Fairmont State’s American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter swept the concrete canoe competition at the ASCE Virginias Regionals Symposium hosted by Marshall University on April 14.
In addition to taking home the overall team title, Fairmont also earned first-place in each of five races as well as the following categories: technical proposal, project presentation and final product.
“This has been an exceptional weekend for the student chapter,” said Tabitha Lafferre, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology and ASCE Student Chapter Faculty Advisor. “The students truly put their heart, blood, sweat and tears in to this year-long project.”
The ASCE Virginias Regionals Symposium provides students from schools across West Virginia and Virginia a chance to gain valuable hands-on experience by competing in many engineering-related competitions. For the concrete canoe competition in particular, students must follow strict rules that dictate the contents of the concrete matrix in building the canoe and, of course, the vessel must float, to be eligible to compete in the races. The canoe entered in this year’s competition, named “Black Diamond,” is a tribute to coal miners and West Virginia’s status as a top coal producer in the country.
According to Lafferre, this marks the 18th regional level win for Fairmont State. The team will now move on to the national concrete canoe competition at the ASCE Civil Engineering Student Championship hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Platteville from June 10 to 12.
“The team always has a goal of placing in the top 10 overall,” said Lafferre. “Even though the regional symposium is over, they’ll continue practicing paddling until the last day of the spring semester.”
To help fund the trip, the Fairmont State ASCE student chapter held an elimination dinner at the Knights of Columbus on May 5th. The dinner included a buffet-style meal, historical presentation, keynote address, canoe display, gift basket raffles and a $1,000 cash prize.
Planned enhancements include the addition of Velocity Based Training (Vitruve) devices and ANCORE PRO functional trainers for all eight squat racks in the weight room. With these upgrades, Fairmont State Athletics can continue providing student-athletes with the highest performance training.
“Our second Fighting Falcons Lift-a-Thon was a huge success,” said Fairmont State’s Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Adam Kolberg. “We had 278 student-athletes participate, and thanks to their tremendous efforts and the gracious support of sponsors, we raised over $8,500 for the strength and conditioning program.”
Fairmont State University honored graduates during the University’s 154th Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 6 in the Feaster Center.
“Commencement is always an uplifting and exciting event on our campus,” said Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tim Oxley. “Not only does it represent centuries of higher education tradition, it marks a significant milestone in the lives of our graduates that will serve them well throughout their lives. Commencement also reminds the University’s faculty and staff members of the importance of what we do, and why we do it; focused on a culmination of teaching, learning, and student engagement.”
This year’s commencement speaker was Fairmont State alumnus William “Bus” Jaco, Ph.D. The Grafton, WV native is Regents Professor Emeritus, Oklahoma State University, and Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at Rice University. He holds degrees from Fairmont State University (B.A. Cum Laude), Penn State University (M.A.), and University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ph.D.). He held faculty positions at University of Michigan and Rice University before joining the faculty at Oklahoma State University as Head of the Department of Mathematics in 1982 and was appointed Grayce B. Kerr Chair in 1993, an endowed position that he held until his retirement in 2021.
During his time at Fairmont State, Jaco was heavily involved in Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity when not in the classroom. During his speech, he fondly remembered his previous Professor in Mathematics, Dr. James La Rue who he referred to as an “advisor, mentor and friend.” La Rue had encouraged Jaco to continue on to higher education with his studies in math. When Dr. Jaco graduated from the College on the Hill in 1962, his son had attended with him donning a miniature cap and gown. Dr. Jaco returned to campus as commencement speaker and his wife, Linda, and eldest son were again with him for the occasion.
Jaco spoke briefly about his many accomplishments, achievements, and experiences that followed graduation from Fairmont State. He had enrolled in classes as a first-generation college student, hoping to make a living as a math teacher. He graduated with the determination and confidence to turn his dream into an incredible career. “Over the 61 years following my graduation from Fairmont State, I have held either a research, a teaching and research, or an administrative position in nine different states, through appointments at twenty different research institutions, and I have travelled the world to collaborate on research and work with colleagues spread across nine countries.”
Before ending his speech, Jaco left the graduates with some words of advice, emphasizing the importance of hard work and the inevitability of change. He reminded the class of 2023 to take chances, stating “I would rather be sorry for something I did, than to be sorry for something I never did do.” Finally, he encouraged them to view their time at Fairmont State as only the beginning of a lifetime of learning.
When asked about his experience returning to campus as the commencement speaker, he explained that learning of the wide array of programs offered at Fairmont State and seeing the graduates made him “impressed and proud to be there
Kickin’ it for Katy 5K Run/Walk raised awareness for suicide prevention, funds for forensics students
The Fairmont State University Forensic Science Program hosted the second annual ‘Kickin’ it for Katy’ 5K run and walk on Saturday, April 29, on the University’s campus. All proceeds from the race go to the Kaitlynn Towson Forensic Memorial Award to raise awareness around suicide prevention, benefiting Fairmont State Forensic Science students.
“We are pleased to see the outpouring of support from this community, and we are excited to watch Kickin’ it for Katy grow,” said Gina Dixon, the grandmother of Kaitlynn Towson. “Our family is proud that Katy’s name and story will be remembered and that we are spreading awareness.”
After the race, participants and spectators were invited to the ‘Stomp Out the Stigma’ celebration hosted by Falcon Wellness and Mental Health Services on the Falcon Center Quad for race awards, live music, food vendors, raffle prizes, a dunk tank and more.
“These two events are a natural fit together as they both support the mission of suicide awareness and prevention, which is especially important in our college-age students,” said Forensic Science Program Coordinator Mark Flood. “The scholarship money being raised is in memory and support of Katy’s legacy and will mean that these collaborative short-term events will have a longer-lasting impact.”
“We want students to know that their mental health is our priority here at Fairmont State University,” said Director of Student Health Chelsea Collins. “All supporters of mental wellness are invited to come and promote mental well-being. Students are not alone, we want them here with us to enjoy life.”
Fairmont State’s Ruth Ann Musick Library hosted its first writing contest this March in which Fairmont State University students submitted work based on the American Library Association’s National Library Week theme, “There’s More to the Story.”
Students were encouraged to write either a short story or a poetry submission inspired by the theme of “There’s More to the Story” and the prompt “Photo and/or Diary." Nineteen submissions were received: eight short story submissions and eleven poetry submissions. The selected winners for the short story category include Avary King (first place), Sydney Brooks (second place), and Natalie Clingenpeel (third place). The selected winners of the poetry category include Molly Simpson (first place), Alexandra Mellott (second place), and Vetra Foster (third place).
Reilly Crow, a junior Graphic Design Technology major from Glendale, West Virginia, established the contest in partnership with the Ruth Ann Musick Library staff . “People need a way to express themselves,” he said. “When people share stories, there are always some left-out details. With the theme “There’s More to the Story,” we see what reading stories are for.”
Each first place winner received a $250 cash prize and publication in next year’s edition of Whetstone, Fairmont State University’s undergraduate literary and art journal.
“We have a lot of creative, amazing young people on this campus that are growing, changing, and always doing awesome things,” said Jacquelynn Sherman, Assistant Library Director.“Their accomplishments are just one example, one little piece of the whole that makes Fairmont State such a great place to learn.”