By Chelsi Baker
Times West Virginian
Pierpont Community & Technical College celebrated its namesake’s birthday, as well as its family of students and faculty, at the second annual Pierpont Pride Day Friday.
“It’s basically like our homecoming. It’s a nice time for us to get together and celebrate what we’ve accomplished over the past year and launch the spring,” said Pierpont President Doreen Larson.
Enduring the rigorous process of reaccreditation, creating a greater downtown presence in Fairmont and forming a new center in Morgantown are just a few accomplishments Larson highlighted in her opening remarks.
The event was held in conjunction with “Father of West Virginia” Francis H. Pierpont’s birthday, which was fitting given the institution was named after him. Local officials, alumni, students, current and previous faculty and staff and their families gathered at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center for the event, which drew a larger turnout than expected.
Francis Pierpont himself was in attendance, accompanied by his wife, Julia. The pair was portrayed by Living History interpreters Pamela and Arthur Dodds.
It was a real mix of people, which is indicative of Pierpont,” Larson said. “We are embedded in the community, so they come out and they really support us. They feel a part of the college.”
Representatives of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Joe Manchin and the Marion County Commission, as well as Fairmont Mayor Ron Straight, all read statements declaring Jan. 24 “Pierpont Pride Day.”
Two distinguished alumni were honored at the event for their work in their community after graduating from Pierpont.
Robert Luczko, a 2013 graduate, received the Francis Pierpont Award. He was nominated for his academic achievement, willingness to help fellow students and his overall positive attitude during his time at the college. He now works as a survey CADD technician at Thrasher Engineering.
“It was pretty exciting. I was really surprised about winning the award. I’ve never won anything like this before,” said Luczko. “It’s really nice just getting all the faculty and students together and getting my family to come in. My dad is from Cleveland, and he came in to enjoy this event. It’s just nice having everybody together. Pierpont was a great school to me, and I enjoyed my time there.”
Amanda Browning was honored with the Julia Pierpont Award for her motivation and thoroughness in academics during her time at Pierpont. She was acknowledged for excelling in the male-dominated Aviation Maintenance Technology Program at the college, and she currently works at ProJet Aviation as as airframe and power plant technician.
“It’s so wonderful to see our students graduate and thrive in the community,” Larson said. “Our students work and give back to the community, so we’re proud to have two great examples of that.”
George Levitsky, the general manager at Fairmont-Marion County Transit Authority, was honored with the Pierpont Community Service Award, and Suellen Hill, Robert Yokely, Martha Jean Bolyard, Lalah Larew and Donna Snyder were all given Emeritus Faculty Awards.
While the adults honored their colleagues in the front, children played in the Kid’s Corner in the back. Children made lion pillows, finger painted and played games throughout the event, while Montgomery the Lion, Pierpont’s mascot, supervised. The event concluded the same way it began: with food.
Guests enjoyed a large birthday cake, made by students in Pierpont’s pastry program. Francis and Julia Pierpont received the first piece.
Email Chelsi Baker at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @CBakerTWV.