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Lifetime Achievement Award Impact

Lifetime Achievement Award

Charlie Reese — Class of 1966

Charlie Reese graduated from Fairmont State in 1966 with a degree in teaching. He played football for Coach Deacon Duvall and was a member of the Tau Beta Iota fraternity. Charlie taught school in both Marion County and Ohio before changing career paths to become a salesman. He spent time working in the coal mines before being hired as the President of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce and Marion Regional Development Council (MRDC) in the late 1980s. Charlie served as President of the Marion County Chamber and MRDC for more than 25 years before retiring, after three attempts. He was instrumental in the development of the I-79 Technology Park, both VIP Parks in Pleasant Valley and Marion County Industrial Park. In addition, Charlie was part of the development team for the new Palatine Park. He served on the Marion County School Board for six years and has been instrumental in endowing numerous scholarships.

Gary K. Bennett — Class of 1972

Gary K. Bennett is originally from Webster Springs, West Virginia. Gary graduated from Webster Springs High School in 1968. Fairmont State College in 1972 with a B. S. in Business Administration with a major in accounting and West Virginia University with a Master’s in Business Administration in 1973. Gary successfully completed the Uniform Certified Public Accountants exam in 1974.

After graduating from West Virginia University, Gary taught for West Virginia University as an instructor of accounting until 1980. In 1980 Gary returned to his alma mater to teach accounting and finance until he retired in May 2008 after 35 years of collegiate teaching. Gary also served as the Assistant Chair and the Assistant to the Dean of the School of Business since 1992. In addition to teaching full-time, Gary began practicing as a CPA in Fairmont in 1975 and retired from his business in 2016.

During his tenure at Fairmont State, Gary has served as the vice-president and secretary of the Faculty Senate, created and served as the faculty advisor of the Student Accountant Society, served as the faculty representative on Fairmont State Board of Advisors, and has been a member of various other University and School of Business Committees. Gary has been recognized for the Faculty Recognition Award and the William A. Boram Teaching Excellence Award and was named the Educator of the Year by the West Virginia Society of CPA's in 2002. He was twice awarded the outstanding committee chair by the West Virginia Society of CPA's. In 2007 Gary received the award for Alumnus of Achievement from Fairmont State Alumni Assoication.

As a leader in the community Bennett has served as the chairman of the Board of Directors of Fairmont General Hospital. He has also served as the Treasurer of the Marion Chamber of Commerce, Marion County Rescue Squad, Fairmont General Hospital, Green Hills Country Club, and Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia. Gary has been a member of Fairmont State Foundation Board of Directors since 1982 and has served as Treasurer, Vice Chair and Chair during that time. Gary has also served as President of the Foundation on three occasions. Most recently, Gary was the recipient of the Fairmont State Foundation Outstanding Philanthropy Leadership Award.

Gary is married to the former Barbara Jo Dunn. Gary and Barbara have two children Brian and Lindsey and three grandchildren, Charlie, Lauren and Claire.

Jack Clayton — Class of 1971

Jack graduated from Fairmont State in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and took graduate courses in public administration from West Virginia University. In 1997, he graduated from the Rural Executive Management Institute, National Center for Rural Law Enforcement, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In 1998, he graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Law Enforcement Executive Management Program. 

Jack was employed as Director of Public Safety for the City of Bridgeport from 2003 to 2008 and as Chief of Police for the City of Bridgeport from 1981 to 2008. He has also been a Police Officer serving in assignments to patrol, investigations and community relations/crime prevention as well as the Assistant to the Chief of Police for the City of Fairmont. Most recently, Jack had been serving as the Chief of Police and Director of Emergency Management for Fairmont State and Pierpont Community and Technical College since October of 2010 until his recent retirement in April. 

Jack completed a variety of police training programs related to police tactics and procedures, community policing, personnel management, supervision, administration, instructor development, crisis intervention, conflict management, firearms, defensive tactics, incident command/management, CPR/First Responder, etc. 

In 1974, he prepared the initial curriculum proposal for a law enforcement associate degree program in what was then the community college component of Fairmont State. The program was approved, and Jack served as a part-time instructor. In 1976, he became employed full-time as Director of Public Safety for the community college and was responsible for academic programs in law enforcement, fire science and emergency medical services. During that time, he also prepared and submitted a curriculum proposal for a four-year program in criminal justice, which became part of the College of Liberal Arts at Fairmont State. Currently, along with several others, he is in the process of developing a new course curriculum that will allow Criminal Justice Students the opportunity to graduate with a degree in criminal justice as well as a Certification as a West Virginia Police Officer. From 1978 to 2007, Jack also served as an adjunct instructor of criminal justice. 

Jack’s professional affiliations include the following: life member, former state representative, International Association of Chiefs of Police; member and former member of the board of directors of the West Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police; former state representative for FBI CJIS Advisory Committee; member and past president of the North Central West Virginia Law Enforcement Council; commissioner and board of directors member of the Harrison County Bureau of Emergency Services (E911); member of the Police Policy Development Committee for the West Virginia Criminal Justice & Highway Safety Division; member, North Central West Virginia Airport Authority; and member, Marion County Rescue Squad Board of Directors. He also had the privilege to appear before United States Congressional members and staff concerning the effectiveness of small city and rural Community Oriented Policing Programs offered by the US Department of Justice.

Dr. Maria Bennett Rose — Class of 1969

Maria Rose was born in Fairmont and has lived in Fairmont most of her life. Dr. Rose was named Fairmont State University’s 14th president in April 2012 and she has served Fairmont State for more than 25 years. As a faculty member, she taught developmental writing, developmental reading and study skills and coordinated the campus-wide peer tutoring program. Dr. Rose also served as director of retention and vice president of academic services. Prior to being named president, she served as interim president and provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Dr. Rose received her Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Fairmont State College and a Master of Arts degree in reading from West Virginia University. From WVU, she also earned an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on family and community literacy issues as they relate to higher education. In addition, she earned a Developmental Educator Certification through the Kellogg Institute of Appalachian State University. Dr. Rose served on a task force for the Higher Education Policy Commission Adult Learner initiative and on the Commission’s College Completion Task Force. 

From starting as a grade-school teacher in a two-room schoolhouse in Idamay to serving as Fairmont State’s president, Dr. Rose has dedicated her career to providing meaningful and life-changing educational opportunities.

Maria has been married to Tom Rose for almost 48 years and they have one son and daughter-in-law, Alex and Tanya Rose who reside in Jupiter, Florida.  Also residing in Jupiter are granddaughter Shelby, her fiancé Ryan, and great-grandchildren, Juliett and Jackson.  Tom and Maria are currently splitting their time between Hobe Sound, Florida, and Fairmont.