President Martin is honored 2019 WV Educator of the Year

Alex Mullins, Staff Reporter

Fairmont State University President Mirta Martin was named 2019 West Virginia Educator of the Year in late December. 

During an interview with The Columns, Martin described her initial reaction to the award stating, “When I found out I was awarded this honor, I felt humble, surprised and grateful.”

As President Martin reflected on her childhood, she described the past events that led her to her current position and achievement.

“Education was always the focal point in my childhood. My grandmother and I escaped the communist regime in Cuba when I was six years old and fled to Spain where we lived at a commune until the rest of my family followed,” said Martin.

From there, Martin and her grandmother immigrated to the United States.

“My grandmother and I worked on our hands and knees scrubbing floors for people just to have enough money for food and there were sometimes where we did go hungry. However, my grandmother always looked up at me when we were scrubbing those floors and said, ‘You are going to college,’ ” Martin said.

When Martin was in high school, her French teacher, Mrs. Rosenberg, took her underneath her wing and helped her figure out what she wanted to do.

Martin described this stating, “Mrs. Rosenberg wrote a check to go with my college application and that took me to Duke University. To her that money was irrelevant, but to me it was life changing.”

Martin was drawn to Fairmont State University because she felt she could identify with the population in West Virginia.

“The current generation at Fairmont State identifies more with humanity than my generation does. This generation is compassionate with people and I identify with that.” said Martin.

President Martin never imagined that she would become a university president, earn a Ph.D., or even attend college, but through all the people who have helped her open those doors in life, she now presides over a strong Fairmont State University and an astounding life of achievements.