The Times West Virginian

Opinion

August 29, 2013

Substantial gifts to FSU much needed and appreciated

It was just a small story, and perhaps you didn’t read it.

And the amount wasn’t a gigantic figure in today’s world, but it certainly was quite substantial to the organization receiving it.

We’re talking about the $730,000 gift left to Fairmont State University by William Claude “Bill” Waters, who passed away in July 2012 at the age of 93. The gift was left to Fairmont State through a bequest from Waters’ estate.

University officials were certainly thrilled with the gift.

“Mr. Waters’ gift is a very thoughtful expression of support and will have an enormous impact on campus,” said William B. Armistead, president of the Fairmont State Foundation Inc. He explained that “naming Fairmont State as a beneficiary in a will, life insurance policy or retirement plan builds long-term financial strength and allows a donor to create a meaningful legacy for future generations of Fairmont State students.”

The man who presented this most generous gift had a rather amazing story. He was a graduate of Clay-Battelle High School, located in Blacksville. He then served his country as a U.S. Army Air Corps paratrooper in World War II. He returned to Fairmont State and graduated from the local college in 1946 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education.

Mr. Waters went on to earn his master’s degree from West Virginia University and was employed by the Monongalia County Board of Education. He worked his way up the educational ladder and eventually became assistant superintendent of schools.

But he wasn’t through with work when he retired from that position. He wound up his career with the Merrill Publishing Co. as a textbook salesman and continued in that position until he retired once again — this time on a permanent basis.

And years prior to this generous donation, he had presented his alma mater with a gift of $63,000.

His cousin, Arden Fisher of Fairmont, described him well.

“He took care of himself and his family. He maintained contact with his roots throughout his life. He was generous and humble. He never directly said so, but I’m sure that his focus and purpose was providing opportunity through education,” Fisher said.

“As a Fairmont State alumna, I know firsthand the life-changing power of education. The university is grateful for Mr. Waters’ support during his lifetime and for this generous bequest. His forward-thinking will enrich the lives of many future students,” said FSU’s president, Dr. Maria Rose.

Another recent gift, this one from a Fairmont State University alumna and former employee, also shows the impact that’s possible through planned giving.

A bequest from the Mary K. Kaiser and John P. Kaiser Family Trust will provide more than $330,000 to the Fairmont State Foundation Inc. that will be used for FSU student scholarships.

A Fairmont native, Mary graduated from East Fairmont High School in 1946 and from Fairmont State in 1950. She was a bookkeeper and secretary to the registrar at Fairmont State from 1947-50.

Such gifts are not only very much appreciated by Fairmont State University, they are very much needed as well, and Bill Waters and Mary Kaiser must have been fully aware of this fact.

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