Statement from President Krepel Regarding Passing of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd

Monday, June 28, 2010

From Fairmont State University President Tom Krepel: 

"It will be difficult to imagine a West Virginia without Sen. Robert C. Byrd, one of the state's great champions. West Virginians will always remember the man who encouraged them to be proud of their home state and to strive for excellence. During his long and distinguished career, Sen. Byrd was a good friend to Fairmont State University, sharing his remarkable talent for oration at numerous events. His vision and foresight assisted in the development of the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center at the North Central West Virginia Airport, which trains the workforce necessary for a thriving aeronautical industry. I admired Sen. Byrd's true commitment to the U.S. Constitution. He knew it, carried it, quoted it, and applied it; he could cite its history and the intent of its framers. Because of his belief in the Constitution, he was not afraid to support positions contrary to popular sentiment. During his many years in the public policy sector, Sen. Byrd found the flexibility to grow and expand his views with the changing times instead of remaining frozen in the past. Sen. Byrd's legacy of service to West Virginia and to this nation will remain a credit to all that he believed."

In 1991, Fairmont State honored Sen. Byrd with the honorary degree Doctor of Laws; and in 1999, he was named the first West Virginia Folklife Center Scholar.

U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, 1917-2010

From left to right are Kathy Pheasant Pearson, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Dr. Alice A. Moerk and John Vaughan. In November 1999, Sen. Byrd was honored at the Fairmont State Foundation Scholarship Dinner. The Fairmont State College Foundation commissioned a brief musical composition for fiddle and guitar to mark the occasion. Moerk composed "Byrdwatch," which incorporated the jamboree atmosphere of a country music festival, a down-home waltz and a more serious and introspective segment. Pearson on fiddle and Vaughan on guitar performed the piece for the guests at the dinner.

Pictured at a groundbreaking ceremony are, from left to right, Oakley Brooks, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, former Fairmont State President Robert Dillman, Congressman Alan Mollohan and Eugene Deatrick.