The Smith's children, Sherry Brown, Sherry's husband Dave Brown, Sue Post, and Eugene “Bob” Smith, chose to establish the Fellows Program after recognizing the unique needs of first generation college students.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Smith family,” said Fairmont State University Interim President Dianna Phillips. “As a family with three first-generation college graduates, they have a deep understanding of the profound impacts of higher education. They also have a keen understanding of the unique challenges faced by first-generation students and their needs while transitioning to life on a college campus. These gifts will allow us to continue to provide critical services to our campus community, specifically our first-generation students, while serving our mission to provide a transformative education.”
The first class of fellows were named during the summer of 2022 and were provided the opportunity for an immersive orientation experience. Fellows spent a week at Fairmont State learning about the academic resources available to them through the University and learning to navigate the campus.
Meals, lodging and all activities are provided at no cost to students participating in the Datha and Gene Smith summer program. Following their summer immersion experience, fellows will continue to receive weekly academic and coaching support from peer mentors. As this pilot program evolves, it will serve as a powerful recruiting and retention tool for the University.
In addition to the launch of the Summer Bridge program, the existing Learning Enrichment and Academic Development (LEAD) Center – a tutoring and testing center – has been renamed the Datha & Gene Smith Center. In years past, the Smiths have also established a need-based scholarship and provided support for the Frank and Jane Gabor Folklife Center facility.
Datha and Gene Smith, both native West Virginians, spent most of their lives in Marion County, West Virginia before retiring to Florida. Their children and five of their grandchildren attended Fairmont State.
“This gift from the Teahan family ensures that students can broaden their educational exploration with immersive travel experiences that complement their fields of study. Opportunities to study abroad can be life-changing for college students, providing invaluable perspectives and fostering curiosity,” said Rae Dyer, Fairmont State Foundation President. “Each student who benefits from this scholarship will honor Midge’s love for exploration and learning. We celebrate the Teahan family for providing this opportunity at Fairmont State University.”
Teahan’s children Julie Teahan, Margaret Teahan, and John Teahan wish to share with students the love of learning and exploration that inspired their mother to travel around the world.
“You only grow when you’re uncomfortable, and often you need to leave what you know to grow,” said Julie Teahan. “We thought this scholarship would give students an opportunity to experience a different culture, place, and from that grow.”
The Teahan family believes in the words of Irish poet W.B. Yeats to describe the life experiences of Midge and those they wish for Fairmont State University through the Midge Teahan Travel Scholarship, “There is another world, but it is in this one.”
“This scholarship presented by the Teahan family will open doors for many Fairmont State students to step into the international world and experience new communities and cultures,” said Coordinator of Educational Pathway for International Centers and Students Sarah Sakaguchi. “As a university, it is our mission to create global citizens and even more, global leaders. Students who travel abroad are more likely to graduate, to succeed, and have higher marketability in the job market. As we are revitalizing Study Abroad in a post pandemic world, understanding international cultures and fostering relationships is incredibly important and we are so grateful for this opportunity that the Teahan family has provided.”
The Midge Teahan Travel Scholarship will be available for undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled full-time and have applied for a study abroad program. Preference will be given to undergraduate students. Students must be a resident of West Virginia and maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
For the fourth year in a row, Fairmont State University embarked on its annual Falcon Day of Giving on Thursday, October 27. During this 24-hour fundraising marathon, 891 alumni and friends joined together to raise more than $375,000 supporting 44 colleges and programs throughout campus. During this year’s Day of Giving, donors provided nearly $109,000 for scholarships, and $174,000 for athletic programs.
“We are so grateful for the alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community that came together to make this year’s Falcon Day of Giving a success” said Fairmont State Foundation President, Rachel Rae Dyer. “This year we’ve seen record engagement and record giving. It takes the entire Falcon Community coming together to support the important work of Fairmont State University. The generosity demonstrated on Day of Giving is a clear indication of the transformational impact Fairmont State University has had on the lives of so many. We want to ensure that everyone who participated knows how meaningful their gifts were. The results are both humbling and inspiring.”
Academic units raised close to $70,000 for departments, programs, and special initiatives. An additional $77,347 in gifts were earmarked for academic scholarships this year.
“The Day of Giving contributions have become a meaningful financial boost to each of the academic units. These dollars help support various needs across the campus such as scholarships, faculty development, teaching and/or learning enhancements,” according to Dr. Timothy Oxley, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Regardless of the initiatives or programs these very generous contributions support, the focus is centered on improving the students’ learning experience. We are grateful to those who see the Day of Giving as a worthwhile endeavor.”
