The foundation established by University of Alabama head coach and Monongah native Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, has funded a scholarship to honor Kerry Marbury, a long-time family friend who died in June.
“The older we get, the clearer it becomes that true friendships go beyond distance and time and circumstances,” said Nick Saban. “If one has but a few true friends, then indeed, that is the richest treasure of all. Kerry Marbury was a friend from childhood who was like a member of my family.”
The Kerry Marbury Memorial Scholarship, established by the Nick’s Kids Foundation, will provide funds to Fairmont State students from Marion County with financial need starting in fall 2020.
Marbury died from cancer June 23 at his home in Fairmont. He graduated from Monongah High School, where he and Saban were classmates and teammates. Marbury teamed with Saban to lead Monongah to consecutive Class A state championships in 1968 and 1969. He finished with more than 6,000 rushing yards in his prep career, including 402 in a game against Kingwood.
Marbury earned such honors as All-State in 1968 and 1969, All-American in 1969, West Virginia Back of the Year in 1969, and ranked in the top 100 players in the United States in 1969.
“My father, Nick Saban Sr., coached Kerry and me on the Black Diamond Pop Warner football team, and Kerry and I were teammates on the Monongah High football team, winning the 1968 and 1969 Class A state championships together. No matter where our paths took us, Kerry always stayed in touch and showed his support and caring.”
In high school, Marbury lettered in football for four years, track for four years, and basketball for two years. He played football at WVU from 1971-1972, and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1976, but eventually left football by the age of 24.
Marbury rushed for 1,665 yards and 22 touchdowns over the 1971 and 1972 seasons at WVU. He carried the ball 145 times for 890 yards as a sophomore, before rushing for 775 yards on 150 attempts as a junior.
He also set the school’s single-game rushing record with 291 yards rushing against Temple, a mark that has since been topped.
“Kerry will always be remembered not only for his talent as a football player, but also for his true grit and determination in overcoming adversity in his life to become a positive impact on others in his community,” Saban said. “We hope that this scholarship will help other local young adults continue their education to positively impact their lives and that it will honor Kerry Marbury's name.”
Marbury attended Fairmont State University, where he earned his bachelor’s in 1990. He earned his master’s from West Virginia University in 1991.
“Fairmont State University is thrilled and touched to offer The Kerry Marbury Memorial Scholarship on behalf of the Nick’s Kids Foundation,” Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, said. “We are thrilled because this scholarship will give deserving kids – those hard-working Marion County students with financial need who seek a Fairmont State education – the support they need to succeed. But it’s also touching, knowing the history of deep friendship and love between the scholarship’s namesake and Nick Saban. That same spirit of friendship and family is intertwined with everything we do at Fairmont State.”
Marbury became a professor of Humanities and Race, Class, and Gender at Fairmont State University, as well as a Fairmont State University Safety Director.
“Kerry Marbury’s legacy will live on in perpetuity through this endowed scholarship,” said Julie R. Cryser, Fairmont State Foundation president. “This is such a fitting tribute to a friend, classmate and teammate, and we thank the Sabans for their generosity and support of our Fairmont State students, especially those from Marion County who have financial need.”
The Nick's Kids Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and resources for deserving organizations throughout the state of Alabama and Southeast. As the official charity of the Nick Saban Family, Nick and Terry invest their time in hosting luncheons, golf tournaments scrimmages, and other events to benefit the cause. They are also active in the Annual Fall Giveaway Luncheon, which serves to distribute grants to support children, family, teacher, and student causes.
In 1998, during their time at Michigan State University, Nick and Terry Saban established Nick's Kids Foundation in honor of the late Nick Saban, Sr. Since then, the Sabans have maintained and supported their charity throughout their careers at Louisiana State University, the Miami Dolphins, and currently at the University of Alabama.
To date, Nick's Kids Foundation has distributed over $6 million to hundreds of deserving organizations and causes. Additionally, Nick and Terry Saban have personally completed their donation of $1 million to the First-Generation Scholarship at the University of Alabama. The Sabans are proud to be major sponsors of new the St. Francis Saban Student Center at their church, St. Francis Catholic.
The Fairmont State Foundation held its inaugural Scholarship & Stewardship Banquet Friday, September 13, celebrating a successful scholarship campaign and honoring more than a dozen donors by introducing them to students and faculty affected by their gifts.
“The Fairmont State Foundation’s mission is, in short, to support Fairmont State University, its students, faculty and staff,” said Julie R. Cryser, Foundation President. “By honoring those donors who have helped to ensure an affordable education for students and those whose donations have supported our programs and projects, we are acknowledging the sacrifice they have made to assist our Falcon Family, as well as their loyalty and kindness of spirit.”
