FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) – A dedication ceremony was held on the Fairmont State University campus’ second floor of the Ruth Ann Musick Library on Friday at 10 a.m.

The Fairmont State community gathered to celebrate the Learning Enrichment and Academic Development (LEAD) Center being named the “Datha and Gene Smith Center” in honor of the Datha and Gene Smith family and Datha Gene Foundation.

Opening remarks were made by Interim President Dr. Diana Phillips, and Rachel Dyer, President of the Fairmont State Foundation, provided a thankful statement. A board member from the Foundation, Cannon Wadsworth, also gave his thanks and appreciation to the three children of those being honored. Sherry and David Brown and Sue Post attended the honoring of their parents, and Sherry Brown even expressed her parent’s love for Fairmont State and higher education.

A sign was then revealed for the new center and its new name.

“We are extremely thankful for their dedication to our students and our Falcon Community. We are thrilled to honor their generous legacy with this naming ceremony and look forward to our continued partnership through their Datha & Gene Smith Fellows Program. We are truly grateful for their ongoing support,” said Dyer.

The Datha & Gene Smith Fellows Program was established in the summer of 2021. They seek to provide enrichment for first-generation college students through mentoring, tutoring, peer support, scholarships and cultural experiences. The Foundation was established by Datha and Gene, in which one of their first gifts was to establish a scholarship fund for Fairmont State. They later established an endowment for maintenance of the Frank and Jane Gabor Folklife Center.

Datha and Gene Smith’s three children are continuing to support Fairmont State with the center and the “First-Generation Fellowship Program.” All three of the children were first-generation students and even graduated from Fairmont State.

The Fairmont State Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established in 1960 to establish and cultivate meaningful relationships with Fairmont State alumni and friends. These relationships were to further the mission and purpose of FSU. This foundation is guided by a board of directors to steward contributions from donors and maximize impacts of financial support for the students, faculty and staff of the University.