The College of Liberal Arts raised the most dollars for a college or school this year, earning $30,710 for several programs, including the Academy for the Arts and the Community Arts program.
“The Academy for the Arts and Community Arts programs at Fairmont State University are so incredibly grateful for all of the very generous donors we had on Falcon Day of Giving,” Leigh Anne Bolyard, Director of Performing Arts Outreach and Development expressed. “The support from our community during our Falcon Day of Giving kickoff concert and Falcon Day of Giving was incredible. These donations will help us continue to provide the top-notch performing arts experiences that our community is accustomed to seeing at Fairmont State University.”
Gifts for the Academy for the Arts program will provide scholarships for students, fund the Youth Theatre Company Spring Musicals, and support visiting artists for youth masterclasses. Donations for Community Arts will go toward the purchase of microphones for use during theatre productions and audio/visual monitor system upgrades. These gifts will also help to offset the cost of the Town and Gown Community plays and musicals and allow for visiting artists to perform free community concerts.
Athletics raised $174,271 for team sports and athletic programs, and an additional $31,455 for athletic scholarships. These gifts will allow the department to increase scholarships for deserving students-athletes, permit the purchase of specialized training equipment, and help offset the cost of increased travel expenses.
“I can’t say enough about the support the Athletics Department received on Day of Giving. The generosity of our Falcon Fans was evident to all,” said Greg Bamberger, Director of Athletics. “Ultimately, your gifts will help to enhance our programs in many ways. Whether you are a parent, a student-athlete (past or present), University staff or faculty, alum, or a friend of the Fighting Falcons, your generosity is greatly, greatly appreciated.”
“What a day our Day of Giving was!” Dr. Dianna Phillips, Fairmont State’s Interim President, said. “Once again, this community showed its generosity and its commitment to our shared mission of making educational and professional dreams come true. I am so grateful for this community—each year on our Day of Giving we rally together to manifest a shared responsibility to sustain and enrich the life-changing experience of a Fairmont State education.”
Special events leading up to Falcon Day of Giving included a mini-golf tournament hosted by the College of Business and Aviation, a kick-off concert hosted by the Community Arts program, and a happy hour event hosted by the Fairmont State Foundation and the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.
During Day of Giving festivities, the Sweet Taste of Victory challenge was held again this year. 9 of the 17 coaches were rewarded with a pie in the face for having 40 or more donors support their respective teams. Additionally, Athletic Director Greg Bamberger received a pie in the face in recognition of the number of donors surpassing 300 for athletics overall.
A dunk tank challenge was introduced this year, allowing willing participants to risk a plunge in exchange for dollars toward their preferred department or program. Courageous volunteers included Dr. Alyssa Schwartz on behalf of the Marching Band, Dr. Paul Reneau on behalf of Health & Human Performance, Jeff McCormick on behalf of the Police Academy, Justin Rader on behalf of Student Government and Spencer Flanagan on behalf of the Staff Council Scholarship. In celebration of meeting the goal, Dr. Dianna Phillips took the plunge herself on Friday afternoon.
Fairmont State University and the Fairmont State Foundation wish to thank all of our donors, ambassadors, and volunteers for participating in the 2022 Falcon Day of Giving.
A Marion County family has provided a gift of $26,000 to Fairmont State University to create a new scholarship for future teachers. The donation will establish the Roman and Amelia Prezioso Endowed Scholarship benefitting students in the Teacher Education program in the College of Education, Health & Human Performance.
Roman Prezioso Jr., his wife, Deborah Prezioso, and his sister, Marie Prezioso, have established the scholarship in honor of the parents of Roman Jr. and Marie. The Prezioso family wishes to honor the value that their parents and grandparents placed on education with this generous gift.
“My grandparents came to the United States in the early 1900s to make a living, practice their religion and educate their children. My parents, Roman Sr. and Amelia, held the same values and encouraged me and my sister to pursue college degrees after high school,” Roman Jr. said. “We believe the education of our youth is the foundation of our state and country.”
When asked why the family chose to support students at Fairmont State, Prezioso Jr. said, “Higher education has given our family tremendous opportunities for success. Additionally, the Teacher Education program at Fairmont State is one of the best of its kind, making this endowed scholarship for future teachers an easy choice. We are honored and humbled to give back so that others will be able to achieve their dreams.”
