In 1865, a small teacher training school started up in the basement of a Methodist Church in Fairmont, West Virginia. It was known as the West Virginia Normal School. Over the years the school outgrew its basement dwelling and expanded its curriculum, finally becoming Fairmont State University in 2004.
80 Bachelor’s degree programmes and five graduate degree programmes are offered at Fairmont. There are six colleges and schools: liberal arts, science and technology, business, education, health and human performance, fine arts and nursing and applied health administration. There is also a centre for graduate studies, and a Regents Bachelor of Arts programme. Graduate students can study business, education, teaching, criminal justice, or nursing.
Students can take programmes in aviation at the nearby Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center. Fairmont State University also offers programmes for students interested in a career in the army or air force.
The university is home to the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center, part of the College of Liberal Arts. The centre teaches courses such as folklore, folk music, Appalachian studies and museum studies.
The 120-acre campus in Fairmont has five halls of residence. 24 different club sports are played at the campus recreation centre, ranging from softball to backgammon.
Fairmont itself is a community of around 19,000 people, home to an annual blues festival and birthplace of the pepperoni roll. Outdoor pursuits like walking and cycling can be enjoyed in the two local state parks, Prickett’s Fort and Valley Falls.