About 400 students will participate in the 146th Commencement for Fairmont State University at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 16, in the Feaster Center.
Fairmont State alumna Donna Hopkins will be the Commencement speaker. Bryan Foley of Pipestem will be the student speaker representing the Class of 2015.
For those who would like to view the May 16 ceremony from home, video will be streamed live at www.fairmontstate.edu/live. A screen also will be set up in Gym 1 on the first floor of the Falcon Center to allow guests to watch the ceremony live from that location. A reception in Gym 1 of the Falcon Center with light refreshments will immediately follow the ceremony.
FSU’s School of Nursing and Allied Health Administration Spring Commencement and Pinning Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 14, in the Feaster Center. The pinning ceremony is a long-held tradition that is a symbolic welcoming of newly graduated nurses into the profession of nursing. The graduate nurse is presented with the nursing pin by the faculty of the nursing program. Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Associate of Science in Nursing graduates will participate in the May 14 ceremony.
“As a graduate of Fairmont State myself, I know firsthand the life-changing power of a higher education degree. Our graduates are equipped to enter the workforce as highly-qualified and well-prepared employees,” said FSU President Maria Rose. “Our faculty and staff take pride in watching students walk across the stage during the ceremony.”
To keep traffic flowing smoothly on campus on May 16, the Department of Public Safety will re-route the loop around campus to become one way. Officers and other attendants will be on hand to direct traffic and answer parking questions.
Some parking changes also will be in effect. The parking lot located below the Practice Field near College Park Apartments is closed due to construction for new campus housing. A temporary parking lot with 245 spaces is available and is located adjacent to the Tennis Court. Faculty and staff are encouraged to park in the parking garage to allow graduates and guests access to the parking spaces closest to the Feaster Center.
Handicapped accessible parking will be located in the Pence Hall parking lot for those using wheelchairs and walkers and in the parking lot located beside the Feaster Center. Handicapped accessible seating is available on the second floor of the Joe Retton Arena, so those with mobility issues should enter the Feaster Center from the second floor entrance.
Sign language interpreting services will be provided during the ceremony. The Office of Disability Services will provide Commencement programs in large print and Braille at the Feaster Center. For more information, call the Office of Disability Services at (304) 367-4686 or the Department of Public Safety at (304) 367-4157.
Donna Hopkins, a 1983 graduate of Fairmont State, was honored with the Outstanding Alumna Award in 2014 by the Fairmont State Alumni Association. She attended college on scholarships in both basketball and track, and she earned Radio & Television Communication and Regents of Arts degrees while maintaining her scholarships. After college, she moved to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area where she currently resides.
Hopkins is a co-host and sports reporter for the Pro Football Plus television show covering the Washington Redskins on Mid-Atlantic Sports Net (MASN). She is also a host and analyst on CTV NFL Sideline Report during the NFL season. Hopkins has worked as a radio producer, talk show host and DJ. Additionally, she spent time as a staff writer, writing weekly human-interest stories and sports features; produced and wrote feature stories on local sports personalities; and also contributed to stories for the Afro Newspaper.
Hopkins works for National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In 1997 and again in 1999, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2000, she started the Hopkins Breast Cancer Inc. Foundation. The Foundation provides financial assistance to aid in the treatment and related costs for disadvantaged breast cancer patients who reside in the Washington Metropolitan area. Each year, the Foundation hosts a basketball tournament to raise money for breast cancer survivors. From 2000-2004, she served as a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society to educate, increase awareness of breast cancer prevention and early detection and survival for women. In 2001, Sears, the WNBA, the Washington Mystics and National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations selected her as the Local Breast Health Hero. In 2011, Hopkins was selected by Under Armour as one of three breast cancer survivors to represent the brand in their Power in Pink national campaign.
Hopkins is an accomplished competitive athlete. She played basketball for several years with both the Bethesda Naval and Walter Reed Military base teams and currently competes regularly on Walter Reed Navy Medical Center Wheelchair basketball team. She also competes in rowing for Medstar NRH Paralympic Sports Club. She served as a board member for the Breast Cancer Care Foundation from 2000-2005.
A West Virginia native, Hopkins is the eighth of 10 children born to the late Irving and Nazimova Hopkins. She is a member of the Temple of Healing Waters, COGIC, where she is a missionary, and served as the audio and sound department for several years. She is very active in her local community, where she volunteers her time to various community initiatives such as the Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation.
Bryan Foley of Pipestem has been selected as the Senior Class Representative for the Class of 2015. A graduate of Summers County High School, he is the son of Rhonda Foley and the grandson of Ray and Ruth Foley. He graduated in December 2014 from Fairmont State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry.
“I come from a family of mechanics, coal miners, pipe layers. I’m the first person in my family to go to college,” Foley said. “As a first generation college student, you have no idea what you’re going into. It’s so difficult. To come to Fairmont State and for the teachers to be so receptive and so understanding of your needs, you can’t find that anywhere else.”
As a student at Fairmont State, Foley served three terms as the student representative to the FSU Board of Governors. In addition to being named to the President’s List every semester for his academic success, he received the Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry from the American Chemical Society in 2013. He was named the Most Outstanding Member of Student Government in 2013 and 2014. He was awarded the Eleanor M. Ford Outstanding Junior Endowed Scholarship in 2014, as well as the Outstanding Junior Award from the Chemistry Department in 2014. During his senior year, Foley also was a freshman peer tutor in Chemistry.
Foley was engaged in campus life. He was a member and treasurer of the American Chemical Society Student Affiliates; a member of Student Government; assistant undergraduate editor for Connotation Press; a New Student Ambassador; and a saxophonist in numerous ensembles in the Fairmont State Bands.
Foley developed scientific experience as an undergraduate researcher at Fairmont State in 2013 to 2014. Working with faculty mentor Dr. Andreas Baur, he used high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection to determine the amount of benzo[a]pyrene in cigarette smoke. His work has been published, and he has presented his research on campus at the Celebration of Student Scholarship, at West Virginia University and at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.
In June 2014, Foley was selected as a Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) intern in the Department of Energy at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and currently is participating in a second internship with that program. At Brookhaven, he has studied the effectiveness of DL-tartaric acid as a chelating agent to aid with separation of actinium-225 from irradiated thorium. He has been accepted to Texas A&M University as an Inorganic Chemistry Ph.D. candidate for the fall of 2015. Foley hopes to obtain his doctorate in inorganic chemistry with an emphasis on organometallic catalyst design and synthesis.