Fairmont State University is closed today, July 2, in observance of the special day declared by Gov. Joe Manchin to honor the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.
During his many years in office, Sen. Byrd visited Fairmont State many times and supported initiatives including the development of the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Educational Center at the North Central West Virginia Airport.
In 1991, Fairmont State honored Sen. Byrd with the honorary degree Doctor of Laws; and in 1999, he was named the first West Virginia Folklife Center Scholar.
At the 1999 Fairmont State Foundation Scholarship Dinner, a brief musical composition for fiddle and guitar was commissioned to honor Byrd and to mark the occasion. Composed by Dr. Alice A. Moerk, Professor of Music, "Byrdwatch" incorporated the jamboree atmosphere of a country music festival, a down-home waltz and a more serious introspective segment. Kathy Pheasant Pearson, fiddle, and John Vaughan, guitar, performed "Byrdwatch" for Sen. Byrd and other guests at the dinner.
To view a clip of the performance of "Byrdwatch," visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/FairmontStateMedia
Following are a few quotes from Sen. Byrd's 1991 Commencement speech:
"I believe that West Virginians are a people set apart by our geography and our unique way of life, our values and our faith in God to serve a special purpose in this country."
"Strive for excellence in everything that you do. Don't be satisfied with just getting by. Mediocrity is not good enough in anything, anywhere, at any time."
"In the years ahead, West Virginia's spirit will wax greater and stronger than ever before, but only if we seek the best that is within us."
"Remember [Ralph Waldo] Emerson's words: The true test of civilization is not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the crops - no - but the kind of man or woman that the country turns out."
To view a clip of Sen. Byrd's 1991 Commencement speech on YouTube, visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/FairmontStateMedia
U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd