Reflecting Along the Journey

June 28, 2018

Dear College Community,

These two words are small, yet so powerful. For some they offer the possibility to change one's outlook on life. At a minimum, they eloquently express an attitude that makes our world a better place. A sampling of these words in different languages includes arigato, merci, danke, grazie, toda, mahalo, spasiba, and gracias. In English we say "thank you."

I have read that in some ancient languages there is no word or phrase to express the idea of "thank you." I find that difficult to imagine. In my own life, I know that I need these two words. I need to express my thanks first to God for his many blessings, beginning with the blessing of life itself. I need to say thanks to family and friends, for health, for vocation and for material blessings. I need to say thanks for a warm and welcoming D&E community that has embraced Lisa and me, and to the Elkins community that we are proud to call home. In short, I need to catch thanksgiving.

In two days I have the honor of announcing the completion of D&E's historic Secure the Future campaign. This $100 million effort was only possible because of President Buck Smith, Mr. Jim McDonnell, the D&E Board of Trustees, nearly 6,000 donors, a dedicated faculty and staff, and a cloud of witnesses from the past 114 years of our history that have dedicated themselves to this unique institution of higher education. The struggles over the decades have been mighty for Davis & Elkins College, and the future is not without challenges. However, because of this historic campaign, our future is more secure, and the coming years promise to be some of the brightest for D&E.

The Secure the Future campaign was audacious. Launched during a low period of the College's enrollment and financial vitality, President Smith and the Board of Trustees looked beyond the challenges of the time to the possibilities of the future. They believed in the alumni and friends of Davis & Elkins to see the institution through a valley, as many had done over the past century of D&E's history. Our brighter view today is attained only as we stand on the shoulders of our leaders of yesterday. Their audaciousness makes the celebration of June 30 all the more remarkable and significant.

As the one who is now privileged to lead this institution, there is only one proper response to say to all who have led and given to make this momentous day a reality. That response is simple yet profound. It is easily uttered and yet heartfelt. It translates into many languages. It cannot be overstated. The only proper response is to say "thank you!"

Through this weekly column I call "Reflecting Along the Journey" I have the privilege of communicating with several thousand alumni and friends of the College, plus local residents through The Inter-Mountain. I am grateful for this privilege and opportunity. This column is going on hiatus for a few weeks to allow time for me to reflect and rest along the journey. In a few weeks, as the campus returns to life, I look forward to sharing more of my reflections with you as the ebb and flow of our lives continues. Until that time, I wish for each of you a time of rest and reflection over these summer weeks. Remember, life is a journey, not a race. Enjoy your travels.

The journey continues...

Chris A. Wood
President Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College