Each year the Fairmont State Alumni Association receives countless nominations for their Homecoming awards. This year we are proud to present awards to six remarkable alumni. To submit a nomination, e-mail Emily Swain, Director of alumni Relations, at email@example.com. Click here for registration details and to attend this year's event.
Outstanding Young Alumna—Sergeant Michelle Cross ‘00
Sergeant Michelle Cross graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Fairmont State in 2000. At the time of graduation, Sgt. Cross was a member of the Alpha Phi Sigma, Psi Chi, and Pi Gamma Mu Honor Societies.
In 2001, Sgt. Cross became a sworn law enforcement officer with the Clarksburg, WV Police Department. She received further training by the New York City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Hostage Negotiations and has served as a primary hostage negotiator since 2002. She is certified as a law enforcement instructor by the FBI and State of WV, and provides certified instruction in DUI enforcement, hostage negotiations, and recruit officer field training. She returned to Fairmont State as an adjunct faculty member in 2010, teaching in the criminal justice program.
Sgt. Cross has received certifications in railroad crash investigations, fingerprint identification, undercover drug operations, incident command, risk management, clandestine laboratories, transient criminal groups, police management and suicide bombing response. Currently she holds the rank of Sergeant and works in the Patrol Division.
She was recognized in 2002 for a successful intervention of a drug trafficking ring where juvenile females were being forced to transport narcotics across state lines. In 2004 she received a commendation from the Bureau of Emergency Services for the successful negotiation of an incident involving a child hostage and an armed gunman. In 2007 she was named Officer of the Year in recognition of a large drug arrest she completed involving narcotic activities that spanned from Colorado to Maryland. Sgt. Cross was also recognized as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year 2008 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars for dedication to service. She was one of several officers recognized in a 2009 homicide investigation for actions in the line of duty which prevented the suspect from murdering additional victims. Stg. Cross has several awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for impaired driving enforcement and education.
Sgt. Cross is also actively involved with area youth. She has been a guest presenter in several schools and youth groups covering topics such as personal safety, drug and alcohol awareness, focus on higher education, ecological stewardship, and science in policing, and is currently organizing a summer program for at-risk children with an emphasis on health and science.
Sgt. Cross loves to travel and learn about different cultures. She has been on educational excursions in Central America and will be traveling to Africa, Germany, and Denmark this fall. She also enjoys and is a member of three charity running teams, Best Buddies, Team Odyssey, and Pegasus Farm Therapeutic Equestrian Center, and has run approximately 500 miles to raise funds for these charities over the past year. Sgt. Cross has a rescue Beagle and tends to a flock of organic chickens as well as an organic garden and fruit trees. Above all she enjoys spoiling her two young nephews, Kyle and Lucas.
Outstanding Young Alumnus—Patrick Snively ’99
Patrick Snively graduated from Fairmont State with a degree in architecture in 1999. While a student at FSU, then head coach, Ed Denny gave Snively the opportunity to walk onto the Fairmont State swim team in 1993. As an undergraduate, Snively was part of two conference championship teams. He served as a men’s team co-captain as a senior and stayed on to work as a student assistant coach while completing is degree. He also served as an assistant coach with the newly-created Fairmont Area Swim Team (FAST).
Discovering a love of coaching, Snively earned a master’s degree in Athletics Coaching Education at West Virginia University in 2000. While at West Virginia, he worked with the Mountaineer Aquatic Club. After earning his master’s degree, Snively returned to Fairmont State for one season to serve as assistant men’s and women’s swimming coach at Fairmont State and head coach of FAST.
In 2001, Snively’s mentor, Denny accepted a coaching position at California University of Pennsylvania. Snively was asked to step in as interim head coach and instructor in the Health and Human Performance department. In 2002, the interim title was removed and Snively’s swimmers have earned twenty all-American performances and thirty-eight school records. His swimmers have also been named National Swimmer of the Week six times and conference Swimmer of the Year five times. His women’s teams have been named Scholar All-America teams in each of his eleven seasons and they have achieved the highest cumulative grade point average in the nation twice. He has also coached three Academic All-Americans, three Feaster Award winners, a Colebank Award winner, and a West Virginia NCAA Woman of the Year. Snively has earned the College Swim Coaches Association of America’s Certificate of Excellence six times. The Fairmont State men’s team won a WVIAC title in 2005 and Snively was named WVIAC Men’s Coach of the Year.
Aside from coaching the Fairmont State teams, Snively has taught Physical Education courses and served as team director and coach of FAST for the past eleven years. He has assisted the Fairmont State Athletics Department with compliance assistance and sports information. He currently serves in Faculty Senate and on the Fairmont State Athletics Hall of Fame Committee.
Active in the community, Snively volunteers with the American Cancer Society as a Marion County leadership council member and Relay for Life support staff member. He created Swim for Life as a fundraiser for FAST and Relay for Life. The program has raised nearly $40,000 in eight years for the Relay for Life fund. He also helped to begin Footwork for CJD (Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease) to raise money to research the disease that took his mother’s life in 2007. Snively is also an American Red Cross instructor and has gotten his team involved in community clean-up projects.
