Monday, February 27, 2006

An endowed fund has been established with the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., in honor of Fairmont State's long-time campus minister. The Reverend Richard Bowyer Wesley Foundation Endowment Fund brings the institution closer to reaching its major goals for student success and institutional excellence.

Former Fairmont State student Marvin Stewart and his wife, Phyllis, of West Chester, Pa., established the fund in honor of the Rev. Richard "Dick" Bowyer, who served Fairmont State from 1970 until his retirement in 2005 as a part-time instructor and Campus Minister for the Wesley Foundation. He also was an advisor to the Black Student Union.

Stewart presented the donation at Bowyer's retirement festivities as part of a tribute made by the Fairmont State Black Student Alumni Association. Bowyer was one of Stewart's mentors while he was at Fairmont State. Stewart said he hopes the initial endowment gift of $10,000 will grow quickly over time to amount to $100,000 or more.

Stewart was a first generation college graduate who says Bowyer had a significant impact on his life.

"Reverend Bowyer's mentoring provided me with a greater insight about the importance of education. His mentoring and guidance helped to place me, as well as many other minority students, on the pathway to success. It is a joy to give back to the institution and to someone who has made a difference in my life and the lives of others," Stewart said.

"It will be a more meaningful gift if former students scattered across the nation from the Fairmont State community get behind the Bowyer Fund and support the growth of the endowment."

Stewart's effort to raise additional funds for the Bowyer Fund will involve contacting alumni from around the globe, to participate in Homecoming activities in 2006 and during a planned 2007 Alumni Reunion. Stewart hopes to reunite FS alumni from every class year and the Fairmont community in general, similar to the Dunbar High School reunions, through a Gospel Choir songfest over the July Fourth holiday weekend in 2007.

Stewart began his successful career while attending Fairmont State and working the night shifts at UPS loading trucks. Presently he works in Philadelphia as the District Employee Relation and Community Relations Manager. He recently celebrated his 34th anniversary with UPS.

Bowyer commends Stewart for having such a great respect for the institution and the Wesley Foundation.

"Marvin Stewart is an outstanding role model. As a young African American, he worked his way through Fairmont State and then upward through the ranks of UPS, the company where he began. His gifts to his alma mater and the Wesley Foundation will help the Wesley Foundation at Fairmont State assist others," Bowyer said.

"Marvin was a leader at Fairmont State, as the first African American Student Government president. He continues to be a leader in his community, company and church."

The main objective of The Reverend Richard Bowyer Wesley Foundation Endowment Fund is to provide financial assistance for students. Funding may also provide operational support to the Wesley Foundation.

The mission of the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., is to support, through ethical stewardship, the mission of Fairmont State University and Fairmont State Community & Technical College. The Foundation will identify, establish and cultivate meaningful relationships with Fairmont State alumni and potential and existing funding constituencies to meet contributor needs while securing funds and supporters for priority objectives identified by the Board of Directors.

Those who would like to contribute to The Reverend Richard Bowyer Wesley Foundation Endowment Fund or would like to create an endowment honoring a professor who impacted their life in a positive manner should contact Kim Riggi, Director of Major Gifts, at (304) 367-4014 or toll-free at (866) 372-2586.