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Six Distinguished Alumni to Be Honored Impact
Fairmont State News

Six Distinguished Alumni to Be Honored

Oct 10, 2005

The Fairmont State Alumni Association Board of Directors will honor six distinguished alumni as part of Homecoming 2005 "Hollywood on the Hill."

The board has named Lois Muto Laughlin and Ralph Stewart as Outstanding Alumni for 2005. This award, the association's highest honor, is given to alumni who have displayed extraordinary loyalty to Fairmont State and service to their community.

The board has named Alana A. Morris and Daniel M. Rider as Alumni of Achievement for 2005, an award given to honor alumni who have excelled in their professions.

The board has named Jacqueline Baldini Schirripa and George "B.J." Ash, Jr. as Outstanding Young Alumni 2005.

The award winners will be honored during the Fairmont State annual Homecoming Brunch, set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Falcon Center (Gym 1). The public may attend. The cost is $12 per person.

The festivities will continue as Fairmont State hosts the University of Charleston at Duvall Rosier Field with a 1 p.m. kickoff. Immediately following the game, there will be a post-game reception at the Falcon Center. Admission is $5 per person or $15 to attend both the brunch and the reception.

For reservations, contact Crystal Stevens at (304) 367-4375 or toll-free at (866) 372-2586.

Lois Muto Laughlin

Laughlin, a Fairmont resident, graduated from Fairmont State in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. She earned a Master of Arts in Education from West Virginia University in 1967.

She was a mathematics teacher at Fairmont Junior High School and Fairmont Senior High School from 1962 to 1969 and a guidance counselor at Monongah High School and Miller Junior High School. She began her career at Fairmont State in 1970, serving as Dean of Women and Associate Dean of Students. In 1978, she became Assistant to the President, retiring in December 2001.

Laughlin's community involvement includes serving as President of the Board of Directors for the Fairmont State Foundation; Vice President-P.E.O.; Fairmont Senior High School Foundation; Book Chat Book Club; St. Therese Society for Catholic Women; Rotary Club of Fairmont (first female member); Gamma Chi Chi Sorority Alumnae Association; Sustaining Member of Junior League of Fairmont; and the Fairmont State Lettermen's Association.

She is married to William M. Laughlin, retired Fairmont State Associate Professor of Economics. She attends church at Newman Center Catholic Chapel of Fairmont State. In February 2005, Laughlin was inducted into the Fairmont State Student Affairs Hall of Fame.

Ralph W. Stewart

Stewart, a resident of Overland Park, Kansas, graduated from Fairmont State in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business. While at Fairmont State, Stewart lettered four years in soccer, two years in baseball and one year in tennis. He developed the first basketball sports info report, under Squibb Wilson, and was an officer in TKE fraternity.

He worked for Marriott Corporation for three years in restaurant management before beginning a successful 24 year career at Hallmark Cards. Stewart was the youngest sales manager in the company's history, winning numerous awards. He led the sales, product marketing and retail division and retired in 1991 as the Director of Sales.

After retirement, he started a consulting practice specializing in training. Stewart felt a higher calling to use the skills he learned in the corporate world to impact ministry. For more than 40 years, he served on Fellowship of Christian Athletes boards around the country, and he says his passion to reach young athletes and coaches with the word of God took him to where he is today.

He served two years as the Executive Vice President with the International Institute of Christian Studies. In that role, he traveled much of the world negotiating contracts for university professors to teach. In November 1996, Stewart joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as Senior Vice President of Stewardship (headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.).

He was one of the organizational founders of WAGS (the largest girl's soccer organization in the country in D.C.); he coached a girls traveling select soccer team for eight years, a girls traveling softball team for nine years and a girls high school tennis team for two years. He has played in the regional championship of the USTA Seniors Tennis.

Stewart is married to his college sweetheart, Judy Smith. They have been married for 41 years. They have two girls: Debbie, who is married and living in Prairie Village, Kansas, and Christy, now deceased. They have one granddaughter, Natasha, who lives in Longview, Texas.

Alana A. Morris

Morris, a resident of South Charleston, W.Va., graduated from Fairmont State in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.