The foundation finished its fiscal year June 30 having exceeded its $1.3 million Every Gift Matters scholarship campaign by more than $700,000, topping more than $2 million in scholarship support. It also saw two of the school’s largest gifts from living donors, a $1 million scholarship gift and the largest gift in the history of the athletics program.
Jed and Vicki Smith were named the Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year. They were also inducted into the President’s Circle for having given more than $1 million over their lifetime. “Our legacy was not what we did to make a living or for recognition, it is what we’ve done to make a difference,” Jed Smith, who was unable to attend, said in a written statement. “Thank you so much for this award and the recognition and we hope that through our gift, our Falcon Family of students will soar!” Jed Smith is a 1974 graduate of Fairmont Senior High School and earned his bachelor’s in business administration in 1968 from Fairmont State. He paid for college working at a supermarket and also helped support two fraternity brothers. He and Vicki Smith started Smith Company Motor Cars in 1994 and never looked back. This year they generously donated $1 million for scholarships in the School of Business and general university. It was the largest gift from a living donor that the foundation has ever received.
The Philanthropic Corporation of the Year Award was given to Dan Cava Toyota World. Dan and Machelle Cava and their family of Dan Cava Toyota World agreed to a five-year sponsorship agreement that will give the dealership the official naming rights to the court inside Joe Retton Arena. The court will now be named Dan Cava Toyota World Court. The sponsorship agreement is one of the largest in history for the Department of Athletics.
The Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation award went to the Mon Health Foundation, represented by Mon Health Medical Center Executive Director of Philanthropy Luella Gunter and the foundation’s vice-chair, Stephanie Stovash. In the spring, the foundation generously provided a $200,000 commitment to our nursing program to support hiring new faculty to educate more nurses. The foundation is the philanthropic arm of the health system dedicated to helping improve facilities and support community health career scholarships.
Fred and Linda Cooper, who were also inducted into the 1865 Heritage Society for planned giving, were named Legacy Leaders. Fred Cooper was originally from Weston and Linda Cooper from Clarksburg. They both graduated in 1966 with degrees in Physical Education and Recreation, respectively. Fred Cooper made a long and successful career working with the YMCA, first as assistant physical director in Middletown Ohio and finishing his career there in late 1999 after 16 years as the executive director of the Middletown Area YMCA. The two now reside in Central Florida, where they have lived the past 20 years. Fred and Linda’s bequest will be utilized for scholarships for students who have financial need.
Gary K. Bennett received the Leadership in Philanthropy Award, which goes to an individual who demonstrates exceptional leadership skills in the coordination and motivation of other donors, asking them to follow their philanthropic lead. Bennett, from Webster Springs originally, graduated from Fairmont State in 1972 with a Bachelor’s in business administration and earned his Master’s from West Virginia University in 1973. He taught at WVU until 1980 but returned to his alma mater in August 1980 to teach accounting and finance. As a leader in the community, Bennett has served on the boards of dozens of organizations. While teaching full time and volunteering, he also had his own practice. As recognition for his relentless efforts, the foundation announced it would name the award for Bennett, and next year will give out the Gary K. Bennett Philanthropy Leadership Award.
Also honored Friday were Carson and Liza Drake, who this spring established the Carson B. Drake Engineering Scholarship to support engineering students from Braxton County. Carson is a 1986 Electronics Engineering Technology graduate and co-founder of Gray Matter, a Pennsylvania company that transforms manufacturing companies into technology companies. The first scholarships will be awarded in fall 2020.
David Gibson, represented by his sister, Ruth Spino who, through his estate, established the David H. Gibson Fund, a permanent endowment to fund scholarships in the School of Business to students who demonstrate a primary interest in the area of sales and sales management. Gibson graduated in August 1972 with a bachelor’s in business administration. Spino said that David’s legacy was his love for Fairmont State. He passed in the spring of 2018.
Joanne Van Horne, represented by her step-brother, Gary Freeman, was posthumously recognized as well for establishing the Nepal Honors Scholarship through her estate. This scholarship is for international students, with first preference to students from the Kingdom of Nepal. Van Horne was a professor of history and “Jody Mam” to students throughout her career at Fairmont State. She passed in August 2018 after battling cancer for more than a decade.
Dr. Mirta Martin and John Martin, for recognized for establishing the Mirta and John Martin Jr. Endowed Scholarship for first-generation college students. Dr. Martin is the president of Fairmont State University, and John, is an engineer with his own company.