Gov. Joe Manchin to Speak at FSU Commencement on May 15

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More than 360 students will participate in Spring Commencement for Fairmont State University. Gov. Joe Manchin will be the speaker.

The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at the Feaster Center. A reception in the Falcon Center will immediately follow the ceremony.

"Fairmont State University is pleased to welcome Governor Joe Manchin as our commencement speaker," said FSU President Tom Krepel. "Fairmont State University embraces the vision of Governor Manchin, and other state public policy makers, to raise the educational aspiration and attainment levels of all West Virginia citizens. All of us are pleased to have the governor visit our campus so we can demonstrate the return-on-investment provided to the state by the faculty and educational experience delivered by FSU."

Gov. Joe Manchin

Joe Manchin, West Virginia's 34th governor, was born and raised in the small coal mining town of Farmington, where he learned at a young age the value of commitment and education.

He inherited a head for business from his grandfather, who was an Italian immigrant and the town grocer. His grandmother was a virtual one-woman social services agency, who helped him discover his heart for people.

After attending West Virginia University on a football scholarship, he became a successful businessman.  He was a state legislator from 1982-1996, where he earned a reputation for standing up for West Virginians.

As secretary of state from 2000-2004, the office became known for excellent customer service. Its SHARES program promoted democracy to schoolchildren and registered 42,000 high school students to vote. Subsequently, the 2004 general election had the highest number of West Virginians voting since 1972.

Gov. Manchin has never forgotten his family's commitment to its local community. He also was president of the Marion County Rescue Squad from 2000 to 2004.

As governor, Joe Manchin has improved our state's economic climate, while reducing West Virginia's long-term debt and lowering taxes for citizens and businesses. He is committed to making health care affordable and accessible, creating a seamless education system for our children, ensuring prescription drug assistance for senior citizens and providing more support for our veterans.

Under his leadership, more than $12.5 billion in business investments have been made in the state. West Virginia also led the nation in economic growth from May to August 2008. Working with the Legislature, he fixed the state's workers' compensation system, established the first comprehensive teacher pay package in more than 15 years, dramatically decreased the state's debt, slowed the growth of state government payroll, strengthened ethics laws and cut the food tax in half.

Gov. Manchin has proposed and approved millions of dollars in tax relief for West Virginia's citizens and businesses. He is known throughout the state as a team builder who encourages cooperation and values all input, and he has quickly become a leader on the national scene. He currently serves as vice chair of the National Governors Association, Chairman of the Southern States Energy Board, past president of the Council of State Governments, and a past chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and the Southern Governors' Association.

Gov. Manchin is an avid pilot, outdoorsman, hunter, angler and motorcyclist. He has been married for 42 years to the former Gayle Conelly of Beckley. They have three children: Heather, Joseph IV and Brooke, and are the proud grandparents of Joseph V, Sophie, Kelsey, Madeline, Chloe, Jack and Carly.

Kelley Bronson

Kelley Bronson, a native of Winchester, Va., will be the student speaker representing the graduating class. She is graduating with a degree in Aviation Technology--Aviation Administration. The daughter of Michael and Mary Bronson, she has held numerous leadership roles representing the FSU student body. Bronson served as Student Government president from 2008-2009 and is currently the student representative to the FSU Board of Governors. She began her involvement with Student Government as a residence hall representative for Prichard Hall. Bronson has also been employed as a resident assistant and an assistant resident director for the Housing Office of FSU and Pierpont Community & Technical College.

Handicapped parking will be available on May 15, and parking attendants from the Department of Public Safety will be on hand to direct traffic. The Feaster Center parking lot located directly across Squibb Wilson Boulevard from the Duvall-Rosier Field parking lot will be used for handicapped parking. This lot allows guests to enter the Feaster Center directly onto the arena floor. 

Seating will be available on the bottom rows of the arena for those with special needs. For more information, call the Office of Disability Services at (304) 367-4686 or the Department of Public Safety at (304) 367-4157. Sign language interpreting services will be provided during the ceremony.