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,” Dr. Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, 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 Fairmont State University students,” Reese said. “Just reflect on what Fairmont State has meant and continues to mean to the Reese family."
This gift was made through the Fairmont State Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of Fairmont State University.