More than 740 students will receive degrees as part of Fairmont State University’s and Fairmont State Community & Technical College’s joint Spring Commencement ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Feaster Center. A reception will take place at the Falcon Center immediately following the ceremony.
Sen. Roman W. Prezioso Jr. will serve as the speaker for the event and will receive the honorary degree, Doctor of Civil Law. Jo Ann Lough, Professor Emerita, Speech and Theatre, FSU School of Fine Arts, will receive the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts. Also during the ceremony, J. Woodrow Sayre will be presented with the Presidential Award for Lifetime Achievement.
The public is invited to join Fairmont State and the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., following Commencement for the hanging of a commemorative plaque and the dedication of the new Mabel C. Furman Lobby in the Ruth Ann Musick Library. The dedication ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. at the Ruth Ann Musick Library. Light refreshments will be served.
The dedication in made possible through a generous gift to FSU through the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., by Margaret and James Wilkes. Margaret Wilkes is the daughter of Mabel Clayton Furman.
To learn more about facility naming opportunities at Fairmont State, contact K. Jean Ahwesh, Executive Director, Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., toll free at (866) 372-2586.
Sen. Roman W. Prezioso Jr.
A native of Marion County, Prezioso is State Senator for the 13th District of West Virginia. He graduated from Fairmont State in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in education, earned a master’s degree in industrial safety from West Virginia University and continued his education through graduate courses at Marshall University.
For more than 30 years, Prezioso has worked as a teacher, principal and administrator. He currently oversees adult, community and alternative education for Marion County Schools. From 1989 to 1996, he served in the House of Delegates and was elected to the state Senate in 1997, where he continues to serve on many committees, including being chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources.
Since 1995, he has served on the Southern Regional Education Board. He has also been appointed to the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Families, the National Conference of State Legislators, the Motor Sports Advisory Committee, the Southern Legislative Conference, the Education Commission of the States steering committee, the State Policy Academy on Managing Systemic Education Change, the Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Act Chapter II Advisory Committee, the Governor’s Committee on School Facilities Evaluation and the City of Fairmont’s Personal Appeals Board. He has served on the West Virginia Poison Center Advisory Board and WVU’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board.
Prezioso has been active in the community, serving as president of the Kiwanis Club of Fairmont, on the Board of Directors for the Mountaineer Area Boy Scouts of America, vice president of the Fairmont Chapter of the American Cancer Society, as a member of the Advisory Council for the Region VI Senior Companion Program and as a member of the Greater Fairmont Toastmasters, Knights of Columbus, Fairmont State Alumni Association, WVU Alumni Association, West Virginia School Administrators Association, West Virginia Education Association, Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge, Marion County Chamber of Commerce, Marion Regional Development Corporation and Phi Delta Kappa.
His work has been recognized by many awards, including the Fairmont State 1997 Alumnus of Achievement Award, the Fairmont State Presidential Service Award, the West Virginia Health Care Association’s Presidential Citation, the Marion County Chamber of Commerce Public Servant of the Year, the Times West Virginian Public Servant of the Year, the American Legion Department of West Virginia Distinguished Service Award, the West Virginia Nurses Association Nursing Award, the Fairmont State School of Technology Appreciation Award, the Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation History Maker of the Year Award, the West Virginia Public Theatre Producer’s Award, the West Virginia State Troopers Association’s Appreciation Award and the American Vocational Association Region One’s Legislator of the Year Award.
He is married to the former Deborah M. Haught, a Fairmont State graduate and third-grade teacher at Whitehall Elementary School. They have one son, Christopher, a graduate of Fairmont State and the WVU College of Law.
Jo Ann Lough
A native of Fairmont, Jo Ann Lough is a graduate of Fairmont State and WVU and has pursued doctoral coursework at WVU, the University of Pittsburgh, McGill University and Tulane University.
She taught at Dunbar Middle School and served Fairmont State as a librarian and then as a professor of English and fine arts from 1950 to 1997. She served as chair of speech and theatre and as director of theatre. She developed 16 theatre courses and inspired the Artist-in-Residence Program. She introduced an intercollegiate program of debate, speaking and oral interpretation. She has engaged in outreach programs with local schools and has been a part of Fairmont State’s largest endowment, the Kinney Endowment.
She has worked to maintain the M.M. Neely Persuasive Speaking Contest, which provides scholarships for speech communication students. She has spoken at the Educational Theatre Association’s National Conference, has created and performed one-woman shows and has provided voices for documentary videos.
Lough holds more than 60 directing credits for the Fairmont State Masquers and Town & Gown Players, including the following firsts: the first production presented in Wallman Hall, the first Town & Gown summer theatre production, the first musical in Fairmont State’s outdoor theatre and the first show produced “in the round.”
She has been recognized by Fairmont State for Faculty Achievement, as a Foundation Fellow, Presidential Lecturer and an Outstanding Alumna. She has archived 80 years’ worth of Masquers theatre memorabilia and is assisting with the Masquers Historic Costume Collection of some 10,000 items. She created the Pierpont Room and the 1865 Room in the former Dining Hall at Fairmont State and wrote the Turley Center’s dedication plaque. She was instrumental in efforts to designate Hardway Hall to the National Register of Historic Places. Her support continues in her efforts to create the Marion County Little Theatre Scholarship and the B.J. O’Dell Sherman Scholar Award.
She was instrumental in having Fairmont’s Woodlawn Cemetery placed on the National Register of Historic Places; in creating and receiving state, county and city recognition for Julia Pierpont Day; and in leading the effort to save the historic Marion County Jail. She is chair of the City of Fairmont’s Historic Landmarks Commission and serves on several city and county boards, including the Marion County Historical Society and the Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation. In February, she was named a West Virginia History Hero.
J. Woodrow Sayre
A native of Clarksburg, J. Woodrow Sayre earned a bachelor’s degree from Fairmont State Teachers College and a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
His employment history includes being an enrollee in the Civilian Conservation Corp., emergency manager of offices for Western Union Telegraph Co., a teacher and principal of an elementary school, a social studies teacher at a secondary school, an assistant professor of education at Syracuse University, an associate professor of economics at SUNY at Albany, executive director of the New York State Council on Economic Education and director of the Center for Economic Education at Albany. He has been a consultant for various boards of education in New York, the New York State Department of Taxation, the New York State Senate Taxation Committee, the U.S. Department of Education, France and Belgium secondary teachers and the University of Strasbourg. He has had many published works.
His volunteer work includes being president of the Chautauqua County Southwestern New York Schoolmasters, president of World Affiliated Services, president of the Jacksonville Opera Society, co-founder and chairman of the Environmental Education Research Council of Northeast Florida, president of the School of Inner Research, president of the Sathya Sai Center of Jacksonville and co-founder of the Florida Civilian Conservation Corps Museum.
His memberships and honorary affiliations include Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Gamma Mu, Alpha Pi Omega, American Academy of Political and Social Science, American Association of University Professors, American Economic Association, National Council for the Social Studies, New York State Council for the Social Studies, Sigma Tau Gamma, Boy Scouts of America.
He was married to the late Nellie Shircliffe Sayre, with whom he had a son, daughter and step-son. He and Selma J. Peterson Sayre have been married since 1980.