Times West Virginian
This is one of the biggest weekends of the academic year on the campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College.
It’s homecoming weekend, and officials are hoping for a large crowd of visitors to share in the festivities.
It’s the weekend when many old grads return to their campus to see old friends and to see the many improvements, changes and additions that mark their alma mater. Graduates returning for the first time in a while will be shocked at the many changes they will see on the campus. Some Marion County residents might be also if they haven't visited FSU in a few years.
The activities get under way today with the annual homecoming parade at 6 p.m. Many parade goers will recognize tonight’s parade marshal — Dr. Judy Byers, who is director of the school’s relatively new Folklife Center. The parade will travel down Adams Street.
Fairmont State has gone all out for this homecoming celebration. Before the parade, downtown Fairmont will feature the Marion Market, full of vendors and local artisans. Emily Swain, the director of alumni relations, points out there will also be a jump house located next to Huntington Bank which should provide a good time for the children.
“People can come to the market and hang out and then stay for the parade and the pep rally,” Jessica Spatafore, student activities program director, said. “It’s a whole evening of downtown festivities.
“We thought to increase participation from the community we would keep it downtown.”
But the Marion Market and homecoming parade. followed by a pep rally, just get the weekend started. Activities are also planned for Friday and Saturday.
A tour of Fairmont with the Marion County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is set for 1:30 p.m. and a donor-centered planned-giving seminar at 4 p.m. Friday.
In addition, at 11 a.m., the FSU Class of 1963 will have a reunion and an Emeritus Induction Luncheon.
A reunion for people who attended FSU in the 1980s will be held Friday evening. The annual Fairmont State Athletic Hall of Fame banquet will also be held Friday evening. Friday’s events will conclude with a homecoming dance open only to students at 9 p.m. at Colebank Hall.
Award winners will also be honored at a brunch at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Falcon Center Conference Room. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Prior to this luncheon, there will be an Alumni Award Winner Roundtable during which students and the community can participate in a question-and-answer session with the 2013 Alumni Award winners.
This year’s Alumni Award winners include: Outstanding Young Alumna Laura Meadows, Class of 2007; Outstanding Young Alumnus Chris Weaver, Class of 1999; Outstanding Alumna Tina Shaw, Class of 1982; Outstanding Alumnus Dr. G.H. “Budd” Sapp, Class of 1980; Alumna of Achievement Lydia McCue, Class of 1967; and Alumnus of Achievement Curtis Fleming, Class of 1990.
Saturday holds homecoming weekend’s main event — the West Liberty vs. Fairmont State homecoming football game at Duvall-Rosier Field. Pregame tailgates will begin at noon, with the game kickoff set for 2 p.m.
Swain, as well as other FSU officials, hope the weekend’s events will be well attended.
“If we have a good crowd, it goes to show that the community is invested in and cares about the student experience,” she said.
Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College are putting their best foot forward. They are hoping the community as well as the old grads will take notice.