Roman Prezioso Jr. is a 1971 graduate of Fairmont State who went on to serve in education administration and as a West Virginia State Senator. Deborah Prezioso completed her education at Fairmont State in 1973 and is a retired elementary school teacher. Marie Prezioso is a retired investment banker who currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Virginia Water Development Authority.
“Quality educators are foundational to our society, and Fairmont State has a rich history of preparing highly skilled professionals for the classroom,” said Foundation President, Rae Dyer. “Through the generosity of the Prezioso family, we can continue the tradition of teacher education, and ensure deserving students have access to the focused and personalized education experience offered by the University. We are so grateful that the Preziosos have chosen to honor Roman Sr. and Amelia with this gift.”
The Roman and Amelia Prezioso Endowed Scholarship will be available to students enrolled in the Teacher Education program at Fairmont State University’s College of Education, Health & Human Performance. Students should maintain a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Preference will be given to students from Marion County, W.Va.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Prezioso family,” said Fairmont State University Interim President, Dianna Phillips. “Our region and state continue to face a critical teacher shortage within our K-12 schools. Through this gift the Preziosos are affording us the opportunity to continue combating this crisis head on, while ensuring transformative opportunities for future generations of educators.”
The Fairmont State Foundation has announced the addition of three new members to its Board of Directors, including Taylor Downs, John Guido and Christina Lavorata.
“We are so enthusiastic to have these highly capable and genuinely caring individuals join our board,” said Fairmont State Foundation President, Rachel Rae Dyer. “Their willingness to step up and serve at such a meaningful time in our organization’s history shows their dedication to the success of the Fairmont State Foundation as we pursue our mission to serve and support the students of Fairmont State University. We are grateful to them for taking on this important role, and we look forward to welcoming them to our Falcon Community.”
Taylor Downs is a member and attorney at Manchin Injury Law Group in Fairmont, and a member and attorney at Manchin Ferretti, PLLC in Martinsburg. He earned his JD from West Virginia University in 2011, following degrees in history and political science from Shepherd University in 2008. In addition to more than 10 years of experience in personal injury law, Downs has extensive experience serving on boards for professional associations and regional agencies, including the American Association for Justice, the WV Association for Justice, the South Fairmont Rotary and the Marion County Rescue Squad.
John Guido is a partner with Baker Tilly US, LLP. He has 40 years of domestic and international audit and accounting experience in various industry sectors, including privately owned and publicly held business entities. He is a leader on issues regarding federal program compliance audits performed under Uniform Guidance, audits of employee benefit plans subject to requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as well as public company audits performed under the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and regulations of the Securities Exchange Commission.
Christina Lavorata is a 1970 graduate of Fairmont State with a degree in elementary education. She also holds an MA and an Ed.D. from West Virginia University. Lavorata taught in Marion County schools from 1971 through 1998, before joining the faculty in the Education Department at Fairmont State. In 2004, she transitioned from teaching to administrative roles, serving as associate provost and provost at Fairmont State until 2018.
Fairmont State University Interim President, Dianna Phillips, also provided welcoming remarks to the new board members.
“The board has done such an incredible job in successfully identifying talented new members. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with them, the entire board and President Dyer over the next year," Phillips said.
The new members were approved at the Fairmont State Foundation Board of Directors Annual meeting in June, beginning their tenure as board members on July 1. The Foundation Board of Directors is led by Chair, Nick Oxley, Vice-Chair, Kim Pellillo, Secretary, Kevin Wilfong, and Treasurer, Roger Stewart.
On Monday, July 11, Rachel Rae Dyer joined the Fairmont State Foundation as president. Dyer brings a diverse collection of professional and educational experiences to this role. She holds an MBA from West Virginia University, BS from Linfield College and a BA from Hiram College.
In addition to her educational background, Dyer has more than 20 years of experience in business and management in various industries including manufacturing, government, non-profits and construction.
“My education and experience have given me a great deal of insight leading diverse teams,” said Dyer. “Most importantly, I have learned the importance of trust, communication and encouragement in the success of a team. I am privileged to join the established and capable team at the Fairmont State Foundation. I thrive in environments where we bring people, ideas and action together for the betterment of the organization and everyone it serves.”
In recent years, Dyer has worked as a financial advisor and business consultant while serving as an adjunct instructor and curriculum developer for the Morgantown campus of West Virginia Junior College.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I am thrilled to welcome Rae to the Fairmont State Foundation family,” said Foundation board president, Nick Oxley. “Rae’s strong sense of purpose, visionary leadership, strategic perspective and diverse experience made her standout as the best candidate to lead the Fairmont State Foundation. Our board looks forward to Rae and our talented team continuing the legacy of success at the Fairmont State Foundation.”
