Elkins, West Virginia – Davis & Elkins College received a $1 million gift from longtime donor and active Elkins resident Joyce Butler McKee Allen, adding to the ongoing momentum for the “Creating Home: It Takes a Village” capital campaign.
Allen made her latest substantial gift approximately a month after the College received a $3.4 million gift toward the capital campaign from an anonymous donor. The board member and her late husband John, are known for their generosity through varied timely and transformative financial donations to D&E. Her enthusiasm for education has been evident in her gifts to the College over the last 25 years.
Recognizing the importance technology plays in education, Allen was generous to fund The Joyce Butler-McKee Allen Education Computer Lab that includes laptops, educational software and furnishings for education students; Dell laptops and a charging cart, along with SmartBoards, for business students; and a SimPad PLUS used in The Center for Advanced Clinical Learning at Davis Medical Center to give nursing students a more realistic experience in caring for patients through a simulation lab.
Allen is also responsible in part for the designation of The Caboose Café. The retired Chessie System caboose was gifted to the College and later changed hands to Elkins resident James Schoonover. When it was later given to Elkins resident Sid Gillispie, he and Allen decided it should return home. J.F. Allen Company made a special delivery to bring the caboose back to campus.
In 2015, her four children – John C. Allen Jr., Susan McKee Crimmins, Thomas Braxton McKee and Peter Kingsley McKee Jr. – created the $1 million endowed Joyce Butler McKee Allen Chair in Education that provides a professorship, as well as professional development opportunities, to enhance D&E’s teacher education program.
“This most recent generous gift, coupled with numerous previous contributions, are signs of Joyce Allen’s commitment to Davis & Elkins College and its future,” said D&E President Chris A. Wood. “Gifts to this capital campaign ensure that our top-notch academics are complemented with excellent residential facilities to create a dynamic living and learning community. Always a leader, Joyce has unwaveringly given to this institution for more than two decades, prioritizing the improvement of the student experience through her philanthropic efforts. We are deeply grateful for her continued commitment to our mission and her demonstrated leadership through her financial support.”
Gifts to the campaign are for the sole purpose of constructing the Freshman Village, which will benefit the student residential experience. The Freshman Village will encompass the hillside where Roxanna Booth Hall and Gribble Hall are located, both of which will experience upgrades. Additionally, construction for a new yet unnamed resident hall structure creating a 100-bed, suite-style facility is included as part of the vision for the Freshman Village.
In addition to her gift, Allen will serve as co-chair of the Campaign, tasked with continuing to attract interest and financial momentum in the project. A longtime supporter and friend, Allen has been actively engaged in initiatives to support students and the college for more than two and a half decades.
“The student experience is at the forefront of the Davis & Elkins College brand.” Allen said. “I have seen firsthand the transformational impact each gift makes at D&E and as a former educator, I know how important campus enhancements are to student engagement. I believe in the vision behind the Freshman Village and trust that it will continue to promote the positive student experience.”
The Freshman Village represents Phase II of the Campus Master Plan approved by the D&E Board of Trustees in 2019. Groundbreaking for the $25 million project to create a Freshman Village is slated for later this spring. Phase I of the plan was completed in 2020 and consisted of $7.2 million in upgrades to the Myles Center for the Arts and Myles Plaza to offer space for campus and community gatherings.
To contribute to the Creating Home: It Takes a Village capital campaign at D&E, please visit www.dewv.edu/give.