As part of the Homecoming 2015 Sesquicentennial Celebration for Fairmont State University, six exceptional alumni will be honored at the annual Alumni Awards Brunch at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
Sponsored by Thrasher Engineering, the event will be held in the Falcon Center third floor conference rooms. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Visit www.fairmontstate.edu/homecoming to purchase tickets or to view a complete list of events and additional information.
“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,” said Emily Swain, Director of Alumni Relations. “Homecoming 2015 is very special because this year we celebrate FSU’s Sesquicentennial, 150 years of academic opportunity, tradition and Falcon pride.”
Outstanding Alumnus—H. Skip Tarasuk, Class of 1971
H. Skip Tarasuk, Jr. graduated from Farmington High School in 1967 and continued his education at Fairmont State. He graduated with a degree in secondary education in 1971.
Tarasuk is employed by BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company in Charleston as a Special Projects Consultant. He serves as Chairman of BrickStreet’s Agents Advisory Council. Tarasuk was the first Chairman of the Board of Directors for BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company from 2006 to 2009. BrickStreet was the 15th largest writer of workers’ compensation coverage in the United States and the second largest West Virginia based insurance company with more than 550 employees and first year premium of $530 million.
Tarasuk is the former owner and was president of Davis & Tarasuk Insurance Corporation until 2012. He previously served as president for Marion County United Way, Marion County ARC, Fairmont Jaycees and the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Tarasuk also served as past director and officer for the Salvation Army, Marion County Chamber of Commerce, West Virginia State Jaycees, West Virginia State Special Olympics, Marion County Humane Society and the Board of Governors of Fairmont State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fairmont State University Foundation.
Tarasuk resides in Fairmont with his wife Connie. They are the parents of Hilary, a government and external relations specialist for BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company in Charlotte, N.C.
2015 Outstanding Alumna—Rebecca (Ford) Phillips, Class of 1965
Rebecca (Ford) Philips graduated from Fairmont State in 1965 with a degree in secondary education. She went on to receive her graduate degree in education from WVU. Both of her parents, her sister, brother and one daughter are also Fairmont State graduates. A life-long resident of Fairmont, she retired after serving for 25 years as the media specialist at her alma mater, East Fairmont High School.
In addition to serving for six years as the scholarship chairman of the Fairmont State University Foundation Board, she is a trustee of the Marion County Public Library and the scholarship chairman of the East Fairmont High School Foundation. Phillips is a member of Gateway United Methodist Church, PEO, Alpha Delta Kappa, serves as a Meals on Wheels volunteer and was a guardian on a recent Honor Flight. While at Fairmont State, Phillips was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and became a member of the FSU Emeritus Club this year. She is an avid reader and enjoys spending her summers at their home on the Tygart River.
She has been married to ’65 graduate Delbert “Butch” Phillips for 50 years, and they have two daughters: Julie Kline and her husband Rick of Jupiter, Fla., and Susan Swiger and her husband Steve of Fairmont. Their three grandchildren are Zoie Kline and Sam and Shay Swiger.
Alumnus of Achievement—Aaron Hawkins, Class of 1971
Aaron Hawkins graduated from Fairmont State in 1971 with a degree in business administration. He went on to earn his MBA from the University of Utah and attended the Graduated School of Banking at Louisiana State University. Hawkins has attended various banking schools across the United States and became a certified trust and financial advisor through the American Bank Association. In that time, Hawkins also served four years in the United States Air Force.
Hawkins spent 36 years in the banking industry and retired from WesBanco Trust and Investment Services as senior vice president & senior trust officer in 2011.
He has been incredibly active in the local community, serving as a previous member of the Fairmont State Alumni Association, Fairmont State Foundation, Marion County Chamber of Commerce, NCWV Community Foundation and Fairmont Community Development Corporation, among many others.
Hawkins was recently appointed to serve on the Fairmont State Board of Governors, and currently is a member of the West Virginia United Methodist Church Conference Finance Committee, is the charter president of South Fairmont Rotary Club and is the co-organizer of the Honor Flight for veterans in North Central West Virginia.