Dyer is committed to serving her community. She is a US Air Force veteran, and she is involved with Choose West Virginia, the RCBI Workforce Advisory Board, the CASA of Marion County Board and the advisory board for Learning Options, Inc.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rae to our campus community, and fortunate for the opportunity to serve alongside her as we partner to move the Institution forward, together,” said Fairmont State University Interim President, Dianna Phillips. “We look forward to the growth experienced under Rae’s leadership and continuing to work in collaboration with the Foundation with her at the helm.”
When asked what she’s looking forward to as she settles into her new role at the Foundation, Dyer explained, “I am eager to meet and immerse myself in the Falcon Community. As a resident of Fairmont, I have witnessed the tight bond and passion for success that the students, alumni, faculty and staff have for Fairmont State University. I look forward to working with the team and representing the Foundation, and Fairmont State University, to the best of my ability. I work hard, and I care deeply. I see the same traits in Falcons. I’m so excited to be a part of a wonderful and welcoming community.”
When she finds free time, Dyer enjoys yoga, gardening and quiet time with a book.
Fairmont State University’s Academy for the Arts receives $10,000 grant from Truist West Virginia Foundation
Fairmont State University’s Academy for the Arts has received a $10,000 grant from the Truist West Virginia Foundation to provide need-based scholarships to be applied to student tuition for camps, classes and private lessons throughout the summer and 2022 – 2023 academic year.
“We are incredibly grateful for this gift from the Truist West Virginia Foundation,” said Fairmont State University Director of Performing Arts Outreach and Development, Leigh Anne Riley. “Providing scholarship opportunities for students within our communities allows us to increase access to quality training and exposure to the arts. We understand that many in our area are experiencing financial hardships, and we aim to address such needs and support these families and individuals through the utilization of these grant funds.”
The Truist West Virginia Foundation grant will enable Fairmont State University’s Academy for the Arts to expand both access and awareness of the educational programing made available to Marion County residents and the surrounding region. In addition to providing need-based scholarships to students and families, the Academy for the Arts aims to increase access to programming through the introduction of supplemental virtual instruction options along with the establishment of a network of contacts among schools, libraries and other community stakeholders to distribute ongoing information about scholarship and programming opportunities to potential students.
“We’re pleased to support Fairmont State University’s Academy for the Arts,” said Jacqueline Keene, Executive Director for the Truist West Virginia Foundation. “Truist is committed to our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities, and we believe the Truist West Virginia Foundation contribution to Fairmont State University will help make a difference in the lives of many.”
Both full or partial scholarship options are currently available for students from ages ranging toddler to adult. For more information, visit www.fairmontstate.edu/academyforthearts. To access a scholarship application, contact Lbolyard1@fairmontstate.edu or 304-333-3655.
About the Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts
The Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts was established in 2012. The Academy for the Arts is dedicated to providing students with quality training and exposure to the arts. Instruction in visual art, music, dance, and theatre enables students to appreciate, perform and create. The Academy utilizes Fairmont State facilities and highly qualified instructors drawn from Fairmont State faculty and area teachers. The Academy uses the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts standards as a base for its curriculum. The Academy for the Arts is integral to Fairmont State University’s long-standing identification with its community, in particular the cultural and social development of the region.
About Truist West Virginia Foundation
The Truist West Virginia Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation's (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Since 2000, the foundation and its predecessors have been making strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist West Virginia Foundation's grants and activities focus on economic development, education, arts, healthcare, social services and financial literacy.
Tim Liebrecht has joined the Fairmont State Foundation staff as the new Director of Development.
Tim holds more than a decade of experience in development roles. In recent years, he has been actively partnering with organizations throughout North-Central West Virginia to promote change and growth in the region. His experience includes fundraising, community development, and economic development.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity to build on the mission of the Fairmont State Foundation.” Tim said when asked why he is excited about his new position. “Fairmont State University is an incredible asset to our region and the state of West Virginia. I look forward to continuing to work with the Fairmont community, alumni and donors to build on the fundraising successes the Foundation has achieved in recent years and create exciting opportunities for students.”
For the last two years, Tim has served as the Executive Director for Main Street Fairmont – a downtown revitalization organization that focuses on economic development, historic preservation, and community engagement. Tim is a native of southeastern Michigan and graduate of Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana. He lives in Morgantown with his wife and two children.
“We are excited to have Tim join our team at the Fairmont State Foundation,” said Foundation President Gary K. Bennett. “His extensive development experience will be an asset for our organization as we look to the future.”
