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2011 Winter Commencement Planned for Dec. 17; Thrasher and Kromer to Be Speakers Impact
Fairmont State News

2011 Winter Commencement Planned for Dec. 17; Thrasher and Kromer to Be Speakers

Dec 12, 2011

About 250 students will participate in Winter Commencement for Fairmont State University at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Feaster Center. A reception in the Falcon Center will immediately follow the ceremony.

“I know firsthand the pride that Fairmont State University faculty and staff feel as they watch our students walk across the stage,” said Dr. Maria Rose, FSU Interim President. “Commencement is an exciting time; it’s a joy to meet students’ families and be part of this important day in their lives. The University strives to provide the best educational experience for all students. Obviously that means academic programs but also so much more—lectures, fine arts performances and exhibits, participation in club sports, internships, co-ops and study-abroad programs. We want our students to be equipped to enter the workforce as highly-qualified and well-prepared employees, but we also want to prepare them for lifelong learning.”

H. Wood “Woody” Thrasher, PE, will be the speaker. Jess Kromer of Charles Town, W.Va., will be the student speaker representing the graduating class. Also during the ceremony, Donald Hoylman and William O. Morris will be awarded honorary degrees.

“I have been impressed with the high quality graduates of Fairmont State University; they are immediately ready to contribute to the workforce. I have hired them in the past and will continue to hire them,” Thrasher said.

Thrasher graduated from West Virginia University in 1977 with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Since that time, he has utilized his engineering skills and entrepreneurial spirit to build Thrasher Engineering, Inc. into West Virginia’s largest civil and consulting engineering firm and to form Resource Engineering Group, Inc., a holding company comprised of civil and environmental engineering and architectural firms. Thrasher is president of both firms. Thrasher and his father, Henry, formed Thrasher Engineering, based in Clarksburg in 1983, with only three employees. Today, Thrasher Engineering has a combined employee base of over 160 in the Clarksburg home office and branch offices in Charleston and Beckley, along with an office in Oakland, Md.

His forward thinking business style and hard work earned Thrasher the “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award in 2000. The award, presented by the national professional services firm of Ernst and Young, honors entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, hard work and perseverance have created and sustained successful, growing business ventures. Thrasher is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland. He is the past president of the West Virginia American Council of Engineering Companies, and of the West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers. Additionally, he is affiliated with the Young Presidents Organization, the Contractors Association of West Virginia and the West Virginia Business Summit. Thrasher has also served as an officer or on the board of directors for numerous civic and charitable organizations.

Kromer from Charles Town, W.Va., has been selected to be the student speaker representing the graduating class. The daughter of Harry and Yliana Kromer, she is graduating from FSU with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in retail management. She has been on the Dean’s List each semester at FSU and is very active on campus and in the community. Kromer is Senior Senator for Student Government, a member of the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society, a sister of Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority, Assistant Coach of the FSU Dance Team and a Welcome Weekend Freshmen Counselor. She also volunteers at Habitat for Humanity and organized an Annual “Walk Fast with Habitat” walk with her sorority to raise funds for Habitat. After she graduates, Kromer intends to pursue a master’s degree in Business.


Hoylman is a native of Clarksburg, and a resident of Fairmont. After serving in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, he joined the staff of Industrial Engineering and Construction Company and worked his way to the positions of vice president and general manager. In 1963, he became Industrial’s owner and president. As a result of Hoylman’s leadership, Industrial grew into a major corporation and leading manufacturer for the mining industry, both nationally and internationally. He successfully led the company through a series of mergers and acquisitions that positively impacted the economy and job markets of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Donald Hoylman has frequently expressed his belief in quality education and has generously provided funding for scholarship support so others can have opportunities for success. He will be honored with a Doctor of Business.

A native of Fairmont, Morris attended Fairmont State College and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1944. He earned Bachelor of Laws and Doctor of Jurisprudence degrees from the University of Illinois. Morris’ career has included private law practice, university professor and author. He taught at West Virginia University’s College of Law for 35 years and was voted Professor of the Year three times by university students. He has authored eight books and numerous journal articles on dental law, malpractice litigation, commercial paper and domestic relations. Morris has served as a technical advisor to the West Virginia Legislature and as consultant to the Comptroller of the Currency of the United States. He has been a visiting professor and guest lecturer at universities around the world. For his philanthropic spirit and numerous accomplishments, Morris will be honored with the title of Doctor of Business.

Handicapped parking will be available for the event, and staff from the Department of Public Safety will be on hand to direct traffic. The Feaster Center parking lot located directly across Squibb Wilson Boulevard from the Duvall-Rosier Field parking lot will be used for handicapped parking. This lot allows guests to enter the Feaster Center directly onto the arena floor. Seating will be available on the bottom rows of the arena for those with special needs. For more information, call the Office of Disability Services at (304) 367-4686 or the Department of Public Safety at (304) 367-4157. Sign language interpreting services will be provided during the ceremony.

GraduationSchool of BusinessCollege of Science and TechnologyMaria RoseJess KromerWinter CommencementDonald HoylmanWilliam O. MorrisH. Wood “Woody” Thrasher