Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Marion County couple’s belief in the importance of higher education has resulted in a new scholarship at Fairmont State. The Datha and Gene Smith Endowed Scholarship has been established through the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc.

The Smith family’s contributions to Fairmont State were recognized with a special presidential resolution Friday, April 15, during the 28th Annual Academic Awards Ceremony at FSU. During the event, students were honored for their academic achievements and were named as scholarship recipients. Awards and scholarships presented at the banquet were made possible through endowments from benefactors such as the Smith family.

Gene and Datha Smith, both native West Virginians, spent most of their lives until retirement in Marion County. They raised three children who studied at Fairmont State, and five of their grandchildren also attended FS. Gene Smith passed away in June 2004. Datha Smith currently resides in Vero Beach, Fla.

“It is our parents’ desire that not only will their family continue the spirit and effort of providing opportunity to others, but also that those recipients of grants from this endowment become successful in their endeavors, enjoy the benefits of an education, and, in time going forward, provide, if possible, the opportunity for others to fulfill their desires,” said Robert Smith of Fairmont, the son of Datha and Gene Smith.

Gene Smith was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Fairmont and Vero Beach, Fla. He was a mold maker at Owens Illinois in Fairmont before operating a machine shop at Interstate Engineers. He was the owner of CKS Machine before founding and operating J&S Machine Co. in Pleasant Valley. He retired in 1977.

Smith was a 1931 graduate of Fairmont Senior High School and attended West Virginia University, where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He was a life member of the Fairmont Rotary Club, a member of the Elks Club #294, Fairmont AF&AM Masons #157, Scottish Rite Bodies of Wheeling, Osiris Temple of Wheeling, Fairmont Lions Club and the Fairmont Field Club. He served on the boards of Fairmont General Hospital, CB&T Bank and Huntington Bank and served as president of Middletown Bank.

“Individual, corporate and foundation gifts lay a strong bedrock of support on which Fairmont State builds academic and program excellence,” said K. Jean Ahwesh, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc.

“Friday’s annual awards banquet honoring our students and their achievements is a direct result of the generosity of all our many special endowment benefactors. It is a privilege to host members of the Smith family and to publicly recognize them for their integral contributions to the evening and to the pursuit of education.”

Each year, at least one Fairmont State student will be chosen to receive a $2,000 scholarship. Recipients of the scholarship will be Marion County residents who demonstrate financial need. Recipients must have an overall 2.0 high school grade point average and must maintain a 2.5 grade point average and be a full-time student at Fairmont State. Each year, the scholarship recipient will provide to the FS Foundation a written progress report about his or her progress in attaining the goal of completing his or her secondary education.

The Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., helps to secure resources for scholarships, faculty development, cultural programming and other needs. The Fairmont State Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization formed to assist Fairmont State by accepting and encouraging gifts and by using them to advance the missions of Fairmont State University and Fairmont State Community & Technical College. The Foundation is operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.

For more information on gift planning, call (304) 367-4014. To make a gift online, click here