Fairmont State Foundation Welcomes New President

Fairmont, W.Va. – Long-time development professional Julie R. Cryser has accepted the position as president for the Fairmont State Foundation effective April 22.

Cryser comes to the Fairmont State Foundation having served as the assistant dean of development and alumni relations at the WVU Eberly College of Arts & Sciences. Prior to that position, Cryser worked as the assistant dean in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Design for three years, previously serving as the director of development there since January 2012.

“I am very excited about coming to the Fairmont State Foundation,” Cryser said. “Fund raising for Fairmont State University means ensuring students are able to afford college. It means that faculty and staff have additional resources to offer the best education possible. And I’m awestruck by the quality of programs and possibilities.” 

Cryser spent nearly 19 years in development, communications and alumni relations at West Virginia University, having raised more than $30 million to support scholarships and student and faculty opportunities as a front-line fund raiser since 2006. 

At the Eberly College, she has helped to raise more than $3 million in the last five months. During her time in the Davis College, she ensured the College reached and exceeded its campaign goal of $24 million, assisting Davis in ending the campaign at $30 million. As a part of the campaign, Cryser helped to secure the college’s second-largest donation in its history, a $6.7 million gift from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Trust to support renovations of the equine facilities on the J.W. Ruby Research Farm in Reedsville, WV.

She was also instrumental in the development and coordination of the College’s Young Innovator Program, which assisted students with developing innovative ideas and businesses. She also secured funding to hire a Farm Credit Student Leadership Academy Coordinator, a position that will work with students who receive private funding for undergraduate research, education abroad and other value-added experiences.

On the communications side of advancement, Cryser lead a Davis College team that published a 150th anniversary history book to celebrate the College’s milestone anniversary. Under her guidance, the college increased communications, including producing two magazines per year, a monthly alumni newsletter, videos and internal communications.

Cryser began her career at WVU in 2001 in the Reed College of Media, then known as the P.I. Reed School of Journalism, as a public relations and alumni coordinator and adjunct news-editorial lecturer. She moved to WVU Extension Service in May 2006, where she served as the development director. WVU Extension reached and exceeded its initial $4 million State of Minds campaign goal under her tenure.

“The Falcon family welcomes Julie as our new Foundation President.” said Gary LeDonne, Chair of the Fairmont State Foundation Board of Directors. “Julie has an extensive background in higher education fund raising and enabling her to lead the Fairmont State Foundation to new heights” 

Prior to joining WVU, Cryser worked as a reporter and editor in newspapers throughout West Virginia and Pennsylvania, having earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WVU in journalism and graduating with honors. She is married to Dave Hickman, a retired sports writer, and has two children, Grace and Annie. 

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