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.
The Fairmont State Foundation is honored to welcome Gary K. Bennett’s return as president of the Fairmont State Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising organization utilized by Fairmont State University. He brings with him decades of experience as a CPA and an outstanding educator, along with a passion for the Foundation’s mission to serve the University and the greater Fairmont community.
“We are so very fortunate to have such an exceptional, caring and experienced gentleman leading the Foundation,” said Dr. Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “Gary has masterfully led our Foundation before; we look forward to welcoming him home – once again. The Foundation and the entire Falcon Family will benefit from Gary’s experience and expertise, as well as his deep fondness and devotion to Fairmont State.”
In addition to serving as a board member for the Foundation, Bennett is an alumnus from the Fairmont State College class of 1972, a retired faculty member, and assistant dean of what is now named the School of Business and Aviation.
“We are excited and incredibly grateful that Mr. Bennett will lead the Foundation as President,” said board president Jennifer Kinty. “His leadership experience coupled with his understanding of the Foundation’s goals will allow us to preserve our fundraising momentum and move our institution forward."
Bennett previously served as president of the Foundation in 2018 and 2019. His passion for Fairmont State and positive relationships with University stakeholders will allow the Foundation and the University to continue their collaborative efforts to support Fairmont State students and programs without interruption.
Fairmont State University President Dr. Mirta M. Martin is looking forward to working with Bennett again.
“Gary is a Falcon through and through – that’s one of the things that makes working together such a joy. He is always driven to find ways to help the Fairmont State University family. He carries in his heart the “why” of what we do – to help the next generation of Falcons achieve their dreams – and that is exactly what he has been doing for decades, as an alumnus, a faculty, and a generous donor. The University is so very grateful for Gary, and excited at the boundless opportunities that can be achieved as he steps into the Foundation leadership role once again.”
Paulina Nottingham has joined the Fairmont State Foundation staff as the new director of development.
Nottingham, who holds a both a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an MBA with an emphasis in nonprofit management from West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, started Jan. 2. She will be working as front-line fund raiser, meeting one-on-one with donors to help them match their interests with funding opportunities at Fairmont State University.
“We are grateful Paulina has chosen to join the Foundation staff,” said Foundation President Julie Cryser. “Her enthusiasm for development work paired with her training in nonprofit management make her an excellent fit for Fairmont State Foundation and Fairmont State University.”
As she settles into her new role at the Foundation, Nottingham is looking forward to building meaningful relationships with faculty, alumni, and friends of Fairmont State. She hopes to find innovative ways to bring University supporters together to grow, enhance and fund valuable opportunities for students.
“The generosity and kindness of donors and the ability to be a part of creating an idea or program to benefit students and the community is what draws me to development and nonprofit work,” Nottingham said.
“Seeing those ideas come to fruition while helping others is extremely rewarding,” she said. “My past roles have focused more on marketing and communications, but I believe I have found my true passion in fundraising and development.
Nottingham grew up in Champaign, IL, and she has roots in West Virginia. Both of her parents are natives of the state, and her mother, Jennifer Nottingham, is a Fairmont State alumna with a degree in psychology.
“My mother is probably the most excited about my new opportunity with the Foundation. I’m looking forward to learning more about the story of Fairmont State University and sharing my skills and education to support the Foundation’s mission.” Nottingham said.
Long-time development professional Julie R. Cryser has accepted the position as president for the Fairmont State Foundation effective April 22.
Cryser comes to the Fairmont State Foundation having served as the assistant dean of development and alumni relations at the WVU Eberly College of Arts & Sciences. Prior to that position, Cryser worked as the assistant dean in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Design for three years, previously serving as the director of development there since January 2012.
“I am very excited about coming to the Fairmont State Foundation,” Cryser said. “Fund raising for Fairmont State University means ensuring students are able to afford college. It means that faculty and staff have additional resources to offer the best education possible. And I’m awestruck by the quality of programs and possibilities.”
Cryser spent nearly 19 years in development, communications and alumni relations at West Virginia University, having raised more than $30 million to support scholarships and student and faculty opportunities as a front-line fund raiser since 2006.
At the Eberly College, she has helped to raise more than $3 million in the last five months. During her time in the Davis College, she ensured the College reached and exceeded its campaign goal of $24 million, assisting Davis in ending the campaign at $30 million. As a part of the campaign, Cryser helped to secure the college’s second-largest donation in its history, a $6.7 million gift from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Trust to support renovations of the equine facilities on the J.W. Ruby Research Farm in Reedsville, WV.
She was also instrumental in the development and coordination of the College’s Young Innovator Program, which assisted students with developing innovative ideas and businesses. She also secured funding to hire a Farm Credit Student Leadership Academy Coordinator, a position that will work with students who receive private funding for undergraduate research, education abroad and other value-added experiences.
On the communications side of advancement, Cryser lead a Davis College team that published a 150th anniversary history book to celebrate the College’s milestone anniversary. Under her guidance, the college increased communications, including producing two magazines per year, a monthly alumni newsletter, videos and internal communications.
Cryser began her career at WVU in 2001 in the Reed College of Media, then known as the P.I. Reed School of Journalism, as a public relations and alumni coordinator and adjunct news-editorial lecturer. She moved to WVU Extension Service in May 2006, where she served as the development director. WVU Extension reached and exceeded its initial $4 million State of Minds campaign goal under her tenure.
“The Falcon family welcomes Julie as our new Foundation President.” said Gary LeDonne, Chair of the Fairmont State Foundation Board of Directors. “Julie has an extensive background in higher education fund raising and enabling her to lead the Fairmont State Foundation to new heights.”
Prior to joining WVU, Cryser worked as a reporter and editor in newspapers throughout West Virginia and Pennsylvania, having earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WVU in journalism and graduating with honors. She is married to Dave Hickman, a retired sports writer, and has two children, Grace and Annie.