Fairmont State board votes to end president’s contract early

The Fairmont State University Board of Governors met Wednesday afternoon to discuss matters relating to University President Mirta M. Martin’s contract. After exiting executive session, the Board voted to end Martin’s contract effective July 18, 2022. All presidential powers and responsibilities were transferred to current Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Dianna Phillips.

The Board vote was not unanimous, with staff representative, Jon Dodds, and student representative, Maiya Bennett, voting against terminating Martin’s contract. Fairmont State University Board of Governors Chairman, David Goldberg, abstained from the vote. 

“Fairmont State University has a longstanding history of strong and transformative leadership,” Goldberg said. “Each of our 26 presidents has left a unique and distinct mark on the Falcon Family and President Martin is no different. Through her passionate and energetic leadership Dr. Martin achieved all of the goals set before her by the Board. The University has returned to a strong financial position, more than 36 certificate, major, minor or concentrations at the undergraduate and graduate levels have been created and enrollment is trending up for the fall semester. And none of us will ever forget Dr. Martin’s leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic when the world was forced to make unprecedented decisions in order to keep our communities safe and moving forward.”

Through an afternoon e-mail to campus on Tuesday, Martin announced that she did not intend to seek renewal of her contract that was set to end on December 28. 

Martin said she began to consider this decision during the winter holidays and although it was a tough and emotional decision to make, she feels this is the right next step for her and the University. 

“I am so incredibly blessed to have already served in this role for nearly five years. During this time, Fairmont has become my home, and the Falcon family, my family,” Martin stated. “It is an honor and an absolute privilege to serve all of you. It is also my honor to serve this institution and the State of West Virginia as your President, as President of the Council of Presidents, and as President of the Board of the Mountain East Conference.”

The Board will immediately begin the process of a national presidential search through the services of higher education recruitment firm AGB. Additional steps include the forming of a search committee to include members of the board, students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community, the announcement of a presidential search timeline, and eventual on-campus interviews. 

“As we look ahead to the future, the Board stands ready to ensure a continuity of leadership and support for our students, faculty and staff,” said Goldberg. “The Board will be seeking input from all areas of our Falcon Family as we set the criteria for our next President.”

As the process moves forward, information and updates can be found at www.fairmontstate.edu/presidentialsearch.

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