FSU to Celebrate 148th Commencement on May 13

Thursday, May 04, 2017

More than 400 students will participate in the 148th Commencement for Fairmont State University at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 13, in the Feaster Center.

Dr. Maria C. Rose, FSU President, will present special remarks for the ceremony, which will mark her last as president; she will retire when her contract ends on June 30.  Julian Pecora of Clarksburg will be the student speaker representing the Class of 2017.

For those who would like to view the May 13 ceremony from home, video will be streamed live at www.fairmontstate.edu/livegraduation. A screen also will be set up in the second floor Main Street area 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 Spring Commencement and Pinning Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 11, 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 may participate in the May 13 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,” Rose said. “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 13, 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. General parking will stay in the right line upon entering campus. The left lane will be for shuttles and handicapped parking only. Shuttle pick up and drop offs will be indicated on the map with a star and a color that will correspond with the shuttle route. 

Some parking changes also will be in effect. Students participating in Commencement should park in the tennis courts area for rehearsal. A temporary parking lot with 245 spaces is available and is located adjacent to the Tennis Courts. 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.

All handicapped accessible parking will be located in the Pence Hall parking lot. 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.

The best advice for those attending Commencement is to arrive early for the event and to carpool as much as possible. Thank you in advance for your attention to these changes and for your patience. 

Sign language interpreting services will be provided during the ceremony. The Office of Disability Services will provide Commencement programs in 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.


Dr. Maria C. Bennett Rose, FSU President

After being part of the Fairmont State family for more than 25 years, Dr. Maria C. Bennett Rose became the University’s president on May 3, 2012. Prior to her appointment, she served as Interim President, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and as a faculty member. 

Dr. Rose taught developmental writing, developmental reading and study skills and has coordinated the campus-wide peer tutoring program. She served as Director of Retention and Vice President of Academic Services. Working with the FSU School of Education’s Professional Development Schools initiative, she has served as the liaison for White Hall Elementary School.

She was a member of the Governor’s Council on Literacy during the administrations of Gaston Caperton, Cecil Underwood and Bob Wise. As a member of the Council, she served as Chair of Public Outreach and worked on many family literacy projects. Rose authored and served as the Principal Investigator for the Fairmont State Title III Strengthening Institutions grant. She received national recognition as Outstanding First Year Student Advocate, which was presented by the National Resource Center for First Year Experience and Students in Transition. Dr. Rose served on a task force for the Higher Education Policy Commission Adult Learner initiative and is currently serving on the Commission’s College Completion Task Force.

Chancellor Paul Hill of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission named Dr. Rose to the Compensation, Planning and Review Committee maintained in SB439 as part of the human resources directive (Old 330). Also during her tenure as president, she has served as chair of the Conduct Committee for the Mountain East Conference and Presidential Coordinator for the West Virginia Association of Regional Colleges and Universities.

Dr. Rose has remained active in the Fairmont community, serving on the boards of directors for the United Way of Marion County and the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.

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.

“I am grateful for the relationships built and lives changed by this University, which has made a great impact on my life.  My role in the story of Fairmont State is changing but not ending. Tom, our family and I will always be proud to be part of the Falcon family,” Dr. Rose said.


 Julian Pecora

Julian Parker Pecora is a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg. He is the son of Andrea Pecora and William Pecora. He is the stepson of Rocco Fucillo and Connie Pecora. Julian followed his stepfather Rocco Fucillo and his uncle Jeremy Pecora as a member of the Falcon Family.  

Having many options to pursue his higher education, Julian chose Fairmont State University because of the family-type atmosphere that permeates the campus. Fairmont State University is a place where the student body, faculty, staff, and the administration want students to succeed.

Julian has stated, “Attending Fairmont State University was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have competed on the state, national, and international level in high school and in college and I can genuinely say that Fairmont State University students and professors are on par with the best in the world.”

Fairmont State is a place where students can be involved and have opportunities across the world. Pecora is an alumnus of the prestigious American Legion Boys Nation and the United States Senate Youth Program, where he obtained the honor of being a William Randolph Hearst Scholar. Pecora has been featured on CSPAN, had two meetings with President Barack Obama in the White House, and has addressed the West Virginia House of Delegates while appearing on the Public Broadcast Station.

While at Fairmont State, Julian was named to the President’s List every semester. He was the captain of the Speech and Debate Team and a William White Scholar. He was a nine-time state finalist at the State Higher Education Forensics Tournament. Pecora has competed in international debate tournaments through Afghans for Progressive Thinking. APT is an organization that works with university students to promote a culture of tolerance, openness and respect by providing opportunities to engage on contemporary issues.

He is a founding member and the current president of the Model United Nations team. He has helped lead the team to second- and third-place finishes at the International Model United Nations Conference at the UN in NYC. Pecora and his teammates competed against over 200 schools and foundations across the world to become award winners. Pecora represented the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Society in its national award-winning competition, and he finished as a National Quiz Bowl semifinalist.

Pecora is a member of the Criminal Justice, Political Science and Social Sciences Honor Societies. He was the parliamentarian for the Student Government Association and was a Frasure-Singleton Intern with the West Virginia Legislature. During his internship, he was one of two selected of 30 students to address the Youth of West Virginia on statewide television. Pecora is also a member of the Society of Collegiate Democrats and represented Fairmont State University at the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.

Pecora was handpicked by the Social Sciences Department to be Fairmont State’s first Student Ambassador for Political Science. He has worked as a political consultant and treasurer on a successful political campaign and was named the Forensic Student of the Year for his outstanding leadership in debate and speech. Pecora was awarded the Political Science Achievement award for his career at Fairmont State.

Pecora will be attending West Virginia University College of Law. He hopes to have a career in politics and represent the state of West Virginia on the state and national level. Julian Pecora’s story of achievement shows that Fairmont State University is truly a place where you can be first.