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Alumnus creates scholarship for Berkeley County residents through planned gift

Born and raised in Marlowe, West Virginia, in the eastern panhandle’s Berkeley County, Philip W. Fearnow ’62 graduated from Martinsburg High School and planned to attend the University of Kentucky as a member of the baseball team. When a foot injury waylaid his plans, Phil enrolled at Shepherd instead and became involved in campus life, joining the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and ultimately graduating in 1962 with a degree in chemistry.

Now he has established the Philip W. Fearnow Scholarship in support of students who graduated from a high school in Berkeley County. The named fund was established through a bequest, providing general academic scholarship support for deserving West Virginia students into perpetuity. The deferred gift qualifies Phil to join the Joseph P. McMurran Society, a special group of donors that have chosen to share their lifelong financial achievements with Shepherd University through estate and other planned gifts.

During his time at Shepherd, Phil was a member of the Men’s Baseball Team until his senior year, when he began to prepare for graduate school. As he considered his future, he found himself faced with a decision.

“I had opportunities to play professional baseball,” he said. “It was a decision between pursuing that and going to graduate school, and I chose to go to graduate school.”

Phil went on to earn his master’s degree in physical chemistry from the University of Miami before taking a job with DuPont. He remained with the company for 24 years and obtained five patents within its Research and Development division. Following an early retirement from DuPont, Fearnow enjoyed a successful second career as a sales executive with several companies throughout the United States. In 2010 he retired from his final position as vice president and general manager of Durand Forms in Durand, Michigan, and returned to Martinsburg.

While he admits to occasionally second guessing his decision not to pursue a career in baseball, Phil has no regrets.

“It all worked out,” he said. “If I’d played professional baseball, I probably wouldn’t have gone to grad school or ended up with the career I had. You just never know.”

Now Phil hopes his named scholarship award will encourage students in his native Berkeley County to pursue similar educational opportunities.

“I’m just trying to promote West Virginia education,” he said.