The newest addition to the Davis & Elkins College campus served as inspiration for the design of the Class of 2021 Commemorative Medal. The rotunda entrance to the renovated Myles Center for the Arts is featured on the front of the coin with artwork by senior Aidan Konhaus.
Now a tradition at Davis & Elkins College, the Graduating Class Commemorative Medal was introduced to the class of 2013. Each year a senior art student is selected to produce a design of his or her choice and the back is inscribed with the College logo.
Konhaus said he decided to draw the Myles Center entrance because he was able to witness the construction progress on a daily basis.
“It’s a very nice building,” Konhaus said, adding that he spends much of his time in the lower level of the facility where the art studios are located. “I am no stranger to the construction – it was all going on right above me.”
An art major from Berlin, Pennsylvania, Konhaus came to D&E initially to participate as a distance runner on the men’s track and field team and as a member of the cross country team. In 2020, he helped the Senators qualify for the NCAA cross country championships. He was named to All-Atlantic Region cross country, All-MEC cross country, USTFCCCA Scholar Athlete and MEC Academic All-Conference in 2019.
His passion in art grew from his childhood interest in drawing. At D&E, his field of concentration shifted to ceramics.
“You can make anything out of clay,” Konhaus said.
Konhaus has shown his work in student art showcases on campus and at the Arts Center in Elkins. For two consecutive years, 2020 and 2021, he received the Division of Creative Arts Departmental Achievement Award and currently serves as president of the Art Club.
Members of the D&E Class of 2021 will receive the coin with Konhaus’ work at the Commencement Ceremony on May 8.
The idea and support for the Graduating Class Commemorative Medal came from former D&E Trustee Bill Sudbrink, an avid coin collector who also donated multiple Roman coins to The Stirrup Gallery which are displayed in the Howard-Sudbrink Collection. The medals serve as both a keepsake and a collector’s piece. Constructed of bronze, each year’s edition features a different theme.
In addition to graduates, coins are given to each member of the team responsible for the design, Sudbrink, the Davis & Elkins College archives and the office of the vice president for student affairs.
Sudbrink has also outlined a plan that will ensure the tradition continues and that others connected to the College have a chance to obtain a coin as well. Any remaining medals will be available for purchase for two years after being issued to any D&E alumnus and any member of the faculty, staff or board of trustees serving during that academic year. Any medals remaining after two years may be sold to the general public.