THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - The president of Davis & Elkins College gave a presentation outlining a range of goals for the institution, including the possibility of a new building for health sciences, during Monday’s weekly meeting with the Rotary Club of Elkins.
Chris A. Wood said he spent his first year as president of D&E getting to know the campus, its people and how things were done before initiating any changes. Now, Wood and other college leaders are working toward a range of strategic plans to offer new programs of study, improved facilities, expanded athletics and more.
While plans are not finalized for a new health sciences building, Wood said he hopes additional funding will allow it to happen. He said the goal is to raze Jennings Randolph Hall and build in its place a 28,000-square-foot, four-level building with a large patio.
“It would be a terrific addition to our campus,” he said.
A much smaller project that Wood also is excited about is a new coffee shop, which soon will be located within a restored 1939 caboose. A range of other changes are coming to the campus, he added, including a much-needed new roof for the Martin Field House and a range of concrete work that could cost $1 million to $2 million, including areas where steps are crumbling from age.
Wood said D&E is blessed to have support from Rotary and the local community, as well as many generous donors. The college is nearing the end of a $100 million capital campaign, which stands at about $88 million so far and is set to be complete by June 30, 2018.
He also discussed college life for students who live on campus; athletic options at the school, including the newly announced women’s triathlon; scholarship opportunities; and expanded programs of study, such as new options in nursing education.
Wood said D&E’s enrollment is at just about 840 students, with 757 full-time students and the remainder part-time or online students.
“We would like to get it to 1,000,” he said of the student enrollment number. “Part of that strategic plan is how we’re going to get there.”
He noted 518 students reside on campus, and West Virginia residents make up about 55 percent of the student body.
During Monday’s Rotary meeting, which took place at the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA, Wood served as the sponsor for new Rotary member Rosemary Thomas.
Thomas serves as vice president for enrollment management and institutional advancement for D&E College. In her role, Thomas oversees operations of the Office of Admission, student retention efforts and the Office of Institutional Advancement, which includes alumni, church relations and development, along with communications and marketing. She also serves as a member of the president’s senior management team.
She has a background in management and higher education, and worked with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Prior to working with the GFWC, Thomas was vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the FSU Foundation at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. She’s held similar positions at colleges and universities in Florida, Maryland and West Virginia.
Thomas also serves as assistant director of the American Legion Auxiliary West Virginia Girls State, is a lifelong United Way member and also is involved in other nonprofit agencies.