Fairmont State to celebrate winter Commencement on December 8

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

More than 130 students will participate in the winter Commencement ceremony for Fairmont State University on Saturday, December 8, at 1 p.m. in the Feaster Center. This will be the first winter Commencement in five years. 

“Our graduates have worked hard to complete their degree and we are excited to be able to once again hold a winter commencement,” said Fairmont State President Mirta Martin. “This is an important time for the entire campus community to come together and celebrate the achievements of our students.”

Dr. Jack Kirby, retired Fairmont State Associate Provost, will serve as the Commencement speaker. Alyssa Welling will be the student speaker. For those who would like to view the December 8 ceremony from home, video will be streamed live at www.fairmontstate.edu/livegraduation

The School of Nursing Winter Commencement and Pinning Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 6, in Colebank Gym. The pinning ceremony is a long-held tradition that is a symbolic welcoming of newly graduated nurses into the profession of nursing. The graduate nurse is presented with the nursing pin by the faculty of the nursing program. Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Associate of Science in Nursing graduates may participate in the December 8 ceremony.

“Commencement is one of my favorite times of the year,” said President Mirta Martin. “We witness firsthand the enthusiasm of all those who are beginning their new journey - into our Falcon Nation and into the world as alumni. Our faculty and staff take pride in playing a part in their journey and we are proud to celebrate their success.”

To make attending the Fairmont State University Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, December 8, more convenient, some parking changes will be in effect. The Department of Public Safety will re-route the loop around campus to become one way.  Officers and other attendants will be on hand to direct traffic and answer parking questions. Guest should enter campus using the Squibb Wilson Boulevard Entrance. General parking will stay in the left lane upon entering campus. The right lane will be for shuttles and handicapped parking only. Shuttle pick up and drop offs will be indicated on the map with a star. Shuttles will begin pick-ups, one hour prior to each ceremony.

All handicapped accessible parking will be located in the Pence Hall parking lot. Handicapped accessible seating is available on the second floor of the Joe Retton Arena, so those with mobility issues should enter the Feaster Center from the second-floor entrance.

The best advice for those attending Commencement is to arrive early for the event and to carpool as much as possible. Doors will open to the public at noon. Thank you in advance for your attention to these changes and for your patience. 

Sign language interpreting services will be provided during the ceremony. The Office of Disability Services will provide Commencement programs in Braille at the Feaster Center. For more information, call the Office of Disability Services at (304) 367-4686 or the Department of Public Safety at (304) 367-4157.

Jack Kirby, Ph.D.

Dr. Jack Kirby, Professor Emeritus, retired from Fairmont State University after twenty-one years of service.  He likes to say that he did not have to work for the last twenty-one years because “it is hard to call it work when you love what you are doing.”

Dr. Kirby was Director of the Fairmont State Regional Small Business Development Center from 1997 until accepting a faculty appointment as Assistant Professor in the School of Business in 2001, teaching primarily human resources management, labor relations, small business management and entrepreneurship.  In 2007, Dr. Kirby received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor and was appointed Interim Associate Dean for the School of Business.  In 2008, he was appointed Associate Dean for the School of Business and, while continuing to teach both undergraduate and graduate courses, held that position until his appointment as Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Graduate Studies in 2012.  Dr. Kirby continued to serve in this capacity his last six years and assumed additional responsibilities as Interim Title IX Coordinator during his last year.  Jack’s background also includes seven years teaching at Alderson-Broaddus College, where he chaired the Business Department for five years, and ten years of coal industry experience in human resources management and labor relations.  

In 2001, Dr. Kirby received a Sam Walton Free Enterprise Fellowship to lead a Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team at Fairmont State to develop student projects that promote free enterprise, holding that fellowship until 2012.  During this time, he led his SIFE team to multiple regional competitions and received multiple grants to support the students’ projects.  

Dr. Kirby was recognized with the Faculty Recognition Award in 2004 and was nominated for the Boram Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008.  

Dr. Kirby has been a resident of North Central West Virginia for most of his life.  He was born in Fairmont, but raised in Morgantown, graduating Morgantown High School in 1966.  He is a Vietnam Veteran, having served in the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1972.  Dr. Kirby received his B.A. in Psychology, M.S. in Industrial Relations, and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from West Virginia University.

Dr. Kirby currently resides in Fairmont with his wife Janice.  He has three sons, Bryan, Steven, & David, two stepdaughters, Megan & Abby, and six granddaughters, Katie, Kalea, Iliana, Amalia, Eliza and Jemma.  Dr. Kirby is an outdoor enthusiast and an avid year-round fly fisherman.

Alyssa P. Welling

Alyssa Welling grew up in Ripley, West Virginia where, along with her church, traversed the four corners of the nation to be a missionary. She worked in soup kitchens in Salano County, California, rebuilt houses in Eastport, Maine, and stayed on a native-American reservation in South Dakota. She came to Fairmont State University in the fall of 2015 and is graduating with a bachelor’s in science. She will pursue a career in law in the fall of 2019 where she hopes to attend Texas A&M.