D&E Dedicates Center for Faith and Public Policy

Date Posted: 

Friday, March 31, 2017

THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - A facility that will serve as a center for faith and public policy was dedicated on the campus of Davis & Elkins College Thursday prior to the inauguration of President Chris Wood.

The Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy was named for David H. Morrison, a D&E graduate of the class of 1979, and his wife, Phebe Novakovic.

Through the generosity of Board of Trustees Chair June Myles, Morrison and Novakovic, the college was able to amass what was needed to open the center. Once the property was acquired, renovations were made to the house to complete the project.

The center was first opened in fall 2016 in order to provide an area and environment for students, faculty and other scholars to discuss issues of faith and social and public policy.

“We are very hopeful and excited about the center’s future and for those young minds who enter through its doors,” Novakovic said.

Once completed, eight Davis & Elkins students were selected to reside in the Morrison-Novakovic Center under the guidance of the director of the center, Dr. Bryan Wagoner, an assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies. These students will focus on five themes during their time in the house, which will include public policy, ethics, faith traditions, sustainability, and service.

Morrison is a retired corporate vice president for Boeing Company. Serving in this capacity, Morrison was responsible for overseeing and implementing strategic and tactical interactions with the U.S. Congress and other related federal agencies.

The Davis & Elkins College graduate also served the federal government in different capacities for 22 years.

Novakovic is the chairwoman and chief executive officer of General Dynamics Corporation, a global aerospace and defense company. In 2014, Novakovic was listed as the 56th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Media, a global media, technology, and branding company.

“I wanted to honor the institution that gave my husband the foundation for the journey that he has been on for the last 40 years. It has been a remarkable journey and one that I have been so privileged to be a part of,” Novakovic said.

Prior to the dedication of the Morrison-Novakovic Center, Morrison delivered a speech that focused on America and addressing anger in American people.

“Our understanding of anger in America has become so sophisticated that we now have sub-groupings and sub-categories of anger – by gender, by race, ethnicity, country of origin, religious creed,” Morrison said.

Morrison asked that people re-imagine the American dream through a different lens.

“What does the American dream mean to all Americans? Is it so deeply flawed that we have to start over again, or does it still shine with promise and possibility?” Morrison asked.

Morrison attempted to offer a number of lenses for people to use when considering anger in America and “getting at the root of the problem,” as he explained.

“At a time when it seems that our political, social, religious and economic institutions are less equipped to address these angers now than they were in the past, the result — a growing despair that the dream that was America, the dream that held this country together through thick and thin, has corroded,” Morrison said.

The speaker asked that those in attendance describe the American dream in one word. Those called on during the lecture used words such as hope, freedom and opportunity.

“Hope is the virtue that will allow us to begin the recovery and re-imagination of the American dream. Just as faith counters fear and love counters hate, hope counters despair,” Morrison said.