Hawkins lives in Fairmont with his wife, retired Marion County teacher LouAnne Reppard Hawkins ’71. They have two daughters, Cherie and Holly, and have five grandchildren.
Alumna of Achievement—Annie Mack-Evans, Class of 1984
Annie Mack-Evans graduated from Fairmont State in 1984 with a degree in criminal justice. While at Fairmont State, she earned a scholarship for volleyball and track and was the West Virginia Track Woman of the Year in 1983. After attending Fairmont State, Mack-Evans earned an appointment to Basic Law Enforcement Academy Session #57 of the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy in May 1984. She has obtained instructor certifications in CPR/First Aid, Defensive Tactics, Child Safety Seat Installations, Crime Prevention, General Instructor, Radar/LIDAR and Rape Aggression Defense. Her CPR training prepared her for the task of saving two lives in 2011.
Mack-Evans started in Patrol Bureau for 10 years at the Mason District Station and served on the Selective Enforcement Team for four years, receiving a Certificate of Valor for spoiling a robbery. She also provided field training instruction for the current station commander, Captain Gun Lee. She then moved to the Operations Support Bureau for two years performing traffic safety education duties for the public schools and the general public. The next two years, Mack-Evans served as the school education officer at the Reston District Station providing instruction to the school safety patrols and assisted with the Safety Patrol Instructional Summer Camp. She also formed a partnership with Canada’s School Safety Patrols to mirror their training with Fairfax. Mack-Evans numerous instructor certifications came in handy in 1998 when she became a Training Instructor and Squad Leader at the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy.
Her final career move began in 2002 in the Recruiting and Testing Section of the Personnel Resources Division. In addition to recruiting on college campuses, career fairs and military bases, she nurtured a partnership with the criminal justice academies of the Fairfax County Public Schools. She continues to serve as a member of the Career and Technical Education Advisory Board to the Fairfax County School Board, as well as serving on the ECPI College of Technology, Manassas Campus, and Criminal Justice Advisory Board. Mack-Evans currently works for I Drive Smart, a driving school conducted by police officers and is on the board of directors for the Shermon Scott Howard Legacy Foundation. She is the CEO of Mack-Evans and Whitlock Personal Protective Services.
Mack-Evans is the youngest of seven children, born to the late Rev. Richard and Mrs. Mamie Mack in Oak Hill. She has been married to Willie W. Evans, Jr. for more than 14 years. She strongly values her religious convictions. She was a member of the New Bethel Church of God in Christ in Washington, D.C., for 23 years and served as a Youth Leader and a Youth Hospitality Coordinator. She coordinated the Young Ladies of Excellence retreat where young ladies could glean life lessons from seasoned women in the ministry. She also serves as an assistant to the chief of security for the Washington COGIC jurisdiction. In October 2006, she joined The Temple of Healing Waters Church of God in Christ in the Dulles area where the pastor is Dr. Chad Carlton. She serves the church as Director of Security and as a deaconess.
Outstanding Young Alumnus—Craig Jennings, Class of 2003
Craig Jennings graduated from Fairmont State in 2003 with a degree in engineering technology. While at Fairmont, he was a member of the Fighting Falcon football team and was part of the WVIAC conference championship season in 2000. Jennings was nominated by his teammates as a team captain his senior year and was the President of the Fairmont State chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers.
After graduating, Jennings went to work for his family construction company. Since 2007, he has served Preston County as a commissioner and at the time was the youngest county commissioner in the state of West Virginia. In 2011, he was appointed President of the Preston County Commission. He also is one of the six members of the legislative review committee for the County Commission Association of West Virginia. Most recently, he was appointed to the Board of Directors for West Virginia counties Risk Pool. He is a member of the Preston County Chamber of Commerce, charter member of Preston County Crime Commission, member of the Morgantown Network Chapter of Business Networking International and a member of the Workforce West Virginia local elected officials investment board. Since 2011, Jennings has been a licensed insurance producer for Bond Insurance Agency. He also owns and operates Jennings Properties.