Tim is active in his community and serves as the Worship Leader at Faith Baptist Church in Morgantown. He is the co-founder of the FUEL (Forming United Emerging Leaders) program, in collaboration with the Marion County Chamber of Commerce. Tim was named Young Leader of the Year in 2018 by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce and was selected for the 2018 Generation Next: 40 Under 40.
Two sisters from Marion County, along with family and friends, have chosen to honor the life of their mother with a gift to Fairmont State University, totaling $26,000. The gift will establish the Estaline May Fleming Memorial Scholarship supporting students in the College of Education, Health and Human Performance.
Fairmont native, Estaline May Fleming studied Family and Consumer Sciences at Fairmont State, earning her degree in 1976. Fleming was active in the Fairmont community, serving as a life-long member of the Rock Lake Club, remaining engaged with her sorority, participating in the Mountain Heritage Quilters Guild of Marion County and volunteering with Meals on Wheels.
“By honoring the life and legacy of Estaline May Fleming, her children, family and friends pay exceptional tribute to her support for higher education at Fairmont State University. Establishing a scholarship in her name ensures that her enthusiasm for her community will endure through the educational pursuits of deserving students in the College of Education, Health and Human Performance.” said Gary K. Bennett, President of the Fairmont State Foundation.
Fleming’s daughters, Dr. Judie Charlton and Nan Murray, have chosen to honor her memory with this scholarship because of their family history with the University. Mrs. Fleming and her husband, William “Hoppy” Fleming, were avid supporters of Fairmont State, regularly attending games and events and enjoying the camaraderie of students, employees and fans of the Institution.
“Supporting Fairmont State is important because my family grew up in Fairmont and Fairmont State was always an intricate part of our foundation. My mother and father attended Fairmont State, and my sister and I started our college experience at Fairmont State," Murray said. "Fairmont State has always been a key part of our community."
The Estaline May Fleming Memorial Scholarship will be available to students in the College of Education, Health and Human Performance with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
“We are so grateful for this gift from the family and friends of Estaline May Fleming,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “She had such a deep love for her community – a love borne out by her commitment to service and giving back. Fairmont State shares those values, and The Estaline May Fleming Memorial Scholarship helps us continue to give back to the communities that help us in our mission to provide a transformative education. Scholarship gifts like this one are vital to the University. This scholarship specifically supports students in the College of Education, Health and Human Performance – a college filled with students pursuing degrees in high-need fields – and will have a profound impact on these programs and students, as well as our communities, for years to come.”
The Fairmont State Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the organization’s 2021 philanthropy awards. Awardees will be celebrated during the Fairmont State Foundation Scholarship and Stewardship Banquet planned to take place this fall.
“Congratulations to all the philanthropy award recipients. Your support of Fairmont State is surely a testament to you and of our fine University and the important role it plays in the life of our future leaders.” said President of the Fairmont State Foundation, Gary K. Bennett.
Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year
Tulasi and Marilyn Joshi have been named Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year for 2021 for their proven record of exceptional generosity and demonstrated civic and charitable responsibility. Dr. and Mrs. Joshi committed funds in the fall of 2020 in support of international student recruitment through the newly named Tulasi and Marilyn Joshi Office for Educational Pathways for International Centers & Students.
Dr. and Mrs. Joshi have also been inducted into the Column Society for giving more than $25,000 in their lifetime. They hope their philanthropic support will provide the chance for other international students to seek the dream of education and opportunity and provide the University with a broader global perspective.
Dr. Joshi is a Fairmont State University emeritus faculty member and has been part of the Falcon Family since 1972. He is originally from Nepal and continues to be an advocate for international students.
Gary K. Bennett Philanthropy Leadership Award
Kevin and Tina Rogers earned the Gary K. Bennett Philanthropy Leadership Award for 2021. Named for long-time Fairmont State Foundation board member and current Foundation President Gary K. Bennett, the award recognizes individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills in coordinating and motivating other donors to follow their philanthropic lead for the benefit of Fairmont State University.
Kevin is President of Rogers Electrical, that he founded in 2011. Before founding Rogers Electrical, he operated a similar business for 15 years. Despite his busy work schedule, Kevin always finds time to be an advocate for Fairmont State University. He is a former member of the Fairmont State Foundation Board of Directors and is currently serving on the Fairmont State University Board of Governors.
Philanthropic Corporation of the Year
The 2021 Philanthropic Corporation of the Year Award was given to Equitrans Midstream. To qualify for this award, a corporation must demonstrate outstanding commitment through its financial support and engagement of others in activities that support and advance philanthropy at Fairmont State University.
