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Fairmont State cadre meets lawmakers, states its case ‘Day at the Capitol’

By Esteban Fernandez, Times West Virginian

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — While Fairmont State students introduced themselves at the Capitol and took the grand tour Monday, University President Mike Davis was on a mission.

As he went to a private meeting with Gov. Jim Justice, there was one thing on his mind.

“We’ve got to get Fairmont State in the conversation,” Davis said. “The initiatives that have happened, that have higher education solutions attached and it’s almost always WVU and Marshall. But as the third largest institution in the state, and what we think is the top regional institution in the state, we’ve got to be in all of those conversations. That’s something we’re going to be saying all day. We don’t need to be the only partner, but we need to be in the room. We need to be one of those partners because we’re ready to connect.”

The university sent a delegation to Charleston as part of its Annual Fairmont State Day at the Capitol, a day when the school makes itself known to lawmakers. It was also Davis’ first time meeting legislative leaders and the governor.

Davis said the primary issue facing Fairmont State’s relationship with the legislature has been a lack of strategy to get its goals met. Instead, the school has conducted a piecemeal effort to promote itself. Moving forward, Davis hopes more school administrators and deans make regular trips to the Capitol, but first he will spend the year laying the necessary groundwork to make that possible in the future. To that end, Davis plans to visit two or three more times throughout the rest of the year.

Fairmont State has a significant impact on Fairmont’s community and economy, Del. Mike DeVault, R-74, said. Although Fairmont State isn’t in his district the benefits the school brings extend into his area.

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