Fairmont State University and the Fairmont State Foundation are scheduled to hold a dedication ceremony in honor of the Datha and Gene Smith family and Datha Gene Foundation. The dedication of the Datha & Gene Smith Center will take place on Friday, September 23 at 10 a.m.
“The Datha and Gene Smith family and the Datha Gene Foundation have been wonderful partners for Fairmont State University,” said Rae Dyer, Fairmont State Foundation President. “We are extremely thankful for their dedication to our students and our Falcon Community. We are thrilled to honor their generous legacy with this naming ceremony and look forward to our continued partnership through their Datha & Gene Smith Fellows Program. We are truly grateful for their ongoing support.”
The Datha & Gene Smith Fellows Program, established in the summer of 2021, seeks to provide enrichment for first-generation college students through mentoring, tutoring, peer support, scholarships and cultural experiences. As part of the program, the existing Learning Enrichment and Academic Development (LEAD) Center at Fairmont State University – a tutoring and testing center – will be named the Datha & Gene Smith Center.
The newly named center provides vital resources that the students – or fellows – are introduced to through the program. The first class of fellows were named this summer 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.
The Foundation was established by Datha and Gene and one of their first gifts was to establish a scholarship fund for Fairmont State and later established an endowment for maintenance of the Folk Lore building. Their three children are continuing to support Fairmont State with this center and the First-Generation Fellowship Program. All three of the children were first- generation students themselves and graduated from Fairmont State. The family chose to establish the fellowship after recognizing the need for support that these students could greatly benefit from. The program supports the students from the beginning of their college years through graduation.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Datha and Gene Smith family and Datha Gene Foundation,” 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 to all who seek opportunities at Fairmont State University.”
Established in 1960, the Fairmont State Foundation identifies, establishes and cultivates meaningful relationships with Fairmont State alumni and friends to further the mission and purpose of Fairmont State University. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization guided by a board of directors to steward contributions from our donors and maximize the impact of financial support for the students, faculty and staff of the University. For more information about our organization and ways that you can provide support, visit www.fsufoundation.org or call 304.534.8786.