Equitrans Midstream provided funds for the construction of the Equitrans Midstream Sustainable Shelter, which will cover the purchase of materials, supplies, labor and insurance. The shelter will be used as an outdoor learning space after completion.
As one of North America’s premier midstream services companies, Equitrans has a steadfast commitment to sustainability and understands their responsibility to manage the environmental, social and governance issues that matter most. Through safe, responsible operations and ongoing environmental stewardship activities, their pledge is to conduct business in a socially responsible and ethical manner, respecting their employees, communities, business partners and all stakeholders.
Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation
The Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation award went to the Datha Gene Foundation. To qualify for this award, a foundation must demonstrate outstanding commitment through its financial support and engagement of others in activities that support and advance philanthropy at Fairmont State University.
In the spring of 2021, the organization generously committed funds supporting The Datha & Gene Smith Fellows Program, a summer bridge program designed to prepare first-generation college students for their transition to student life at Fairmont State University. The program is in development and will begin in the summer of 2022.
Legacy Leaders Award
Bob and Susan Hawkins, who were also inducted into the 1865 Heritage Society for planned giving, were named Legacy Leaders this year. This award seeks to honor a generous donor for their dedication and commitment to the programs and students at Fairmont State University through legacy gifts.
Both Bob and Susan are retired educators who met while studying in the doctoral program at Virginia Tech. They believe in supporting future educators and for that reason they established the Dr. Bob and Susan Hawkins Endowed Scholarship in 2016 for West Virginia students majoring in Education. In the fall of 2020, they again committed to supporting future educators by arranging a gift as part of their estate plan to increase the impact of their existing scholarship.
“Fairmont State is blessed by the generosity and love of these individuals and corporations,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Fairmont State strives to inspire and empower not only those among our campus community, but also the larger communities who support us. We simply could not uphold that mission without the philanthropical leadership of these award winners, and we are indebted to them.”
In addition to these awardees, the Mon Health Medical Center Foundation is being honored for their induction into the Fairmont State Foundation President’s Circle, a giving society that honors individuals and organizations who have provided more than $500,000 to Fairmont State University. Mon Health has been a vital supporter of the University’s College of Nursing, helping numerous students during their nursing education and throughout their careers in the healthcare sector in West Virginia.
Fairmont State University alumni create scholarship for College of Education, Health and Human Performance studentsFairmont State University alumni create scholarship for College of Education, Health and Human Performance students
Two Grafton, West Virginia natives have established a new endowed scholarship for students at Fairmont State University.
David and Barbara Riggleman, both Fairmont State alumni, chose to support the College of Education, Health and Human Performance through the David and Barbara Riggleman Endowed Scholarship because of the impact that educators had on their lives.
“We were the first members of our families to attend college, so attending Fairmont State enabled us to feel we were a part of the Falcon Family. Small class sizes enabled us to feel connected to our fellow students and our professors,” said Barbara. “Our lives were greatly enriched with all the experiences we received through our high school years and at Fairmont State, and we want other students to have the same opportunities.”
David completed his business degree at Fairmont State in 1969 and taught at a technical school while he served in the United States Air Force. Following his military service, he enjoyed a 36-year career at Monongahela Power Company. Barbara finished her degree in English in 1976 before going on to enrich the lives of students at Grafton High School as an English teacher.
“It is through the loyal and generous support of David and Barbara Riggleman that future students may be able to complete their educational dreams. With the increases in costs of higher education, more students’ scholarships are woefully needed at Fairmont State. Scholarships help relieve part of the financial pressure faced by most students today,” according to Gary K. Bennett, President of the Fairmont State Foundation.
Nearly 90% of students at Fairmont State rely on some form of financial aid to cover the costs of pursuing a degree.
“David and Barbara Riggleman are perfect examples of what it means to have a Falcon Heart,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Hard-working and generous, they know the impact a Fairmont State education had on their own lives. Through the David and Barbara Riggleman Endowed Scholarship, they’re enabling that transformative opportunity to remain accessible for future generations of Falcons.”
The David and Barbara Riggleman Endowed Scholarship will be available to students in the College of Education, Health and Human Performance with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. First preference will be given to students from Taylor County, West Virginia.
Alumni and friends of Fairmont State University contributed more than $361,000 on Thursday, October 28 during the Third Annual Falcon Day of Giving.