Snively began work toward a Master’s in Business Administration degree at Fairmont State in 2010 and was inducted into the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society in Spring 2012.
Snively is married to the former Amy Greene’97 and the couple will celebrate their twelfth anniversary on October 21st.
Outstanding Alumna—Nancy Lewis Farley ‘70
Nancy Ann Lewis Farley graduated from Fairmont State College in 1970 with a degree in elementary education. While a student at FSC, Farley was a member of the Beta Chi Chapter of Phi Mu Sorority as well as the Alpha Delta Kappa education honorary. She continued her education at West Virginia University where she obtained a master’s in reading.
Farley began her teaching career at Winfield Elementary, a three-room school in Marion County. She was a founding faculty member of East Dale School when it opened in 1972. She spent thirty-six years at East Dale and later moved to Whitehall Elementary before retiring in 2011.
Her commitment to education has gone well beyond the classroom. She and her late husband, Charles Berry, were instrumental in establishing Marion County’s eminence in the Odyssey of the Mind program. Farley continued her work when the state shifted to participating in Destination Imagination. Her work with OM and DI took her and her students to state and world competitions in Maryland, Tennessee, Colorado, Iowa and Florida where they finished in the top ten for many years.
Farley had the opportunity to travel to Japan to study Japanese culture and educational system through the MARJiS Foundation at the University of Maryland. She toured with twenty-four American educators and had the opportunity to visit preschools, elementary and high schools in Toyota City. She lived with a host family and shared American culture with hem in return for her immersion into their home and lives. Upon her return to the States, Farley coordinated a full-scale Japanese festival with the students, faculty, staff and parents. All elementary students from Marion County were invited to experience Japanese dance, art, sport, fashion, housing and food.
Farley and her family built, owned and operated the Dairy Dreme (now the Dairy Cream Corner) in 1972. Over the years the business has become a landmark for the area and signifies the start of spring.
Farley is involved in many civic organizations. She is the past president of the American Cancer Society—Marion Unit, and was a founding member (and past chair) of the Marion County Relay for Life. She serves on the Stepping Stone Board of Directors, as well as the United Way of Marion County. Farley is a member of the Woman’s Club of Fairmont and previously served on the board and council for GFWC of West Virginia. She is a member of the staff of the American Legion Auxiliary’s Rhododendron Girl’s State and is a United Hospital Center Auxiliary Volunteer. She continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Marion County School Employees Federal Credit Union and remains a staunch supporter and advocate of education throughout the region. She is a member of Immaculate Conception Church and the Marion Choir as well.
She and her husband, Randall Farley, reside in Whitehall. Their children, John Ross Farley and Dr. Kiley Berry, reside in Port Richey, Florida and Durango, Colorado respectively.
Outstanding Alumnus—Kenneth R. Miller ‘65
Kenneth R. Miller graduated cum laude with bachelor’s in biology and minor in sociology in 1965. Miller was active in many student organizations. He was the president of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and Student Body President. He was also on the Fighting Falcons football and basketball teams. Miller continued his education at West Virginia University where he earned a Master of Science degree in zoology in 1967. From 1968 to 1970, Miller was on active duty with the United States Army at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research where he worked in biomedical research of malaria.
Miller returned to WVU to study law and earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1972. He has bar admission in the WV Supreme Court of Appeals, United States District Court for the Southern District of WV, United State District Court for the Northern District of WV and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He began his career as an Associate at Furbee, Amos, Webb & Critchfield in Fairmont, WV in 1972 and became partner at the firm in 1975. As partner, Miller specialized in general practice with an emphasis in civil and insurance defense litigation and criminal defense litigation. In 2001, Miller joined Higinbotham & Higinbotham in Fairmont, WV and focused on personal injury and general practice. In 2011, Miller formed Miller Law Offices, PLLC. His work in the firm specializes in personal injury, oil and gas and general practice. In addition to his work as an attorney, Miller has served a commissioner to Circuit Court and mediates civil cases.
Miller is a member of multiple professional associations including the WV State Bar, WV Bar Association, American Bar Association and the Marion County Bar Association (President 1978-79). He is a former member of the Defense Trial Counsel of WV, as well the Defense Research Institute. He was on the Local Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee for the US District Court for the Northern District of WV and a fellow with the WV Bar Foundation. Miller has been named in the National Directory of Criminal Lawyers and Who’s Who in American Law. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the WV Association for Justice. His work has been featured at several seminars including the National Business Institute, Defense Trail Counsel of WV Seminar, WV Continuing Legal Education Seminar, WV Association of Counseling and Development Courier and the WV Humanities Commission.
Miller has held numerous post-secondary teaching positions in West Virginia and Maryland. He taught general biology lecture and laboratory at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland; “The Law and the Environment” at Fairmont State Community College; as well as “Medical and Legal Aspects of Coaching” at Fairmont State University.
