Dear Falcon Family

In life, as with our favorite books, one chapter must end for another to begin. Now is the time for me to turn the page to a new chapter in my life. My contract as President of Fairmont State University ends on June 30, 2017, and I have notified the Board of Governors that it is my intention to retire at that time.

As you know, an injury this summer didn’t slow me down – much – and I intend on working a full schedule and engaging with you until midnight of my final day on the job.

As a faculty member, provost and president, I have worked to ensure that FSU is a place that provides the best educational experience for all students. I remain proud to be part of the Falcon family and thankful for Fairmont State’s many dedicated faculty and staff members who share my passion for teaching and learning. I believe our student-centered focus sets this University apart and creates a unique environment for students to find themselves and meet their personal goals.

Obviously, the FSU experience includes our many high quality 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.

You know that like many of our students, I was the first in my family to attend college. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and was glad to teach in public schools for 10 years. As I have told you before, there was never a doubt in my mind or in my parents’ minds that I would go to college, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would someday be a university president. That is the power of a higher education degree. Education can create opportunities you never dared to imagine. 

The Higher Education Policy Commission will approve procedures for the next presidential search, which will begin in the next few weeks. The FSU Board of Governors has expressed that it is their intention to serve as the Search Committee.

As a member of the campus community, you are encouraged to take advantage of all opportunities to engage with presidential candidates, taking care to share your feedback with your representatives on the FSU Board of Governors: Dr. Budd Sapp is the faculty representative; Holly Fluharty is the classified staff representative; and Rachel Ball is the student representative. 

Through the years, each of us has contributed to the story of this great institution. I am grateful for your hard work, dedication and commitment to our students. I am grateful for the relationships built and lives changed by this University, which has made a great impact on my life.  Even though my husband Tom is not a graduate of FSU (he went to that institute 20 miles to the north), he has embraced Fairmont State.  He attends all events – even some that I cannot attend, watches out for FSU property, knows athletic stats and schedules and is FSU’s biggest cheerleader.  Also, our son, daughter –in- law, granddaughter and great granddaughter keep track of Fairmont State from south Florida through social media and always enjoy visiting campus when they are in town.  

My role in the story of Fairmont State is changing but not ending. Tom, our family and I will always be proud to be part of the Falcon family.

Maria