This year, the Fairmont State Foundation set a goal to raise $325,000 in 24 hours, and 605 donors helped exceed that goal. Funds raised during the 2021 Day of Giving will provide support to 39 different programs campus wide, filling departmental needs and providing academic scholarships.
Donors provided nearly $70,000 for academic and athletic scholarships, along with more than $179,000 earmarked for athletic programs. Almost $59,000 was provided for the Falcon Fund, which supports the greatest needs of the University. More than $45,000 was received for individual colleges to use in support of departmental scholarships, faculty initiatives and special projects. The College of Science & Technology earned the most individual donors (67) and greatest dollar amount ($13,875) for an academic unit. Women’s softball secured the most donors for athletics programs at 49, and women’s basketball had the highest dollar amount of all athletics programs this year at $41,940.
“This fundraising effort gives the various areas extra funding over and above any state budget amount that they receive to run their operation,” according to Gary K. Bennett, Fairmont State Foundation President. “This gives them money to do the things that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. It affords student scholarships in addition to what the state provides. It provides for some lab equipment that folks are interested in. It provides for some additional instructional equipment that wasn’t in the budget this year. It’s for those extra things they believe are needed to provide a better education experience for the students.”
Throughout the year, the Foundation works to secure matching funds in support of the challenges offered during Day of Giving. Some of these generous matching gift donors include Fairmont State Board of Governors member, Kevin Rogers and his wife Tina, who provided matches for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball programs. Tom and Lori Kliethermes provided match gifts made in support of academic and athletic scholarships.
Fairmont State alumnus, Robert “Buck” Thompson, also matched gifts to the women’s basketball, men’s tennis and women’s tennis programs. William Laughlin and his wife Lois Muto Laughlin matched gifts in support of academic programs and athletic scholarships.
Additionally, the Foundation received corporate sponsorships from DQE Communications, Fairmont Kitchen Center, Coal Country Miniature Golf and Keystone Realty Group (Christina Gouzd, Broker).
“Once again, the Falcon Family has proven to be second to none when it comes to demonstrating their support,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “We shattered our goal. The funds raised are vital to the University. Through our donors’ generosity, dreams will be realized – academic and athletic programs will get stronger, and our faculty, staff and students will soar even higher. I am so grateful for this family each and every day.”
Fairmont State University’s Third Annual Falcon Day of Giving will take place on Thursday, October 28, with the Fairmont State Foundation aiming to raise $325,000 during the 24-hour campaign. Falcon Day of Giving encourages alumni and friends of Fairmont State to donate to the areas that matter most to them.
“Falcon Day of Giving is an opportunity for the entire Falcon Family to join together in support of a common goal. Last year, more than 600 loyal alumni and donors participated on Falcon Day of Giving, raising more than $300,000,” said Gary K. Bennett, president of the Fairmont State Foundation. “Contributions during this special fundraising event support academics, athletics and a number of programs all across campus.”
In preparation for the 2021 Falcon Day of Giving, donors have already pledged more than $149,000 for special challenges throughout the day. These giving opportunities allow donors to double their gift in areas including scholarships, colleges, programs and athletic teams.
Some of these generous matching gift donors include Fairmont State Board of Governors member, Kevin Rogers and his wife Tina, who have pledged a total of $50,000 for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball programs. Tom and Lori Kliethermes have pledged $15,000 to match gifts made in support of academic and athletic scholarships. Fairmont State alumnus, Robert “Buck” Thompson, will be matching gifts to the women’s basketball, men’s tennis and women’s tennis programs in the amount of $5,000 per team.
William Laughlin and his wife Lois Muto Laughlin, who is an alumna of Fairmont State, are retired faculty members that have pledged a total of $12,500 in support of academic programs and athletic scholarships. Fairmont State Foundation Board member, Kevin Wilfong and his wife Donna, have pledged $10,000 supporting criminal justice scholarships and the football program.
“The Fairmont State community – our campus community, our alumni and the cities and towns that support us – is one of the most caring and giving families I’ve ever been a part of,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Each year they demonstrate their generosity during our annual Day of Giving event. The funds raised enable us to honor our commitment to providing transformative, affordable educational experiences – experiences that include athletics, academics and countless other programs across campus. I am so grateful for our dear Falcon Family, and I encourage everyone to take part in this fun and crucially important event.”
This year, in partnership with Coal Country Miniature Golf and Keystone Realty Group (Christina Gouzd, Broker), the Foundation will host a mini-golf tournament on the evening of the Day of Giving. Adults 21 and older can register two or four-person teams for an evening of fun in support of the fundraising event. Registration is required at https://www.fsufoundation.org/giving/minigolf, and includes green fees, putter, golf balls and one drink ticket. Teams must register and pay as a group.
