CHARLESTON, W.Va. Fairmont State University Day was celebrated in Charleston on Monday. President Dr. Michael Davis took over leadership of the school in July 2023, and this was his first visit to Charleston during the legislative session.

“I think we’ve always done a great job talking about how wonderful things are on our campus,” Dr. Davis said. “But I think we made a lot of strides today, and I think we’re on people’s radar, and that was the goal of this first visit,” Dr. Davis said.

Spending the day with state officials and having the opportunity to see the available resources was eye-opening for Dr. Davis. In the future, Davis hopes to deepen the relationship with additional visits and come away with more tools to help grow the university and improve the experience for students.

“We’ll start to connect the experts on our campus with the folks down here in Charleston because I think there’s a lot of opportunity here if we connect the right people for everyone to prosper and for us to be a really great university for decades to come,” Dr. Davis said.

Davis and more than 25 staff, faculty, students, and alumni talked about the importance of workforce development programs and preparing students to fill roles needed by business and industry.

“We’re making sure we’re producing teachers who are ready to meet the needs of students coming out of the pandemic,” Dr. Davis said. “Nurses obviously are always going to be a high priority in the state; we can never produce enough nurses.”

Dr. Davis said that despite the challenges faced by higher education institutions, there is room for growth at Fairmont State University. But he said the growth has to be measured and aligned with the career paths of the future, or careers in essential fields.

“As we add those programs, make sure they are the ones that lead to workforce development for our students, lead to jobs, and lead to great careers,” Dr. Davis said. “So, we’re going to be constantly looking at ways to build programs—both certificate programs and four-year degree programs.”

This event provided an opportunity to meet and talk with additional lawmakers, not just representatives in the immediate area. Building a trusting relationship with elected officials to promote free exchange in the future.

“When they have questions about what they’re seeing nationwide, I want them to be able to turn to me and say, What am I seeing? Can you explain this to me as a higher education expert?