Challenge Gift to Support Folklife Center

Thursday, June 15, 2006

As a sign of commitment to the new home of the West Virginia Folklife Center, Fairmont State University has pledged to match private gifts to the Folklife Kennedy Barn Restoration Fund up to $250,000. This challenge gift is designed to double private gifts to the capital building project.

Community members who make a gift of $10,000 or more to the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., in support of the Folklife Kennedy Barn Restoration Fund will receive a dollar-for-dollar match of their gift from the university.

"I am proud that our institution possesses such a rich archive of Appalachian heritage," said FSU President Daniel J. Bradley. "We trust that this challenge will be an incentive to encourage supporters of the West Virginia Folklife Center to provide private investment for this important building project."

In addition to the dollar match, donors will receive tax deductions for the full amount of their gift. Also, all gifts to this program qualify the donor for charter membership in The Column Society, Fairmont State's donor recognition group at a level commensurate with their gift. Finally, donors may choose to pay tribute to their family heritage through special facility naming opportunities.

"We are thrilled that Fairmont State is committed to the success of the Kennedy Barn Restoration," said Dr. Judy P. Byers, Director of the West Virginia Folklife Center.

"Private community investment in this matching challenge inspires other individuals to commit to the preservation of our priceless cultural history. A greater shared knowledge enables the community to honor the traditions of the past and celebrate our shared vision for the future."

The Kennedy Barn, under the historic name Kennedy Dairy Barn, has received the nomination to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places as designated by the West Virginia Archives and History Commission Review Board on June 2 in Charleston. The nomination has now been sent to the National Keeper, United States Department of the Interior Park Service. The nomination was prepared by Michael Gioulis, Historic Preservation Consultant, Inc., in collaboration with the West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State, through a grant provided by the Marion County Commission.

The Kennedy Barn was built in 1901 by the Michael Kennedy family to facilitate their dairy business. In the early 1940s, it was converted to the Colonial Apartment Building. Ruth Ann Musick, regional folkore scholar and English professor at Fairmont State, was one of the residents from 1946 until her death in 1974. The building was recently purchased by FSU as part of its campus expansion plan. The Kennedy Barn is a three-story, gambrel roof, Dutch Colonial style building, located alongside the Squibb Wilson Boulevard, as part of the new entrance to campus. It will be renovated to house the West Virginia Folklife Center.

The West Virginia Folklife Center is dedicated to the identification, preservation and perpetuation of the region's rich cultural heritage, through academic studies, educational programs, festivals, performances and publications. The center is part of the FSU Department of Language & Literature.

Fairmont State Community & Technical College has collaborated with the West Virginia Folklife Center to offer a new Folk Arts Apprenticeship program and a Folklife Associate Degree in Folk Arts Management and Museum Studies. The work of several of the craft apprenticeship instructors will be on display through July 27 in the Brooks Memorial Gallery of Wallman Hall as part of the exhibit, "Carrying on the Tradition: The Craft, The Maker, The Teacher."

The mission of the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., is to support, through ethical stewardship, the mission of Fairmont State University and Fairmont State Community & Technical College. The Foundation identifies, establishes and cultivates meaningful relationships with Fairmont State alumni and potential and existing funding constituencies to meet contributor needs while securing funds and supporters for priority objectives identified by its Board of Directors.

Matching funds from the Folklife Kennedy Barn Restoration Fund challenge are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To make a gift to the challenge, contact Kim Riggi, Director of Major Gifts, at the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., at (304) 367-4014 or toll free at (866) 372-2586.

For more information on programs and offerings of the West Virginia Folklife Center, call Dr. Judy P. Byers at (304) 367-4286.