FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Fairmont State University President Mirta Martin sent an email to a university listserv on Tuesday afternoon, announcing that she will step down from her position when her contract expires at the end of the year.

Martin let the university’s Board of Governors know of her decision, earlier in the day, “to give the university ample time to safeguard the momentum of the institution and begin the search for a new leader.”

Martin has served as the university’s president since 2018.

President Mirta Martin in a Fairmont State University Homecoming Parade

You can read Martin’s full email below:

Dear Falcon Family,

Earlier today, I relayed to Fairmont State’s Board of Governors my decision to not seek an extension to my current contract as President of Fairmont State University. I will step down at the end of the contract, on December 28, 2022. I informed the Board of my decision now to give the University ample time to safeguard the momentum of the institution and begin the search for a new leader. During the remaining time of my presidency, I plan to continue to lead the University forward and aid in the transition to new leadership.

I am so incredibly blessed to have already served in this role for nearly five years. During this time, Fairmont has become my home, and the Falcon family, my family. It is an honor and an absolute privilege to serve all of you. It is also my honor to serve this institution and the State of West Virginia as your President, as President of the Council of Presidents, and as President of the Board of the Mountain East Conference.

I have worked hard day in and day out with each of you by my side to achieve and exceed the goals set when I began my tenure. Some meaningful achievements are:

-We have returned Fairmont State to a sound financial position. The University has experienced a $20.5 million financial turnaround since my arrival and boasts an enviable Composite Financial Index score (CFI) of 5.69. State funding has increased by over $3M annually through my recalibration formula, which was used by legislators to distribute funds more equitably throughout West Virginia.

-The brand and reputation of Fairmont State have been enhanced, and we have created programs of distinction that differentiate us from other institutions in our area and across the nation.

-We have launched 36 innovative certificate, major, minor, and concentration programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels that give Fairmont State graduates a competitive advantage in the marketplace and satisfy the workforce needs of West Virginia.

-Enrollment numbers are trending up strongly for the coming year, due in part to our new high-demand programs.

-We have increased the resources available to our students, faculty, and staff by adding substantially to scholarships, increasing mental health services, creating a department to support grant-creation, and providing mini-grants for faculty and staff.

-We have strengthened our culture of philanthropy, attracting new donors, and adding to our Foundation’s total net assets significantly since my arrival.

-We have launched new partnerships and hosted new events to increase internships, scholarships, and opportunities – particularly with the US Air Force and flight, NASA and robotics, teaching, nursing, engineering, the Police Academy and the FBI.

-And together, we have created an inclusive and supportive community with bonds that extend far beyond our physical campus and unite us with our city, North Central West Virginia, business and industry, and our alumni.

This has been a difficult and emotional decision for me. When I became president, I never imagined a pandemic would threaten the health and safety of our campus and communities and drastically change the way we work and learn. We all worked diligently together to serve our students and our community, and we did it safely, and with love and compassion for each other. I am humbled by the trust the University community placed in me to lead Fairmont State through unprecedented challenges, and I am proud that Fairmont State emerged even stronger after such a tumultuous period, gaining in resources and stature.

My overwhelming emotion, however, is one of gratitude. I am grateful for the parents and families who have entrusted their most precious possession – their children to us. I am grateful to our students for their resilience and enthusiasm. I am grateful to the faculty and staff for their resourcefulness, flexibility, and dedication. I am grateful to our alumni who shower us with their gifts of time and philanthropy, to the Fairmont State Board of Governors, and to all who support our vital mission. And, I am especially grateful to our community for the friendship and support offered to John and me since our arrival.

I am confident that Fairmont State is ready for its next chapter. I remain passionate about the transformative power of a college degree, and I am looking forward to new opportunities to use my talents and experience to shape the future of higher education and in service to the next generation of citizen leaders.

God bless the Falcon family.

With gratitude,

M3

Dr. Mirta Martin