Mike Ross
Mike Ross

Mike Ross to speak at Fairmont State Winter Commencement on Dec. 14

More than 175 students will participate in the Winter Commencement Ceremony for Fairmont State University on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m., in the Feaster Center. 

“Our graduates have worked hard to complete their degrees and this is an important time for the entire campus community to come together and celebrate the achievements of our students,” Fairmont State President Mirta Martin said. “We are excited to be able to hold a winter commencement for the second year in a row to celebrate these students and their accomplishment.”

Mike Ross, former West Virginia state senator and delegate , will serve as the Commencement speaker. For those who would like to view the December 14 ceremony from home, a video will be streamed live at www.fairmontstate.edu/livegraduation

The School of Nursing Winter Commencement and Pinning Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 12, in Colebank Gym. The pinning ceremony is a long-held tradition that is a symbolic welcoming of newly graduated nurses into the profession of nursing. The graduate nurse is presented with the nursing pin by the faculty of the nursing program. Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Associate of Science in Nursing graduates may participate in the December 12 ceremony.

To make attending the Fairmont State University Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, December 14, more convenient, some parking changes will be in effect. The Department of Public Safety will re-route the loop around campus to become one way.  Officers and other attendants will be on hand to direct traffic and answer parking questions. Guests should enter campus using the Squibb Wilson Boulevard Entrance. General parking will stay in the left lane upon entering campus. The right lane will be for shuttles and handicapped parking only. Shuttle pick up and drop offs will be indicated on the map with a star. Shuttles will begin pick-ups, one hour prior to the ceremony.

All handicapped accessible parking will be located in the Pence Hall parking lot. Handicapped accessible seating is available on the second floor of the Joe Retton Arena, so those with mobility issues should enter the Feaster Center from the second-floor entrance.

The best advice for those attending Commencement is to arrive early for the event and to carpool as much as possible. Doors will open to the public at noon. Thank you in advance for your attention to these changes and for your patience. 

Sign language interpreting services will be provided during the ceremony. The Office of Disability Services will provide Commencement programs in Braille at the Feaster Center. For more information, call the Office of Disability Services at (304) 367-4686 or the Department of Public Safety at (304) 367-4157.

Mike Ross 

Mike Ross came from humble beginnings to get to where he is today, which speaks volumes to the personality he possesses, the stories he can tell, the positions he has held, and the generosity from within. Mike was born in Coalton, West Virginia. His father was an immigrant coal miner and his mother was a homemaker, and together they raised 14 children. Mike graduated from Coalton High School then attended Davis & Elkins College for a while, and also worked temporarily as a coal miner and heavy equipment operator. Even though he was making $3 an hour operating heavy equipment, he opted to take a $1.25 an hour job as a well tender for Waverly Oil Works, a Pittsburgh firm where he sometimes worked six and seven days a week. 

In 1971, Mike and his business partner, Robert Wharton started Ross & Wharton Gas Company which today provides livelihoods for several full-time employees and many other independent contractors throughout West Virginia. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Mike Ross, Inc, and President of Ross & Wharton Gas Company. He was named Oil & Gas Man of the Year in 1990, and was inducted into WVU College of Business & Economics Hall Of Fame in 2013.

In 1992, this distinguished citizen was elected to represent the 15th District in the West Virginia Senate. During his 12 years in office, he served as chairman of a variety of committees, including Transportation and Infrastructure, and Rule-Making, and he served on various other committees. Mike was also appointed by Governor Joe Manchin to fill the West Virginia House of Delegates 37th District seat left vacant in 2009 after the sudden passing of Delegate Bill Proudfoot. 

Mike serves as a model of how citizens can weave their successes into the communities in which they live, work, serve, and play. He has continuously and generously sponsored and supported community events, fairs and festivals, schools, team sports, and charitable activities. His support and partnership with Fairmont State University has impacted countless students and ensured their ability to soar. Most recently, Mike and his family donated $1 Million to WVU’s Children’s Hospital for pediatric diabetes research.

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