Budd Sapp heads into retirement after over 20 years of service at Fairmont State

Fairmont State University is announcing the retirement of Budd Sapp, a tenured professor in the School of Education as well as the faculty representative on the Board of Governors. 

A graduate of Fairmont State, Sapp taught and coached 17 years in the Marion County school system before beginning his work at Fairmont State in 1997 as a public school teaching fellow and officially joining the University in 1998. 

Prior to 2004, Dr. Sapp taught undergraduate professional education courses and supervised secondary student teachers. “In 2004, when we became a University, and I started designing and teaching online graduate courses. We started several graduate programs including Special Education and the Master of Arts (MAT) in Teaching. Eventually we added the Digital Media, Professional Studies, and Reading programs,” he said. “I taught Advanced Human Growth and Development, Advanced Educational Psychology, and Instructional Design II as well as well as coordinating the MAT program.” 

Sapp mentioned that there had been an influx of students wanting to get a graduate degree in a teaching certification content area without an undergraduate education degree. He recently helped to create an Introductory Instructional Design Class for the Special Education Program. 

“As a Professional Development School (PDS) liaison, I’ve worked on professional development opportunities and grant opportunities with member schools and supervised teacher candidates. In addition, I had a pretty good relationship with Webster County High School, we had a lot of engagement during their campus visitation days. They were looking to start a dual-enrollment program and they presented that idea to me,” he said. “I helped to design and create the Teacher Cadet Program/Introduction to Education dual enrollment course, which is similar to the first class of the undergraduate program in the teacher education program.” 

Students from Marion, Monongalia, and Harrison Counties have all participated in the Teach Cadet dual-enrollment program that allows high school students to get classroom instruction and clinical experience before ever heading to college. It is a program that has the potential for local school districts to “grow their own teachers.”

Dr. Sapp was a site visitor for the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and formerly a Board of Examiners member for NCATE. He was the coordinator/co-coordinator of accreditation for the School of Education that successfully achieved national accreditation during his tenure from 1998 to the present. He served on various School of Education and University committees, Faculty Senate, as well as being a member of the Fairmont State Alumni Association Board.

“Service. That’s the word that comes to my mind when I reflect on Budd Sapp’s commitment to our campus and to the wider community,” Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, said. “From teaching, to academic programming, to athletics, to his many civic contributions to the city of Fairmont, Dr. Sapp has proven time and again the importance that service holds in his heart. Dr. Sapp has the heart of a true Falcon; and his dedication and commitment will have a lasting impact.”

His involvement in athletics, as a student and alumnus, shouldn’t be overlooked either. Sapp was as a student-athlete and served as a student assistant coach on the basketball team and more recently as a member of the Fairmont State Athletic Association (FSAA). 

“Fairmont State University and the city of Fairmont have been blessed to have Dr. Budd Sapp’s expertise and professionalism since his days as a student-athlete back in the late 1970s,” Ryan Courtney, Deputy Director of Athletics, said. “Budd has made many contributions to the university, and especially the Athletics Department. He impacted the department first as a student-athlete on the men’s basketball team from 1977-79, and moved on to become a household name at the university as a professor who contributed in many different ways on campus and in the Fairmont community.

“As a member of the Fairmont State Athletic Association, Budd was instrumental in fundraising for athletics scholarships and has also been vital in the growth of athletics fundraising events, such as the Hall of Fame Banquet and All-Sports Reception. We would like to thank Budd for his contributions to the department and wish him well during his hard-earned retirement.”

Sapp has continued to work to not only enhance the University but the community as well. Currently he serves in a variety of roles which include: being a member of the Fairmont Kiwanis and Knights of Columbus, and serving as Chairperson of the Salvation Army Advisory Council. He has also served as the director of Leadership Marion. 

Julie Sole, executive director of the Disability Action Center, said while he has dedicated the last 23 years to his professional career at Fairmont State, he’s served the last 17 years as the Director of Leadership Marion. There he has enabled people across the county to learn more about Marion County and all that it has to offer.

“Budd has been a Falcon supporter his whole life, having grown up in Marion County and being engrained in athletics and education since a young age,” Sole said. “He has shaped the lives of countless education students and mentored hundreds of Leadership Marion graduates; always instilling in them the value of education, leadership, and giving back to their community. He undoubtedly will be missed by his Falcon Family but his legacy will live on through the impact of his students and Leadership Marion graduates make on this world.”

Sapp said Leadership Marion was one of the first leadership programs in the state and several others around the state have been modeled after the program (including Leadership WV). The community-based civic organization has continued to educate people across the county on different aspects of the community. 

“Every month we have a theme and the class learns about community leadership and stewardship,” he said. “At the end the class had a project or event to raise money to give back to the community. The last several years we have hosted the Spring Into Action Fair that showcases, raises funds, and brings awareness to the nonprofit agencies in the area. This year we hosted a Virtual Spring Into Action Project raising over $10,000 for the United Way COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.”

Over the years, Sapp has been recognized in a variety of ways. He said he is grateful to have had the support from his colleagues, the administration, and community. 

“I’m very fortunate and humbled that I have been recognized for what I did at Fairmont State. I was fortunate enough to receive the Faculty Achievement Award, the William A. Boram Award for Teaching Excellence Award, and the Excellence in Academic Advising Award,” he said. “I was very appreciative that the Alumni Association recognized me with the Outstanding Alumnus Award. I also was named the American Legion College Educator of the Year. I am proud of the fact that someone felt I was worthy of these award nominations and that the selection committees chose me.” 

Mary Jo Thomas, the president of the Fairmont State Alumni Association Board of Directors, said he has also been very caring about the community and the University. 

“He’s worked very hard in a variety of ways to improve the quality of life in Marion County. He’s been the Director of Leadership Marion, on the Marion County school board, and has worked through quite a bit of innovation during that time,” she said. “He is a past president of the Alumni Association and currently the by-laws chairman of the Alumni Association.” 

Thomas said not only has Sapp been recognized by the Alumni Association, both of his daughters have been too. 

“His sense of humor and wit are outstanding. It’s been such a pleasure to work with him in a wide variety of roles,” she said. “He’s always been a big promoter of Fairmont State and he truly gives back.” 

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