A Fairmont native and his family hope that through their newly established scholarship, West Virginia students who wish to pursue an education at Fairmont State will achieve their academic and life goals.
“We want to help provide assistance to West Virginia students to avail themselves of the many opportunities that a Fairmont State University education can provide,” said Dr. Errol Reese, who received his bachelor’s degree from Fairmont State in 1960 and his doctorate of dentistry from West Virginia University in 1963.
The Dr. Edgar B. Reese and Elizabeth Reese Scholarship, named for his parents, will provide scholarships to students from West Virginia, with first preference to those with financial need. The first scholarship will be awarded in fall 2020.
“We wanted to honor our parents in a way they would be proud of and consistent with their values,” Reese said.
“Our parents provided me, my brother Charles L. Reese, and my sisters Emmajo Reese Shearer and Jane Reese Oreskovich, who all attended Fairmont State, with endless support and encouragement --simply excellent parents and role models,” Reese said. All four siblings agreed to establishing the scholarship endowment to honor their parents.
Reese’s parents were active in the Fairmont community and his father dedicated his life as a local dentist.
“He and our mother were pillars of the community, always assisting in the schools and local organizations to make Fairmont a better place,” he said.
“Our student population has a higher percentage of native West Virginians than any other school in the state,” Fairmont State University Dr. Mirta M. Martin said. “So, a scholarship like this that enables West Virginian students – with a priority on those with financial need – to pursue their dreams is particularly impactful. In establishing the Dr. Edgar B. Reese and Elizabeth Reese Scholarship, the Reese family said they wanted to honor their parents and make them proud. Fairmont State is committed to making this family proud they’ve honored us and entrusted us with this generous gift.”
Reese began his higher education career at Fairmont State just one week after graduating from East Fairmont High School. His goal was to complete the combined bachelor’s degree program in two regular academic years plus five summer sessions, to help lower the costs for attending college for his parents.
“It was challenging to schedule subjects and prerequisites in proper sequence with the intent of entering dental school before I graduated from Fairmont State,” he said. “Every advisor, department chair and faculty member provided total assistance and supported the attainment of my goals. My educational and life experiences at Fairmont State University and WVU helped me achieve the successes in my long career in dentistry, dental education and university administration.”
Reese started his career in the United States Army Dental Corps. His career took off after serving his country and earning a master’s degree and specialty training in prosthodontics at the University of Detroit. He joined the faculty of the University of Maryland at Baltimore and spent decades in academia as a professor and dean. He ended his career in higher education in the United States as the president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore in 1994 but then worked with the World Health Organization and served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Dublin, Trinity College, in Ireland.
Among some of his greatest accomplishments, Reese was a founding member of the Faculty Dental Service Plan, an incorporated intramural group faculty practice plan at the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, where he practiced Prosthodontics from 1968 to 1990. He was also a member of a World Health Organization Expert Panel and assisted in the development of an intra-country education center in Thailand.
He has received many honors, including the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award, the J. Ben Robinson Memorial Award presented by the American college of Dentists (Maryland Section), and the Distinguished Service Award presented by the Maryland State Dental Association. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Detroit Mercy.
“There is no greater legacy for our family than assistance to future FSU students,” Reese said. “Just reflect on what FSU has meant and continues to mean to the Reese family."
During the inaugural Fairmont State University Day of Giving more than 370 donors helped to raise nearly $200,000 setting a record for the most gifts the University has ever received in one day.
“We’re so proud of the Fairmont State University community of alumni and friends who came together to show the power of philanthropy,” Julie R. Cryser, president of the Fairmont State Foundation, said. The Foundation raises money on Fairmont State University’s behalf.
“Our goal was to bring awareness to the opportunities that exist to make real change in the lives of our Fairmont State University students, and we met and exceeded that goal,” she said.
Fairmont State University Athletics had the highest number of donors and received a little more than $80,000 to support scholarships and athletic teams. More than $22,000 was raised to support athletic scholarships alone.
