On Feb. 17 and 18, Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College will host the 20th Annual Student Leadership Conference with the theme “Where Will You Be Tomorrow?” Sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Residence Life and Student Government, the conference is designed for high school and college students, student organization and club leaders, Greek life officers and members, Student Government members, Freshman Counselors, residence hall advisers and prospective leaders.
The conference registration fee is $35 for the general public, high school students and college or university students. Registration is free for FSU and Pierpont students and FSU GEAR UP students. FSU GEAR UP students should contact their GEAR UP liaison to register. For more information, call (304) 367-4215.
The conference will focus on helping students strengthen their personal and professional leadership skills. Sessions are intended to inspire students to engage more on campus, in the community and in the world.
Events on Friday, Feb. 17, will include registration and dinner from 5 to 6 p.m. in Colebank Hall Gym, followed by a welcome and icebreaker activity from 6 to 7 p.m. Keynote speaker Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch will present remarks at 7 p.m. A Mardi Gras Party, featuring a DJ, dancing, refreshments, contests and prizes, is planned for 9 to 11 p.m. in the Falcon Center third floor conference rooms.
Consuelo Castillo-Kickbusch is an inspiration to people everywhere. She comes from a financially challenged background, yet rose to become the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the Combat Support Field in the U.S. Army. LTC Castillo-Kickbusch motivates everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to young children with her lectures, and has now set her words in stone in a book titled “Journey to the Future,” which is a guide to success that children everywhere can utilize as a manual for life.
In 1996, Castillo-Kickbusch retired as a 20-year military veteran and founded Educational Achievement Services, Inc. (EAS) to realize her personal dream and mission of preparing tomorrow’s leaders today. Consuelo has created The Family Leadership Institute (FLI) as a branch of Educational Achievement Services, Inc. FLI is a comprehensive program dedicated to helping immigrant Hispanic families participate in their children’s education so that their young people stay in school and pursue advanced degrees.
Castillo-Kickbusch’s results-oriented seminars utilize real-life case studies, successful leadership behaviors and guiding principles through role-play to provide a dynamic and interactive learning environment. As a result, participants develop leadership skills and achieve optimum performance. She also helps them to examine the role our diverse cultures and backgrounds bring to leadership development.
Registration and breakfast will be from 9 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, with a welcome at 9:30 a.m.
Keynote speaker Michael Belmear will present remarks at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in Colebank Hall Gym. Belmear began his career in higher education at West Virginia University working as the stack supervisor for the downtown main campus library from 1971 to 1974. He was then hired at WVU as an admissions counselor from 1974 to 1978 and was responsible for increasing minority enrollment. During that time, both overall university enrollment and minority enrollment increased.
Michael Belmear came to Fairmont State as a Student Affairs counselor in August 1979. In this position, he served as a counselor and recruiter. His duties were later expanded to include advisor to the Student Government and Student Activities programs. For 31 years, he was director of the New Student Orientation program, and he also created and directed the annual statewide Fairmont State and Pierpont Student Leadership Conference. In 1993, he was appointed Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and then served as Vice President for Student Affairs for FSU and Pierpont. His responsibilities included housing, multicultural affairs, disability services, student health service, counseling, student activities and development, career services and managing the Turley Center.
During his time at Fairmont State and Pierpont, Belmear worked to get Student Government executive officers paid, created the statewide student leadership conference, expanded the New Student Orientation program, created the Fairmont State and Pierpont Celebration of Ideas Lecture Series, served as Vice President for the Governor’s Commission on the Holocaust, created the Student Affairs Hall of Fame, organized and helped create the exchange program with the University of Calabria in Italy including a Summer Exchange Camp for high school students from Italy and created the Diversity Scholars Camp for minority students.
Throughout his professional career, he was selected as the Classified Staff Employee of the Year in 1995, elected President of The WV Association of Student Personnel Administrators, received the West Virginia Association of Student Personnel Distinguished Service Award, received The City of Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission Patron of the Arts Award and was selected as the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival 2009 Honorary Italian Man of The Year.
Belmear is a native of Fairmont and earned his B.A. degree in Public Relations and M.A. in counseling and guidance from West Virginia University. He taught undergraduate classes in Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Race, Class and Gender and Empowering Leadership. He and his wife Robin live in Morgantown and have two sons, Michael and Andrew. He enjoys golf and is an avid reader.
Leadership development workshops are planned from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. Lunch will be from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in Colebank Hall Gym. Morris Morrison will present a special workshop titled “Student Leader to High Achiever” for pre-registered students will be from 1 to 3:50 p.m. A wrap-up with the awarding of certificates and door prizes is set for 4 p.m. in Colebank Hall Gym.
Morris Morrison was born in New York City. Shortly after his birth, he was orphaned by the death of his mother and father. Upon the last request of his parents, Morrison was cared for and raised by the late Gwendolyn Sanders, of Fairmont. Although she passed away when he was a teenager, “Mrs. Gwen” left Morrison in the hands of a community that would be instrumental in assisting him in fulfilling the opportunities that she sacrificed to give him: the opportunity to pursue his complete potential, while giving back to a community that gave him so much. Through his company, The Morris Morrison Development Group, based in Lake Norman, N.C., he utilizes the leadership experiences that he learned in Fairmont to impact a variety of clients both domestically and internationally.
Sign language interpreters and other accommodations for those with disabilities are available by request by contacting (304) 367-4686 or Andrea.Pammer@fairmontstate.edu or Andrea.Pammer@pierpont.edu by Feb. 13. Sign language interpreting for the keynote speakers on Friday evening and Saturday morning will be provided.