Nearly 400 graduates were honored during Fairmont State University’s 152nd Commencement exercises this past weekend. The University celebrated the achievements of its newest alumni during six ceremonies, including a special student-athlete Commencement and a ceremony for each school or college.
President, Dr. Mirta M. Martin praised Falcon graduates for their extraordinary achievements and resilience demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, reminding them they will always belong as part of the Falcon Family.
“Falcons soar – that’s what we were made to do. There’s a lot of open sky out there, and as Falcons, we’re going to fly as high and as far as our imaginations will take us,” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “Remember, ‘Soar Falcons’ is our way of life.”
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and the Honorable Gayle Manchin, former Secretary of Education for the Arts and Appalachian Regional Commission Co-Chair, joined the University’s platform party to provide Commencement addresses.
Manchin, who spent a portion of her career as a member of Fairmont State’s faculty, provided insight to the graduates on the value of pursuing continuous, lifelong learning.
“What I have learned is that no matter how much I think I know, I’ve got much more that I can learn, and that started right here at Fairmont State,” she said. “So, I hope that you will reflect today as you move through this graduation process not only on what you have learned from the degree that you have attained, but what you have learned experientially from your peers, your teachers, your coaches, your families, your friends and, most importantly, what you have learned from yourself about yourself.”
Senator Capito offered advice for the newest Falcon alumni, encouraging them to stay in the mountain state.
“For those of you who go out of state to seek your fortunes, we want you to remember what a wonderful place this state is. Most states don’t have this small town feeling that we’re so blessed to have here in the state of West Virginia, so if you leave, remember that those country roads will always lead you back to a place where you will be loved and appreciated,” Capito said. “We want you in West Virginia. We need good talent, smart people and great, accomplished individuals in this state like we’ve never needed them before.”
Fairmont State Student Government President Frankie Delapas also provided remarks virtually at each of the ceremonies, reflecting on the challenges he and his classmates faced over the last year while expressing optimism and hope for the future.
“This year we faced many adversities and obstacles. I would have never expected to begin this year by helping the National Guard and Health Department conduct COVID testing,” said Delapas. “The safety of students and faculty were the number one the priority here on our campus. Out of this time many heroes have risen, such as health care workers, essential employees and military personnel. It is now up to our generation to learn from these struggles in order to create a better future. We are now coming upon a new normal, and this graduating class will be a part of shaping a better society.”
The University’s Commencement ceremonies are archived and available for viewing at www.fairmontstate.edu/152nd-commencement.