More than 570 graduates will be celebrated during the 150th Commencement ceremonies for Fairmont State University on Saturday, May 11, in the Feaster Center. Both ceremonies will include the Inauguration of President Mirta M. Martin.
Dr. Mirta M. Martin, the 26th president of Fairmont State University, personifies the American Dream. Born in Cuba and raised from a young age in Spain after fleeing her native land with her grandmother and sister, Martin has excelled in both the private sector and in higher education. Martin says she not only owes her success to that exceptional combination of determination, hard work, and opportunity the American Dream affords, but she is also driven by the obligation to make that dream accessible to others.
“Education is the cornerstone of the American Dream,” she said. “And Fairmont State must continue to be the aspirational and inspirational heart of West Virginia. We must continue to provide access to an affordable and superb education to all who seek one.”
Dr. Martin assumed the Fairmont State University presidency in January of 2018, and the impact of her transformational leadership is already being felt: The University recently enrolled its largest freshman class in school history this fall.
The 10 a.m. ceremony will include graduates from the College of Science and Technology; School of Nursing; School of Fine Arts; and Regents Bachelor of Arts Program. The 4 p.m. ceremony will include graduates of the College of Liberal Arts; School of Business; and School of Education, Health, and Human Performance.
Commencement addresses from Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach and Dr. Maria C. Rose, former Presidents of Fairmont State will be shared at both ceremonies and Dillon Bradley will give the student address. For those who would like to view the May 11 ceremonies from home, video will be streamed live at www.fairmontstate.edu/livegraduation.
During the Commencement exercises, President Martin will also unveil a lost piece of Fairmont State history—the presidential portrait of M. Elizabeth Dickey-Fleming, the first female president in Fairmont State history. Dickey-Fleming served as the acting principal in 1878 and was named principal in 1879 where she served until 1882. In addition to being Fairmont State’s first female president, she was also the first female president in the history of the State of West Virginia and in the history of the United States. Her portrait was painted by Fairmont State associate professor of art Joel Dugan.
The School of Nursing Spring Commencement and Pinning Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 9, in the Feaster Center. 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 May 11 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, May 11, 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. All traffic is encouraged to enter campus on the Squibb Wilson entrance and follow the directed traffic pattern. Officers and other attendants will be on hand to direct traffic and answer parking questions. 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 and a color that will correspond with the shuttle route.
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.
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.
Those attending Commencement should plan to arrive early for the event and to carpool as much as possible. Doors will open to the public at 9 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 3 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. For more information please visit www.fairmontstate.edu/eventinfo. Thank you in advance for your attention to these changes and for your patience.
Janet Dudley-Eshbach, Ph.D.
President Emerita of Salisbury University
President of Fairmont State University, 1996-2000
Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach was named Fairmont State College’s president in 1996. She received an undergraduate degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Indiana University, where she was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, and holds a doctorate in Hispanic literature from El Colegio de Mexico.
Prior to assuming the presidency at Fairmont State College, Dr. Dudley-Eshbach served three years as provost at the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Potsdam. She was dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Potsdam for a year prior to that appointment. From1978-88, she was on the faculty at Goucher College in Towson, MD, where she taught Spanish and Latin American studies.
After her four-year tenure at Fairmont State, Dr. Dudley-Eshbach was appointed to the presidency of Salisbury University, where she served from 2000 until her retirement in 2018.
A Latin American literature and Spanish-language scholar who is fluent in Spanish, Dr. Dudley-Eshbach also has professional expertise in international education, student recruitment, institutional marketing, fundraising, and shared governance. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Business Professional of the Year award (Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce); Woman of Distinction award (Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay); United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore’s prestigious Jim Barrett Community Leadership Award; inducted into the “Circle of Excellence” as a three-time recipient of The Daily Record’s Maryland’s Top 100 Women recognition; and an invited participant in President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative Project.
Dudley-Eshbach enjoys writing poetry and essays, reading, playing the guitar, travel, biking, and beachcombing. A native of Baltimore, she is married to Joseph Eshbach.
Maria C. Rose, Ed.D.
President of Fairmont State University, 2012-2017
Dr. Maria C. Rose was named Fairmont State University’s President in April 2012. Prior to that appointment, she served the University in a number of capacities for more than twenty years, including as a faculty member, Director of Retention and Vice President of Academic Services, and principle investigator for grant writing. Prior to being named President, she served as Interim President and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Fairmont State College and a Master of Arts degree in Reading from West Virginia University. From WVU, she also earned an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on family and community literacy issues as they relate to higher education. In addition, she earned a Developmental Educator Certification through the Kellogg Institute of Appalachian State University.
She has been published numerous times, and has made local, state and national presentations. She served on higher education task forces and former Governor Gaston Caperton appointed Dr. Rose to the West Virginia Governor’s Council on Literacy. She was on the Marion County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Board of Directors for the United Way of Marion County. Before her employment at Fairmont State University, Dr. Rose was an elementary teacher.
Dr. Rose retired in 2017 and currently resides in Florida with her husband of fifty years, Tom. Maria enjoys, traveling, reading, cooking, and spending time with her son Alex and great-grandchildren Juliett and Jackson.
Dillon Bradley graduates today with a double major in national security and intelligence and political science. He is from Monroe County and is a graduate of James Monroe High School. While at Fairmont State, Bradley served as a Frasure Singleton Intern and was placed with Senator Mann during the 2018 regular legislative session. During this year’s legislative session Bradley was chosen to intern with the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC). In this role, he tracked higher education bills in the House of Delegates and provided reports to the HEPC. In addition, Bradley recently completed his term as SGA Student Body President.
This fall, Bradley has chosen to continue his education at Fairmont State as a graduate student pursuing an MBA During that time, he will also take on the role of SGA Student Body Vice President, swapping places with his best friend and running mate, Tyler Keller. Upon completion of his MBA, he plans to attend law school at the University of Virginia. Dillon would like to thank his family for their constant support and love.