Friday, September 22, 2006

Officials at Fairmont State plan to hold a Unity Celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 27, beginning at noon in the Falcon Center 3rd Floor Conference Rooms. The celebration will center on the successful passage of Senate Bill 792 during last year's legislative session. The bill went into effect on July 1.

Prior to passage of the bill, Fairmont State University and Fairmont State Community & Technical College had been mandated to become separately accredited institutions.

"Separate accreditation was leading to a number of increased administrative costs for both institutions," said Dr. Dan Bradley, President of Fairmont State University. "Senate Bill 792 will help us preserve maximum financial resources for academics, rather than for an increasing spiral of duplicated administrative services."

The bill renamed Fairmont State Community & Technical College and made it a division of the university. Now known as Pierpont Community & Technical College of Fairmont State University, the community college maintains its flexibility to respond to workforce development needs and other aspects of the community college mission, while continuing to share the economies of scale afforded by joint operation of administrative functions.

"Given the current funding environment in our state, we feel that having two free-standing institutions of higher education in Fairmont is not sustainable in the long-term," said Blair Montgomery, President of Pierpont C&TC. "We are confident that our community college will continue to operate effectively, efficiently and with distinction in fulfilling the community college mission for our region."

Area legislators who helped win passage of the bill and members of the Fairmont State Board of Governors will be on hand for the celebration.

The name "Pierpont" is historically and symbolically significant. Francis H. Pierpont, a Fairmont native, served as Governor of the Restored State of Virginia during the Civil War and played a key role in the birth of West Virginia. He also serves as an example of a successful "non-traditional" student, working his way through school as a tanner and brick layer. He also served on the board of the institution that would one day become Fairmont State University. His wife, Julia August Robertson Pierpont of Fairmont, is credited with being an originator of Decoration Day, which was renamed Memorial Day in 1882.