Harker said. “Much of the professional success we each have achieved is directly related to the wonderful educations we received.”
William “Bill” R. Harker is president and co-founder of Ashe Capital Management, LP, a private investment firm. He is a graduate of West Virginia University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Mala Ahuja Harker is a partner and member of the management committee at the New York City law firm of Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP. She is a graduate of Washington University in St Louis and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
They reside in New Jersey with their two children.
“This generous gift from Bill and Mala Harker affirms the potency of our mission,” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “We make a profound, real-world difference in the region, and we transform the lives of our students. Bill and Mala recognized the impact we make, and they have a deep appreciation for a university like Fairmont State. Through the Bill & Mala Harker Endowed Scholarship, they are supporting our mission to provide affordable, transformative educations to hard-working students, and we are so thankful to have them part of our Falcon Family.”
Long-time pilot and entrepreneur Don Judy has established a scholarship for Fairmont State University students seeking their commercial pilots license, the first of its kind at Fairmont State.
Judy, a sawmill owner who has been flying since the 1960s, retired in March after 30 years as a designated pilot examiner.
“I have examined the students at Fairmont for 20 years and have seen many students go on to become airline and corporate pilots,” Judy said. “I have no immediate family, and I have always enjoyed helping young people to fly.”
The Don Judy Commercial Flight Scholarship will assist Fairmont State University students in the Professional Flight Program in the School of Business & Aviation’s Department of Aviation who are West Virginia residents seeking post instrument rating commercial flight training (commercial, multi-engine or CFI). Students must possess a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher to be considered.
“I love how wide the wings of our Falcon Family stretch,” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “Our family is not only comprised of current students, staff, and alumni, but also our wider community and friends of the University all around the world. This includes dear friends like Don Judy, who believe in and support our mission to provide an affordable, transformative education. With his generous gift, Don is ensuring that more and more Fairmont State University students will be able to literally soar.”
The Professional Flight Option at Fairmont State University is one option of the three program options offered under the Aviation Center of Excellence. Students admitted to this selective program can gain a bachelor’s in Aviation Technology with an emphasis in business in aviation while simultaneously completing the flight hours and training required to obtain their private, instrument and commercial ratings.
The main objective of the Professional Flight Option at Fairmont State University is to educate aspiring pilots to be well rounded and complete aviation professionals. Our goal is to graduate not just a pilot but an exceptional aviator and student overall.
“This scholarship will assist West Virginia students, and Mr. Judy’s generosity will be felt for years to come,” said Fairmont State Foundation President Julie Cryser. “This is the first scholarship for the program and provides students with the ability to focus on the program and becoming exceptional pilots.”
Judy was born in Dry Fork, WV. He first experienced the wonder of aviation at the age of five in a Bonanza aircraft. His father maintained a grass strip on their farmland and his love for aviation thrived. After receiving his private pilot certificate in 1962, he continued receiving additional ratings through his hard work and dedication.
Judy’s ratings range from Single Engine Land and Sea to Multi Engine Land and Sea, Rotorcraft, as well as Glider. He is a certified flight instructor on all the previously mentioned aircraft classifications and holds an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate with Inspection Authority (IA) designation. Serving as a Designated Pilot Examiner Mr. Judy has issued nearly 2000 FAA certifications to aspiring pilots before retiring in March 2020.
In addition to assisting others pursue their dreams in aviation, Judy restores aircraft, having overseen 10 complete aircraft rebuilds. He is also talented in the art of recovering fabric aircraft; a form in which few are currently proficient.
Judy is the recipient of the 2010 Wilbur Wright Award, having been accident-free for 50 years; a testimonial to Judy’s superior skillset. In 2016, Judy received the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award for having been an airframe and powerplant mechanic for 50 years. He has also been inducted into the West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.
“The Donald Judy WV Aviation Scholarship aspires to carry on and manifest Mr. Judy’s love for aviation well into future generations,” said Joel Kirk, who leads the Fairmont State Aviation Program. “The intent of this scholarship is to provide assistance and inspiration to an aspiring, exceptional and promising flight student from and within his home state of West Virginia. Additionally, the goal of this award is to aid an applicant who despite demonstrating extraordinary work ethic, might not otherwise be in a position to afford advanced training.”
In 2017, Mr. Judy was a key player in helping the Fairmont State University restructure into the Aviation Center of Excellence. That year the “ACE” obtained its permanent 14 CFR part 141 status becoming the first in the State of West Virginia. This could not have happened without Mr. Judy’s relentless effort to always be available to give FAA practical examinations in a timely manner.
“I have always said that what you give to others returns 10-fold to you,” Judy said.