Her professional history includes the following: Employability Teacher and Counsel for Braley & Thompson, Inc., in St. Albans, W.Va., and Washington County Board of Education, Hagerstown, Md.; Administrator for Control Data Corporation in Charleston, W.Va.; Admissions Counselor at the University of Charleston; and Instructional Coordinator for the Kanawha County Board of Education. In 1997, she became President and CFO of Quantum Construction Services, Inc., in Charleston, W.Va. At Quantum she is responsible for all fiscal operations planning and implementation of marketing strategies, estimating, scheduling and interior design. She has more than nine years of experience in residential and commercial construction.

Morris' professional affiliations and accomplishments include the following: South Charleston Museum Board, secretary; FSU Foundation Board and Nominating Committee, member; South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau Board, Outstanding Board Member 2004; Friends of Charleston Ballet, member; South Charleston Chamber of Commerce Fundraising Planning Committee; South Charleston Museum liaison to South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau Historical Building Project. She was presented the Distinguished West Virginia Award in 2004 by Gov. Bob Wise. She received the AIA West Virginian Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture for Star and USA Credit Union.

She is married to Dave Morris, a 1983 graduate of Fairmont State, and the couple has two children, Brad and Brigitte.

Daniel M. Rider

Rider, a Fairmont resident, graduated from Fairmont State in 1957 with an A.B. in education and then continued onto WVU where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy.

He was a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, finishing with a rank of SP3. He spent time as a school teacher in Cambridge, Ohio, and then took a position as pharmaceutical salesman. He entered the field of retail pharmacy working as a pharmacist.

In 1967, Rider Pharmacy was established, growing from a 1,200 square foot storefront to an over 10,000 square foot facility. Today, Rider Pharmacy is the only remaining independent pharmacy in this area. The pharmacy employs more than 25 full- and part-time associates.

Over the years, Rider's vision has created a friendly community drugstore with services that include a state-of-the-art prescription compounding facility and the West Virginia Wellness Center that not only operates within Rider Pharmacy, but also visits surrounding communities offering health screenings. Rider's offers a full line of collectible gifts, customer floral arrangements, custom gift baskets, card department and delivery service. The store also has a complete line of medical equipment and provides Medicare billing.

Rider is a member of the National Retail Advisory Board for Cardinal Health; Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Advisory Board for Cardinal; 1997 West Virginia Merchant of the Year; Past President and member of the Associated Businesses of East Fairmont. His former and current memberships include the following: Fairmont State Foundation, past President of the TBI Fraternity, Jaycees, Rotary Club and Deacon and Usher at the First Baptist Church.

He is married to Barbara Lemley Rider, and they have three sons, Scott, Jonathon and Todd. He is the grandfather of Gatsby, Jason, Aidan, Dylan and Emily Claire.

George "B.J." Ash, Jr.

Ash, a resident of Richmond, Ohio, graduated with honors in 3 ½ years from Fairmont State in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He completed his teaching licensure and earned a master's degree in both Education and Education Administration (while maintaining a 3.9 GPA) at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

At Fairmont State, he was a Resident Assistant, received the WVIAC All-Conference Offensive Player "Honorable Mention" award in 1995 and WVIAC first team all West Virginia Conference Offensive lineman in 1996. He was presented the prestigious Jasper Colebank Memorial Award, awarded to the senior who, in the course of his or her college career, has done the most to promote the best interest of athletics at Fairmont State, on and off the field.

He moved on to teach and coach football and wrestling at Steubenville Catholic Central High School and then on to Edison High School. After seven years in the classroom at the age of 28, he took a position as Principal at Harrison Junior High School in Ohio. He supervised 45 staff members and 380 students in grades seven and eight.

At 29, Ash is the Assistant Superintendent of the Edison Local School District that serves approximately 2,600 students. Edison Local High School was recently named a "School of Excellence" through the Ohio Department of Education. His duties as Assistant Superintendent include overseeing curriculum and instruction within the district, all state and federal programs, Title I funding and union negotiations.

He and his wife Kristina have one child, George Marko.

Jaqueline Baldini Schirripa

Schirripa is the owner and operator of Jacqueline B. Schirripa Interior Design, LLC, located in Bridgeport, W.Va. She specializes in both residential and commercial interior design. Her business was recently ranked by the State Journal as one of the top 10 in the state.

She is married to John T. Schirripa, President, Huntington Bank, Harrison County.