Miller is actively involved in the Fairmont State community. He served as the president of the Fairmont State Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1994-96 and as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach from 1998-2007. Miller has served on numerous civic boards including the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Marion, Fairmont Industrial and Credit Corporation and Fairmont Chamber Music Society. He was a member of the Fairmont Rotary, a current member of the Fairmont Elks Lodge and very active with the Christ Episcopal Church.
Miller lives in Fairmont with his wife Jude. He has three children, Kara, Courtney and Alex and one grandson, Cohen 3 years old.
Alumna of Achievement—Jennifer Kurdle ‘89
Jennifer (Jenny) Mason Kurdle graduated from Fairmont State in 1989. Immediately upon graduating, she joined MICROS Systems Inc. She solidified her career at MICROS, a leading a world renowned designer, manufacturer, marketer and servicer of enterprise information solutions for the global hospitality and retail industries, to become a successful executive in charge of taking the public company to the next level. At the time Kurdle joined, MICROS was an $11 Million company. Today, it is at the top of is competitive set, with over $1Billion in sales in a market cap of $4 Billion.
Kurdle excelled at various roles within MICROS, quickly learning the ins and outs of the company and eventually finding her passion and talent for sales. In 1994, she moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to lead a newly formed division targeted specifically to the Casino market. Kurdle showcased a stellar initiative in this position, exceeding sales and quotas by 150%. Soon after, Kurdle was promoted to VP, of Project Management for Strategic Accounts reporting directly to MICROS’s CEO.
Kurdle went to drive several key divisions within MICROS. From 2000 until 2005, Ms. Kurdle was the Company’s Vice President, Leisure & Entertainment, and thereafter held the position of Executive Vice President, Leisure & Entertainment, from 2005 to 2008. Currently, she is the Company’s Executive Vice President of North America Operations and Chief Administrative Officer, a position she has held since July 2008.
Kurdle is the daughter of Donald and Barbara Mason of Idamay and sister of Denise Kregecz of Fairmont, WV. She is married to Kyle Kurdle and they have two beautiful twin girls Molly and Maggie (age 11). Kurdle and her family currently reside in Clarksville, MD.
Kurdle is also involved in the School PTA, loves to travel and read. Kurdle and her family are involved and contribute to Breast Cancer Research.
Alumnus of Achievement—Bruce Martin ‘83
Bruce Martin graduated from Fairmont State in 1983 with a bachelor’s in business administration and a minor in political science. Prior to attending FSC, Martin was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 425 in Fairmont as a journeyman wireman.
From 1982-1990, Martin served the vice-president of the Hunger Agency, Inc. (an insurance agency) in Fairmont. He was certified in 1995 as a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) through the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors. In 1990, Martin became president of the Hunter Agency and served in that capacity until 1998. In 1998, He became the President and CEO of WesBanco Insurance Services, Inc., in Morgantown, WV and continues in that position today.
In 2001, Martin became the vice-chairman of the WV Board of Risk & Insurance Management. In this position, he manages all insurance and risk for the State of WV and eligible non-profits. During his term, the Board has gone from a $65 million un-funded liability to a $223 million surplus. He has been re-appointed to serve by both Governors Manchin and Tomblin.
Martin also serves as a board member (audit committee chairman and member of the underwriting committee) for the WV Mutual Insurance Company. Since the inception of the company, inception rates have been reduced by 35%, reversing the exodus of doctors from West Virginia and stabilizing medical care in rural parts of the state.
Martin has been actively involved in various professional organizations. He has served on the national board for the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, has served as president of the Professional Independent Insurance Agents of West Virginia, Inc (PIIAWV), chairman of the West Virginia Agents’ Political Action Committee, member and chairman of West Virginia Insurance Fraud Coalition, and as vice-president and at-large director of the Independent Insurance Agents of West Virginian, Inc. Martin has received numerous awards for his work in the insurance industry. He has been named the 1991 IIAWV Chairman of the Year, the 1991 IIAWV Young Agent of the Year, 1997 PIIAWV Agent of the Year and, most recently, was named the Southern Agents Technical Conference chairman in 2002.
In 2007, Martin became the executive director/ Board of Directors member of the WV Medical Professionals Health Program. Because of his work in medical risk management, Martin became concerned that WV was the only state in the U.S. that did not have legislation to regulate physicians with addiction issues. After two years of organization, a task force was formed that included representatives from the WV medical community and successfully lobbied the WV legislature to pass Senate Bill 573. This bill allowed for the creation of the WV Medical Professionals Health Program, a non-profit whose mission is protect the public by monitoring and overseeing physicians in conjunction with their respective regulatory boards.
Martin is also very involved in the Fairmont and area community. He is on the board of directors for the MountainFest Motorcycle Rally, which supports Mylan Park. In the first seven years, the organization has donated over $200,000 to the park. He has served as an assistant softball coach at East Fairmont High School, manager and president of Fairmont Little League Baseball and was a member of the East Fairmont High School Foundation.
Martin lives in Fairmont with his wife Stacia and has two children, Robert and Kara.