FAIRMONT — Rocco Fucillo, one of the five presidential candidates, visited Fairmont State University Monday.
Fucillo said in an interview that he did not apply for the position during the original search, which began in late 2016. He said he was nominated for the presidential search, which was done in partnership with the Association of Governing Boards of University and Colleges.
“I had a chance to think about it. People mentioned it to me. It makes perfect sense,” he said. “My career arc, things I’ve done in my life, mix perfectly with Fairmont State at this point.”
In the meeting with classified and non-classified staff Monday morning, Fucillo said FSU needs to implement a major capital campaign with brand development to improve revenue.
Fucillo later had a meeting with representatives from Pierpont Community & Technical College. The issues the university and the college are facing, he said, are trying to “cut” their way to prosperity, overworked staff and students paying high tuition.
He stated his vision and plan for FSU is to increase enrollment and revenue by an aggressive marketing with a differentiated brand.
“It’s like a marriage. You know you have to work at it, (and) you have to have smart communications about it. There’s going to be push and pull, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to understand we’re both going in the same direction,” he said.
Brian Floyd, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Pierpont Community & Technical College, said after Fucillo met with representatives of that institution Monday afternoon, Fucillo said there wasn’t anything he didn’t like on that front.
“It’s very encouraging, obviously, anytime somebody’s talking about partnership and growing the opportunities,” Floyd said.
He said talking about partnership opportunities and ways to grow both institutions are consistent with everybody’s vision.
Most appealing was the recognition that there has to be an improved relationship, FSU Chief of Police Jack Clayton said.
Clayton said he liked hearing about the possibility of FSU collaborating with PT&TC.
“It feels like we’re competing when we should be working together,” he said.
Fucillo’s schedule included separate meetings with students, staff, faculty, the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Governors and current Interim President Dr. Stephen Jones.
Fucillo is the state-local community relations specialist at West Virginia University and advocates at the West Virginia Legislature, he said.
“What I would do as president of Fairmont State? No. 1 would be to hit the ground running to build political support that Fairmont needs for budget stability,” Fucillo said.
He added that FSU should not be “addicted to Charleston.”
Fucillo taught at FSU and the WVU College of Law.
“What Fairmont State needs to have is this presence, its brand expanded, so the entire nation knows (and) that the state knows it’s the number one regional university. So with my experience and my relationships, I believe I can help Fairmont State differentiate itself to be a leader in academics and economic development for the entire state.”