Endowed Chairs

Chancellor Michael Mihalyo and Thomas Richard Ross Chair in History and the Humanities Dr. Peter OkunS. Benton Talbot Chair in the Natural Sciences and Nursing

The S. Benton Talbot Chair in the Natural Sciences and Nursing honors a pioneer of academic excellence and leadership at Davis & Elkins College. Dr. Talbot set the standard early in the College's history, serving as Dean of the Faculty and establishing premier programs in biology and pre-medicine. Although there have been many changes in academic programs since Dr. Talbot's day, his commitment to academic excellence and mentoring the whole person lives on in today's faculty as well. The Talbot Chair provides vital resources for thriving programs in biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science and nursing.

Joyce Butler McKee Allen Chair in Education

The Joyce Butler McKee Allen Chair in Education, a $1 million endowed chair, provides a professorship, as well as professional development opportunities, to enhance D&E’s teacher education program. A gift from Joyce Allen’s four children, the Chair was announced during the College’s 2015 Commencement ceremonies. The Allen Chair will not only lend distinction to D&E’s program, but also ensure the curriculum addresses a wide range of learning needs and challenges in West Virginia’s classrooms. Throughout her education and career, Allen made the observation that a student’s positive learning experience begins with the teacher. To that end, she wants to ensure that the Chair provides education majors with a curriculum that will focus on the diagnosis and remediation of myriad learning challenges. Allen has served D&E with distinction as a member of the academic affairs, development and student affairs committees of the D&E Board of Trustees.

Claire Deiss Fiorentino Chair in Theatre

The Claire Deiss Fiorentino Chair in Theatre honors a professor who was recognized throughout West Virginia for the quality of her theatrical productions and pageants. Professor Fiorentino, who taught at Davis & Elkins College from 1944 until her retirement in 1974, was also active with the Mountain State Forest Festival, directing a pageant in honor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's visit to the Festival in 1936 and remaining active for many years as the director of the Festival's children's pageant and other community productions. The chair provides a permanently endowed professorship in theatre arts as well as an endowed theatre enrichment fund. It is funded by Professor Fiorentino's son, Antony E. "Tony" Fiorentino.

James S. McDonnell Foundation Chair in Business & Economics in honor of Dr. Gloria M. Payne

The James S. McDonnell Foundation Chair in Business and Economics honors Dr. Gloria M. Payne, who has served on the faculty of Davis & Elkins College for more than 70 years. The McDonnell/Payne Chair helps ensure that the Division of Business & Entrepreneurship has the resources it needs to continue serving students with the creativity, vitality, and personalized attention that have been hallmarks of Dr. Payne's remarkable career.

A. Jean Minnick Chair in Sport Science

The A. Jean Minnick Chair in Sport Science was announced during the annual Founders’ Day convocation in September 2017. The $1 million gift provides support and vital resources for the Department of Sport Science. The Chair honors the stellar teaching and coaching career of Dr. A Jean Minnick, a resident of Elkins who served as professor of physical education and chair of the Department of Health, Sport, and Movement Sciences at Davis & Elkins College from 1963 to 1998, retiring as professor emerita. Well respected in Division I athletics, Minnick coached field hockey at D&E for 17 years leading her teams to national prominence. She has received several accolades for her coaching and teaching achievements. Dr. Mary Ann DeLuca is the inaugural holder of the Minnick Chair.

Thomas Richard Ross Chair in History & the Humanities

The Thomas Richard Ross Chair honors one of Davis & Elkins College's most distinguished professors. Dr. Thomas Richard Ross held many positions at Davis & Elkins College - professor and chair of the Department of History and Political Science, dean of the faculty, College historian and, after retirement, trustee adviser. The Ross Chair helps ensure that Dr. Ross's legacy of scholarship and challenging mentorship lives on among professors in history and the humanities.

G.T. ‘Buck’ Smith Presidential Chair

The G.T. ‘Buck’ Smith Presidential Chair was established in 2013 by members of the Board of Trustees in honor of the College’s 13th president in appreciation for his years of service from 2008 to 2013. In addition to supporting the president’s salary, the endowment provides discretionary funds for the president to underwrite initiatives that add to the distinctive quality of Davis & Elkins College. Under President Smith’s leadership, D&E increased its full-time enrollment by more than 50 percent, paid off all of its external debt and completed more than $10 million in campus improvements. His six-step game plan, announced on his first day as president, was to reduce expenses, recruit students, retain students, raise funds, renew programs and reach for new opportunities. His student-centered initiatives, including the Highlands Scholarship, have received widespread attention, including national press coverage. Dr. Michael Mihalyo was the first holder of the Smith Chair.