The Fairmont State Foundation serves as the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of Fairmont State University, and recently welcomed five new members to its Board of Directors. New Board of Directors members include Kathy Martin, K. Alex Miller, II, Chad Riley, John Wilson and Dixie Yann.
“It is my pleasure to welcome this group of new Board members,” said Gary K. Bennett, Fairmont State Foundation President. “Collectively they bring a tremendous amount of talent and expertise to the board.”
Kathy Martin is a 1995 graduate of Fairmont State with a Board of Regents degree. Martin is the owner-broker of KLM Properties, Inc. headquartered in Morgantown. She began her career as an appraiser, then became a licensed sales associate in 1985, and finally a broker in 1989.
Growing up the daughter of a coal miner in Oceana, WV where homes were modest with limited diversity or style, she envisioned herself in a different kind of home when she grew up. That experience led her to a career in real estate. When she is not making her clients dreams of home ownership a reality, she enjoys getting away on her Harley-Davidson motorcycle with her husband, fellow Fairmont State graduate Pat Martin (’75), and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
K. Alex Miller, II is a 2001 graduate of Fairmont State with a bachelor’s in business administration. He is a founding partner of Miller Law Offices in Fairmont, where he practices law with his father, Kenneth R. Miller (’65). As a student at Fairmont State, Miller was named four times to the President’s List and received multiple awards as a student athlete. He graduated from West Virginia University School of Law in 2004 and began his career at the Gary Morris Law Office in Weston.
Miller concentrated his efforts in the area of oil and gas law, gaining extensive experience in the field. In addition to his work in the oil and gas industry, he later joined the law firm of Higginbotham & Higginbotham in Fairmont working to litigate personal injury cases.
Chad Riley is a 1995 graduate of Fairmont State University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology. A 2008 Fairmont State Outstanding Young Alumnus, Riley serves on the University’s technology advisory committee and has been a part of many of the building projects that have taken place on campus in recent years.
Riley has served as CEO of the Thrasher Group since 2016 and manages overall operations of the company providing leadership and strategic oversight for each of the 10 office locations. With a passion for economic growth, he has been actively involved in more than 20 economic development projects through the state including industrial parks and strategically designed sites for manufacturing and commercial clients.
John Wilson graduated from Fairmont State with a bachelor’s in accounting in 1988. Wilson is a certified public accountant with Schmidt & Wilson, LLC in Pittsburgh, PA. Wilson is also a co-owner and co-founder of Cox Well Service, LLC in Spencer.
After completing his four-year degree and graduating Summa Cum Laude from Fairmont State, he completed his master’s in accounting at WVU and later the master’s of tax program at Robert Morris University. Wilson worked for Deloitte, Haskins, & Sells, a Big Eight accounting firm in Pittsburgh and later joined the corporate tax department of PNC Bank where he spent 13 years before starting his own practice.
Dixie Yann recently completed her term on the Fairmont State University Board of Governors, serving since 2012. Yann is active in the community with several organizations including the Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation, United Way and Marion County Meals on Wheels, which she co-founded. In addition to helping meet the needs of her community, she and her husband Frank enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.
“We are thrilled to welcome this exceptional group of leaders to our Foundation Board of Directors,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Each of them are experts in their industries, and bring a unique, meaningful perspective to the Board. I am certain that each of these leaders will continue to represent our Falcon Family well.”
In addition, new officers were elected to the Foundation Board of Directors. Nick Oxley (‘01), a Wealth Advisor for Buckingham Strategic Wealth, will serve as Chair. Oxley received a bachelor’s in finance from Fairmont State and has an MBA from West Virginia University. He resides in Charleston where he is active with several non-profits. Kim Pellillo, an Associate Agent with Dick Moore Insurance Agency, will serve as Vice-Chair. Kevin Wilfong (’77), President and Owner of Middletown Properties and Wilfong Enterprises, will serve as Secretary. Roger Stewart, President and CEO of Soles Electric Company, was re-elected to serve as Treasurer.
The Fairmont State Black Student Union Alumni Association has created a new scholarship in support of the student organization they serve.
The Fairmont State University Black Student Union Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship will be available to active, working members of Fairmont State University’s Black Student Union. Qualifying students who are sophomores, juniors or seniors will demonstrate academic success, along with campus and community engagement in order to be eligible. Black Student Union Legacy members are also eligible for this scholarship.
“The Fairmont State Foundation is beyond grateful that the Black Student Union Alumni Association has come together to establish an endowment that will continue their mission in creating equal access to opportunities for students while enhancing student’s success,” said Fairmont State Foundation Development Officer, Tori Anselene. “I am excited for them to leave an everlasting legacy here at Fairmont State University for years to come.”
Fairmont State’s Black Student Union was established to foster open dialogue among students of color, the Student Government Association and school administration with the goal of creating equal access to opportunities. Additionally, the organization strives for fair educational, cultural and social acceptance at Fairmont State University.
“The creation of this endowment will support students who are working toward a future of diversity, equity and inclusion in education.” stated Fairmont State Foundation President, Gary K. Bennett.
From its inception in 1969, the Black Student Union has been active on campus and within the community. Black Student Union activities include leading the BSU Gospel Choir, holding events for Homecoming and offering special programs at local churches in celebration of Black History Month each year. The organization currently hosts programming to address and encourage African American and multicultural education.
“I feel that my college experience up until now would not have been the same without a group like BSU, so I am truly thankful for those that came before me,” said Fairmont State Black Student Union President, Peyton Barnes. “I am so very grateful for the Black Student Union Alumni Association for their kindness and generosity for a cause such as this one, and I hope it is able to impact students and their collegiate experience for many years to come.”
When asked why the Black Student Union Alumni Association chose to establish this scholarship, Jacqueline Dooley, President and Chair of the organization, explained, “The Black Student Union alumni want to offer a helping hand, reaching back to deserving youth to lift them up and aid in their academic success with this financial support.”
“The Black Student Union, through its members and activities, adds so much to the fabric of our Falcon Family,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “They deepen and expand our culture and strengthen the quality of our campus life. I’m so grateful to the Black Student Union Alumni Association, because through this endowed scholarship, they’re helping future generations of Falcons pursue their dreams as those students continue the work of the Black Student Union and enrich the lives of everyone at Fairmont State.”
The Fairmont State Black Student Union Alumni Association serves as a catalyst to reunite former students for social, cultural, educational and community experiences. The organization serves as mentors to current Black Student Union members at Fairmont State University in various academic disciplines to assist in career development opportunities.