FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Dr. Mirta Martin has spent the last few months preparing for the official start of her presidency at Fairmont State University, and during a “State of the Institution” address Wednesday, she outlined her goals and visions for Fairmont State’s future.
“It’s time for the Falcons to soar, and we are ready to soar,” Martin said. “We have programs to distinction and we have people of excellence that have been far too long quiet about the uniqueness of this university. We are going to make Fairmont State University a household name in West Virginia and throughout the nation, not just because I say so but rather because of the fact that our people, our programs, our culture, our nurturing environment, the rigor of our curriculum is exactly what the students of West Virginia deserve and what industries say that they need.”
Martin was chosen as Fairmont’s new president during a Board of Governors meeting on Oct. 19. Since then, she’s worked to get to know the university and the university family in order to have a smooth transition of leadership at the institution.
“It’s been wonderful. The warmth of the welcome that I’ve received from the community, from the students, from the faculty, from everyone has been second to none,” she said. “I’m so very grateful to the Board of Governors, to the legislators who have already come here and who are determined to support us as we take flight to new heights.”
To reach those new heights, Martin said the university must be more nimble for students, to meet them where they are rather than on-campus recruitment events.
“When a student comes to Fairmont State University, we have them. They’ve already experienced the magic that is Fairmont State,” she said. “What we need to do is, we need to go to them, and so we are going to get on a bus with our faculty and staff, and we’re going to go out to the communities.”
Martin said that the administration needs to listen to students’ needs, not only during their time on campus but their future needs in the workforce.
“The freshmen that enter our halls today will graduate, at the earliest, four years from now, perhaps five,” she said. “They will be graduating into a world that hardly resembles the job, the work, the daily lives in which we live today, so we need to give them the skillset to be successful in that world that does not yet exist.”
Alumni, Martin added, are also a key part of promoting Fairmont State’s programs, by sharing the university’s “magic” with those in their hometowns and workplaces.
“For example, the majority WHIP is a Fairmont State University alumni. We have doctors that are running divisions at major hospitals who are Fairmont State University’s. We have attorneys throughout (the country), and individuals at the FBI and NASA,” she said. “A degree from Fairmont State University is a degree that will get you to achieve that dream that you so much have desired and now you’re being able to translate that dream into a real future for yourself.”