Thursday, March 24, 2005

The West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University is a step closer to its new home, thanks to a pledge received by the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., through the generosity of Dr. Fred and Patti Fidura of Fairmont.

The Fairmont State Foundation is raising money to renovate the former Kennedy Barn/Colonial Apartments building on the west side of the FS campus so that it may become the permanent home of the Folklife Center. The renovated facility will include a great room, a gallery and reception area, as well as space for offices and archival storage.

“Fred and Patti have been an important part of our Fairmont State family, and we welcome the opportunity to honor their support with the naming of the Dr. Fred and Patti Fidura Conference Room to be located on the second floor of the new Folklife Center,” said Patty Pitrolo, Director of Major Gifts for the FS Foundation.

“Without the financial generosity of supporters like Fred and Patti, the rehabilitation of the Kennedy Barn/Colonial Apartments into the West Virginia Folklife Center would not be possible.”

Dr. Fred Fidura lives in Fairmont with his wife, the former Patricia Murray, and has two sons. A Cleveland native, Dr. Fred Fidura earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree from Ohio University and a doctorate in experimental psychology from Michigan State University. He served as a faculty member and administrator at the State University of New York, College at Geneseo, from 1967 to 1997. In July of 1997, he accepted the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fairmont State College, and the Fiduras moved to Fairmont. Patti Fidura has been a Program Assistant for the Fairmont State Business Office for the past four years.

With the departure of President Janet Dudley-Eshbach in June of 2000, Dr. Fred Fidura was asked to serve as Interim President until a new president was appointed. After serving for seven months, he returned to his former position in February of 2001 with the arrival of President Dan Bradley. Fidura retired from full-time teaching and administration in June of 2004 although he continues to work for the university in a consulting capacity, as well as enrolling as a part-time student studying piano. The W.Va. Folklife Center was developed under Fidura’s leadership as Provost, and he serves as a member of the W.Va. Folklife Center Advisory Committee.

“We came here to Fairmont about eight years ago and were very struck by the deep sense of community here,” Dr. Fred Fidura said. “We found the rich cultural heritage very attractive. It’s much of the reason we’re staying here after my retirement. The Folklife Center keeps that cultural heritage alive, and this is our way of nurturing that.”

The W.Va. 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.

“As the father of folklife studies at Fairmont State University, it’s only fitting that the conference room is named for Dr. Fidura and his wife,” said Dr. Judy P. Byers, Abelina Suarez Professor of English and Folklore and Director of the W.Va. Folklife Center.

“The Kennedy Barn (which later became Colonial Apartments) has unto itself an historical significance because it was the barn to a prominent Irish dairy farm in Fairmont at the turn of the century owned by Michael Kennedy and family. Among the people who stayed there after it became Colonial Apartments was folklorist Dr. Ruth Ann Musick from 1946 to her death in 1974.”

The Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., helps to secure resources for scholarships, faculty development, cultural programming and other needs. The Fairmont State Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization formed to assist Fairmont State by accepting and encouraging gifts and by using them to advance the missions of Fairmont State University and Fairmont State Community & Technical College. The Foundation is operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.

Other naming opportunities for the Folklife Center are available. For more information on gift planning, call (304) 367-4014 or email at ppitrolo@fairmontstate.edu. To make a gift online, click here

For more information on the West Virginia Folklife Center, call Judy Byers at (304) 367-4286 or e-mail her at jbyers@fairmontstate.edu.