Updates on total gifts received will be reported throughout the day on Fairmont State University and Fairmont State University Foundation social media platforms. In addition, highlights featuring interviews, special performances, challenges and donor shout outs will be available for viewing on social media during the 24-hour campaign.
To learn more and view the entire listing of matches and challenges visit, https://falconsgive.fsufoundation.org.
Doddridge County natives and Fairmont State alumni, Dwight and Tina Moore, have donated $26,000 for the establishment of a new scholarship at Fairmont State University.
“It is through the generosity of the Moore family that future students will be able to attend Fairmont State. They truly understand the importance of education in becoming productive citizens,” said Fairmont State Foundation President, Gary K. Bennett.
The Moore Family Endowed Scholarship will provide financial support for students studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Moores are first generation college graduates, and both completed their studies at Fairmont State to prepare them for STEM related careers.
“Mr. and Mrs. Moore attribute their success to the education they received at Fairmont State and understand that scholarships are vital to student success,” according to Fairmont State Foundation Development Officer, Tori Anselene. “Establishing the Moore Family Endowed Scholarship will provide opportunities for STEM students to further develop their academic careers and make a great impact in their lives. We are so appreciative of the Moores for their support and generosity.”
Dwight, class of 1986, and Tina, class of 1987, have a keen understanding of the value of a college education, the importance of STEM professionals in the workforce and the demand for new grads in these fields.
“Fairmont State served us very well,” Dwight said. “My wife taught several scientific disciplines at the high school level for both Doddridge and Harrison County schools, including biology and chemistry. I taught drafting and industrial arts before serving as the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Doddridge County. We’ve both had fulfilling careers and we raised four successful children as well.”
Dwight credits the success that he and Tina have had to their choices to pursue higher education.
“Our lives have been so much fuller because we decided to attend Fairmont State. We understand the need for higher education and how this pursuit can change lives. By establishing this scholarship, we hope to share this with other students in STEM,” he added.
The Moore Family Endowed Scholarship will be available to Fairmont State University students with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, studying science, technology, engineering or math.
“There is great demand for STEM professionals in this region and across the nation,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Luckily, our region also has an abundance of potential STEM talent. The Moore Family Endowed Scholarship will help Fairmont State nurture and train that potential, provide unrivaled opportunity and support to those students, and graduate STEM professionals into the talent pipeline, keeping some of that homegrown talent right here in this great region. I’m so grateful to the Moores for their vision and their generosity.”
A Fairmont family has pledged $25,000 for the creation of a new scholarship at Fairmont State University in memory of Stephen Guentert, a Fairmont State alumnus who passed away in February of 2021. The Stephen L. Guentert Memorial Endowed Scholarship will provide financial support for computer science and cybersecurity students in the College of Science and Technology.
“What a wonderful gesture by the Guentert family to create this legacy in honor of Stephen,” said Fairmont State Foundation President, Gary K. Bennett. “This scholarship will provide the support so many of the students dearly need.”
Stephen Guentert, a husband and father of three, graduated from Fairmont State in 2001. He completed his degree in computer science, and went on to work as a software engineer. His wife Beverly and their children Isabella, Miranda and her husband Canon Fancher, and Isaak wish to continue his legacy and love for family with the Stephen L. Guentert Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
“He was an amazing father and husband who was always there for us no matter what,” said his daughter, Miranda Fancher. “In our household there was always an emphasis on how important our education is and how to build a future for our families.”
The Fairmont State Computer Science and Cybersecurity Programs are designed to provide students a broad range of theoretical foundations and hands-on learning opportunities in the field. These programs prepare graduates for a variety of careers including programming, systems analysis, software development, database administration and information security analysis.
“We chose to support computer science students at Fairmont State University because Stephen went to Fairmont State with the same goals in 1996. Going to college and providing for his family were a huge part of his life, so we wanted to contribute to another individual at the University with the same goals in his memory. We know he would be so proud to be able to help students at Fairmont State,” Fancher added.
The Stephen L. Guentert Memorial Endowed Scholarship will be available to Fairmont State University students with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, enrolled in a computer science or cybersecurity program.
“We are so grateful to Stephen’s family for this generous gift to the Falcon Family,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “This gift ensures that our excellent science and technology programs can not only ease the financial burden for deserving students, but they can also continue to meet the regional demand for top-notch computer science and cybersecurity professionals.”