“I would like to thank Julie Cryser and all Day of Giving ambassadors for their hard work during this year’s inaugural Day of Giving,” Chad Fowler, Director of Athletic, said. “Financial support is critical to our teams and student athletes and we are pleased with the overwhelming support we received during Day of Giving.”
On the academic side, the School of Business & Aviation raised nearly $30,000 to support students and faculty within the school. The College of Liberals Arts came in second on the academic side, raising nearly $18,000.
The Fairmont State Foundation raised more than $17,000 for overall academic scholarship support, which has been a focus for President Mirta M. Martin.
“When I talk about the impact of the Falcon Family, I mean it!” Dr. Martin said. “By raising nearly $200,000 in a single day, our friends, families, and alumni, here and around the world, are making it possible for Fairmont State to uphold its promise to provide an exceptional, affordable education and a one-of-a-kind college experience to our students.”
A variety of individuals and local businesses helped with rallying support during the event by creating matches and challenges, creating a sense of competition between the various academic and athletic units.
“We can’t thank those who helped us along the way with matches and challenges enough,” said Cryser. “Without their support, we would never have been successful.”
The Day of Giving the final numbers are still being calculated. Donors who may have missed giving and wish to still give can go to fsufoundation.org.
Thanks to donors, the Fairmont State Foundation can give more than $1 million annually in scholarships to Fairmont State University students and support a variety of academic and athletic initiatives.
Fairmont State University professor Dr. John McLaughlin is working to help police officers looking to attend college by creating the Dr. John E. McLaughlin Police Scholarship.
McLaughlin, a criminal justice professor, grew up in Miami-Dade County, Florida, where he started his career in law enforcement after receiving his bachelor’s degree. After 26 years, earning his master’s and doctorate degrees, he retired as a lieutenant in the economic crime bureau heading up the Mortgage Fraud Task Force.
Inspired by the program in Miami-Dade County that allowed him to earn his degree, McLaughlin decided it was time to create a similar program at Fairmont State University. The scholarship will provide funding starting in fall 2020 for students who have worked at least two years as a city, county or state police officer to attend Fairmont State either part-time or full-time.
“I decided to donate to the Fairmont State Foundation after seeing a need in the policing community. This allows officers to get their education and become better officers,” McLaughlin said. "Many of the local departments do not offer tuition reimbursement."
Fairmont State Foundation President Julie R. Cryser said law enforcement is such a noble profession. Having a scholarship that will allow those in the profession to further their education is a great resource.
“We are so appreciative for the support that Dr. McLaughlin is providing for local police officers to ensure they are able to continue their education,” she said. “We hope that others will join in this worthy effort to help our city, county and state police become even better educated.”
Fairmont State University President Dr. Mirta Martin said a chance to help others continue their education is an incredible gift.
“Our nation’s police officers are professionals who selflessly protect our communities each and every day,” Martin said. “They deserve the best our communities can offer in return, and via the Dr. John E. McLaughlin Police Scholarship, worthy law enforcement professionals will have the chance to further their education at Fairmont State – a school that truly appreciates their service.”
McLaughlin completed his master’s at Florida International University, where he began teaching part-time after he finished, and doctorate at Lynn University.
“Miami-Dade had a program where they provided tuition reimbursement for all employees. After you completed each course, they would reimburse you 50 percent of your tuition,” he said. “For that reason, I started taking graduate classes and got into a routine and did not stop until I got my master’s and doctorate. I was working two jobs while earning my doctorate. I used the money that I received from teaching and the reimbursements to pay for my education, so I did not have to take out loans.”
In 2013, he came to Fairmont State University as a professor in the Criminal Justice Program, teaching police operations, criminal investigations, crime scene investigations, Spanish for law enforcement, terrorism, advanced criminal law and homeland security.
He also serves, for the past two years, at the Rivesville Police Department and is currently the police chief.
“Being a police officer is an enormously rewarding career when you get to help people stay on track and not let them go down the wrong path in life,” he said. “I also really like chasing and recovering stolen cars.”
McLaughlin said that he would encourage others who can to give to support scholarships for law enforcement.