Meet the Grads: Stacy and Blane Fike, Retired Navy couple graduates from Statler College together
From meeting in the military and falling in love, to going back to school together at West Virginia University after serving over two decades in the United States Navy, Stacy and Blane Fike have always been there for each other.
Story by Adrianne Uphold, Graduate Assistant
Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
“It thrills me to no end that Stacy and I embarked on this journey together,” Blane said. “I get a big kick out of telling people, ‘I’m married to my college sweetheart.’ She helped me in so many ways, I really wonder if I could have accomplished it without her.”
Stacy and Blane will both graduate from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources with degrees in electrical engineering this May. The pair met in Virginia Beach while they were both on active duty in 2007, later getting married in 2008.
Blane served 26 years in the U.S. Navy, while Stacy served for 23 years. The couple have been stationed in places across the world such as Italy, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Australia and Tasmania.
“Most of all, the military instilled in me a sense of urgency for anything I do,” Stacy said. “While on sea duty, it was impossible to take college classes because of all the deployments. However, I was able to take some classes while on shore duty. So really, I have been working on this electrical engineering degree for 33 years. I will finish what I started.”
Blane had several family members who also served in the Navy, which helped influence his decision. Stacy’s father was stationed at Fort Carson Army base in Colorado Springs where she was born.
“I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve our country,” Blane said. “I’ve often said, I made some bad decisions as a young adult, but I made one good one; I joined the United States Navy.”
The couple now lives in New Creek, West Virginia. Blane mentioned that as a non-traditional student, the first challenge was the nine-year gap between his education.
“The first challenge was the nine-year gap between my last formal education and my first semester,” Blane said. “In the beginning it felt really awkward being the oldest student in class. Group assignments were challenging. I believe many students felt more comfortable working with people closer to their own age group.”
Despite the age gap, Blane felt like he was just another student trying to learn.
“As time progressed, I discovered ways to overcome the age gap,” Blane said. “At the end of the day, we are all students trying to achieve the same outcome. The students have embraced me as one of their peers and several have become good friends.”
After graduation, Blane said they are considering opening their own business in electronic repair.
“I’ll be looking for opportunities to serve the community,” Blane said. “I believe the future is wide open for students who pursue STEM programs. I would like to provide tutoring to help prepare students for college in these disciplines. I would also like to start a local STEM club to inspire young people.”
Stacy said she plans to go back to school to finish a degree in mathematics after graduation.
“I received a warm welcome from the college’s veteran’s representatives,” Stacy said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn from true professionals, and I’ve met some extremely smart, talented, and hardworking fellow students, of whom I have gained a great amount of respect for.”
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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