FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Dr. Mirta Martin will become the next president of Fairmont State University, the school’s board of governors announced during a meeting Thursday morning.
Dr. Martin has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, banking, advisory and consulting, and her career involves work in both the public and private sectors, as well as work with public-private partnerships.
“I am grateful to the board, the search committee, faculty, staff, our wonderful students and to the community at large for affording me the privilege to lead this incredible institution,” Martin said in a statement released by the school. “There are boundless opportunities here — opportunities we can maximize by engaging alumni and friends and by working together with other senior institutions, community colleges, and with industry. I am here because I believe in you, in this institution and in its enormous potential.
Martin spoke following the meeting’s conclusion. She praised the students, faculty, and residents — saying that they were part of the allure of the Fairmont State job.
“The people attracted me here,” Martin said. “They are bright, they are dedicated, they are loyal, but they are a humble. And that’s a quality that’s rare.”
Dr. Martin plans to spend about three weeks in West Virginia next month as part of what she calls a “listening tour.”
“I want to visit and hear from students, from faculty, from staff, from community members, from our legislators,” she said. “I want to visit with them. I want to visit with all of you because you are all our partners in getting the word out.”
The word, she said, is “the story of success” at Fairmont State University.
“I’m willing to put on my walking shoes and go throughout the state and throughout the nation to tell that story.”
Martin, originally from Havana, Cuba, fled her home country to Spain when she was just six years old with her sister and grandmother. She eventually joined the banking industry before becoming a full-time tenured faculty member at Averett University in Richmond, Va.
“I understand the financial side of academia, but I also consider myself an academic,” she said. “I believe that curriculum belong to the faculty. For us to be the great institution that we are, we need to ensure our academic rigor. That leads us to success.”
Martin is scheduled to officially begin her presidency on Jan. 1, 2018, taking over duties from interim president Stephen B. Jones.