|Endowment||US $20 million|
|Campus||Urban - 120 acres (0.49 km2)|
|Colors||Maroon and White|
|NCAA Division II - Mountain East|
Fairmont State University is a public university in Fairmont, West Virginia. It has regional campuses in nearby Harrison County, the Gaston Caperton Center in Clarksburg, and the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center in Bridgeport.
Fairmont State University's roots reach back to the formation of public education in the state of West Virginia. The first private normal school in West Virginia was established to train teachers in Fairmont in 1865 by John N. Boyd, the school's first principal. It was known as the West Virginia Normal School at Fairmont.
On February 27, 1867, it was purchased by the State from the Regency of the West Virginia Normal School (formed as a joint stock company in 1866) and became a branch of the State Normal School of Marshall College. Construction began on a brick building on the northwest corner of Adams and Quincy streets later that year.
From 1867 to 1892 the school was known variously as Fairmont Normal School, the Fairmont Branch of the West Virginia Normal School, the Branch of the West Virginia Normal School at Fairmont, a branch of the West Virginia State Normal School of Marshall College, but most commonly as Fairmont State Normal School (FSNS). By 1892 the designation of "branch" had fallen into disuse by FSNS.
In 1893, the school moved into a new building at Second Street and Fairmont Avenue and, in 1917, to its current location in the building now known as Hardway Hall, in honor of former president Wendell G. Hardway, which sits on a hill overlooking Locust Avenue.
In 1923, Fairmont State Normal School first offered a four-year bachelor's degree program in education, making the school a college. It was renamed Fairmont State Teachers College in 1931 and Fairmont State College in 1943. On April 7, 2004, Governor Bob Wise signed legislation changing its name to Fairmont State University.
Today,[when?] with an enrollment of 3,800, Fairmont State offers more than 80 baccalaureate degrees in business, computer science, education, engineering and technology, fine arts, liberal arts, national security and intelligence, political science, mathematics, and nursing and allied health administration with graduate programs in architecture, education, teaching, business, and criminal justice.
In 1974, a community college component was founded. This became independently accredited as Fairmont State Community and Technical College in 2003. In 2006, Fairmont State was given direction by the State of West Virginia to split with the community and technical college, which then became known as Pierpont Community and Technical College. While both institutions still operate on the Fairmont campus, since 2008, they are recognized as independent institutions and offer completely separate degree programs; Pierpont focuses more on two-year technical associate's programs, while Fairmont State's main focus is on four-year baccalaureate degrees and masters programs.
After a March, 2021 Memorandum of Undertanding, the two schools will become independent of one another whereby Pierpont will transition off of the Fairmont campus by 2022.
Fairmont State's athletic teams, known as the Falcons (alternately as Fighting Falcons, or Lady Falcons for women's teams), compete in the Mountain East Conference (MEC) in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II and field teams in 17 sports including football, men's and women's basketball, wrestling, women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's and women's golf, acrobatics and tumbling, baseball, softball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's cross country.
The Fighting falcons football team finished the 2016 season with a 10-2 record, clinching an NCAA playoff berth. In 2017, they finished the season 8-3 and 2nd in the MEC.
In 2017, the men's basketball team was ranked #3 in the final NABC Coaches Poll. In post-season play, the Falcons captured the NCAA Atlantic Region title and earned the top-seed in the NCAA Elite Eight tournament eventually losing to Northwest Missouri State in the tournament final on March 25, 2017 by a score of 71-61.
The Victory Bell
In 1940, the Letterman's Association (now the Fairmont State Athletic Association) presented the college with a "Victory Bell" from a Monongahela oil barge. Nicknamed "Old Boaz" - in honor of Boaz Fleming, the founding father of Fairmont - students would ring the bell after athletic team victories.
During World War II, the Victory Bell was declared silent and was not rung again until Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) on May 8, 1945. It was rung for that victory and for the Americans still fighting in the South Pacific.
The exact date unknown (likely the late 1960s), the tradition shifted from ringing to painting the bell by various fraternities, sororities, and other campus organizations - its clapper and handle removed.
Originally located adjacent to Hardway Hall, the bell now stands in front of the Education Building.
The Open Source Intelligence Exchange (OSIX) organization was created in 2012 and serves as Fairmont State's applied research lab under the National Security and Intelligence program. OSIX uses open source and social media intelligence to determine real-world active threats, including for such events as the 2010 Presidential visit to West Virginia by then-President Obama. Professor David Abruzzino, who came to Fairmont State after retiring from work with the CIA, was the OSIX program director and faculty mentor from 2010 until 2017. Dr. Todd Clark, who formerly worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is the current director of OSIX. Students who work in the OSIX lab utilize open source and social media intelligence tools to monitor potential and active threats, and have worked with agencies like the CIA, FBI, Department of Defense, and Department of State, as well as local and state departments and agencies in West Virginia.