History was made at Fairmont State University Friday morning, an alumni couple donated $1 million to the institution, making it the largest gift donation received from a living donor.
After retiring from their self-owned car dealership in Charleston in 2016, Vicki and Jeb Smith turned their attention to making a difference on the campus that started it all for them.
“I started with nothing and was very pleased to be able to graduate at Fairmont State College at the time and it was the beginning of a wonderful business relationship,” said Jeb.
By making the scholarship fund accessible to all students, president of the Fairmont State Foundation Gary Bennet said that 30% of the earnings produced by the $1 million will go toward scholarships within the School of Business with the remaining 70% going toward any student of Fairmont State.
“One of the things that in the fundraising which we do, is that often gifts are narrow in nature. It has to be to fine arts or it has to be to the School of Business and we were excited about the thing that this is for any student and that rarely happens,” Bennet said.
With more than 85% of Fairmont State students relying on financial assistance to complete their degrees, Jed said he hopes the large donation can help students who were just like him, be able to focus more on education, instead of the student debt that can follow.
“I hope that our example will insight future students to give back to the school. We need to regenerate the dollars so that the kids can graduate without a debt,” Jeb said,
Foundation members confirmed the $1 million donation more than doubles the previous record donation, putting the foundation further into overall record numbers.
For more information about Fairmont State Foundation and ways that you can provide support, visit www.fsufoundation.org or call 304.534.8786.