A prominent Marion County family has donated $25,000 to create a scholarship for Fairmont State University student-athletes. The Mary Jo and Coach Rusty Elliott Endowed Athletic Scholarship is intended to retain established players to ensure they can complete their degrees.
“The most important thing for any student-athlete is to graduate,” said James “Rusty” Elliot, a 1979 graduate of Fairmont State. “They’re working hard for four or five years, and the end product should be a degree to help them get a job in the field that they love.”
The community of Fairmont State University, and greater Marion County, fostered Elliott’s career as a student-athlete, local high school coach, coach at Fairmont State, and Fairmont State’s Director of Athletics for 27 years. With the love and support of the community shown to Elliott and his family, it was the ability to reciprocate the support to future Fighting Falcons that inspired the creation of the scholarship.
“I loved every minute of it. It was an opportunity for me to fall in love with the school even more after all of those years,” said Elliott. “Mary Jo and I wanted to give back to help students graduate and better their lives, because Fairmont State bettered my life. It made me a better person and helped me provide for my family.”
“With the rising costs of higher education combined with the desire to field competitive athletic teams, athletic scholarships are vital to the success of the teams and ultimately the success of the student-athletes at Fairmont State,” said Greg Bamberger, current Director of Athletics.
“The passion that Rusty and Mary Jo have for students’ success is nothing short of inspirational,” said Rachel Rae Dyer, President of the Fairmont State Foundation. “Fairmont State University student-athletes can learn a great deal about leadership, commitment, and teamwork, as they represent the University in their chosen sport. As Rusty demonstrated throughout his life and career, these experiences will guide Fairmont State student-athletes as they complete their degrees and embark on their professional and personal journeys in West Virginia and beyond. Through this gift, the Elliotts are continuing their legacy of leadership in the Falcon Community. We have a deep gratitude for their continued generosity, and we appreciate their continued commitment to Fairmont State University.”
The Mary Jo and Coach Rusty Elliott Endowed Athletic Scholarship will be available for full-time undergraduate student-athletes in a Fairmont State University Athletics program. Students must be a Junior or Senior, and a graduate of a Marion County, West Virginia High School.