Jennings was honored by the County Commission Association of West Virginia as the 2013 James H. Bootan Rising Star and was also named to the State Journal’s “40 under 40” class of 2009.
Jennings has been deeply committed to and involved with Fairmont State University. Since 2013, he has served as the chairman of the Fairmont State Athletic Association. He is also a member of the FSAA $1,000 Club and actively engaged in alumni events.
Jennings resides in Newburg with his wife of 10 years and fellow Fairmont State graduate and athlete Jessica (Kincell) Jennings ’05. She was a member of the Fighting Falcon cheerleading squad from 2001-2005, when the squad won the UCA National Championship in 2002, 2003 and 2005. They have two children, Blake, age 7, and Charlee, age 3. Jennings enjoys being outdoors with his family and friends, fishing, hunting and coaching his son’s flag football team.
Outstanding Young Alumna—Amy (Greene) Snively, Class of 1997, 2013
Amy (Greene) Snively graduated from Fairmont State in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. While in college, Snively was an active member of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority; inducted into Pi Gamma Mu, an honor society for social sciences; and participated in Fairmont State’s Welcome Weekend as a Freshman Counselor.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she enrolled at West Virginia University, and in 1998 earned a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling with an emphasis in vocational evaluation. Snively worked for two private vocational rehabilitation companies and then worked for a physician in Fairmont until 2008, at which time she decided to return to Fairmont State to pursue a master of education degree.
During her first year in the master of education program, Snively began working in the Department of Public Safety at Fairmont State and Pierpont Community & Technical College. Less than a year later, she was offered a program specialist position in the Office of Counseling and Disability Services on campus and has been employed as an academic coach in that department ever since.
Snively completed coursework to earn her master of education degree in May 2013. Her degrees highly complement one another as she works with students who have disabilities in an educational setting. In her current role at Fairmont State, Snively assists students by coordinating academic accommodations and sharing study strategies, time management techniques, organizational skills and the use of assistive technologies.
In addition to her duties as an Academic Coach on campus, Snively serves as the adviser for Active Minds, an organization that empowers students to change the perception of mental health on college campuses across the nation. She has assisted students in the coordination of events such as Everyone Matters Day and suicide prevention activities. She has been trained to facilitate the Alcohol Literacy Challenge™, an alcohol abuse prevention lesson that challenges students’ beliefs about the effects of drinking alcohol. She has trained students on campus to be able to deliver the program to their peers. Snively also makes efforts to promote the well-being and academic success of students by making presentations in classes. She is a member of the Turley Student Services Center Safety Committee.
Over the past school year, Snively has been active on the FSU Community Coordinated Response Team. Because of her involvement with this committee, Snively introduced the It’s On Us national campaign to FSU during the spring 2015 semester. The initiative asks individuals to make a commitment to keeping women and men safe from sexual assault. As a result of her efforts in this campaign, Student Government recognized Snively as a Friend of Student Government at their spring 2015 banquet.
Most recently, Snively was invited to become a member of the Veterans Services Advisory Board. She also initiated a Counseling & Disability Services Resource Mentor program for faculty. This fall is the first semester for the program. The goal of the program is to help faculty have a better understanding of counseling and disability services available on campus. In the community, Snively has delivered Meals on Wheels to residents in the Fairmont area, has served as a leadership council member of the American Cancer Society Marion County unit, as a Relay for Life support staff member and is a member of the current Leadership Marion class. She has participated in awareness and fundraising efforts for research of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disease and has volunteered as a camp counselor for Camp NABE, a Hospice Care bereavement camp for children ages 7 to 17 who have experienced the death of a loved one.
Snively is married to Patrick Snively ’99, Fairmont State Associate Athletic Director/Head Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach and Fairmont State 2012 Outstanding Young Alumnus. The couple will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary on Oct. 21.