Writing a weekly column is both a privilege and a responsibility. Attempting to keep this communication fresh for the reader, I try to vary the focus on differing topics relevant to Davis & Elkins College. As I am “Reflecting Along the Journey” this day, I find myself thinking of the centrality of people to our journeys … specifically the faculty and staff of D&E as they have impacted my journey.
Looking back at the past four and a half years of my presidency, that time has been filled with so many wonderful experiences and memories. The vast majority are a result of my interaction with people. These constituencies include students, board members, alumni and community members to be certain. However, the College’s faculty and staff are the constant that have affected my experience on this campus in a very positive manner. I do not wish to be guilty of taking for granted their dedication, professionalism and gracious nature. For these few paragraphs, I simply wish to reflect and say thanks for all they do for our students and for me.
The chair of our Board of Trustees recently joined me to host a conversation with several new faculty that have joined D&E over the past year. Our time together was energizing as our newest professors shared their experiences to-date with our students, and their enthusiasm to be teaching at a College that is truly making a difference in the lives of young men and women.
That conversation with new faculty brought to mind a memorable recent conversation with an alumnus from the ‘70s who has remained closely connected to the College. She was reminiscing about faculty from her time as a student and shared how blessed she was to have been taught by so many distinguished professors. She went on to state her belief that today’s D&E students are having the same high-quality educational experience. I am in wholehearted agreement as I think of our current faculty who continually impress me with their knowledge, caring hearts and passion.
Likewise, I think of staff members working across the campus in support roles. While they receive compensation for their work, they are here for more than just a paycheck. Our staff recognize that they are playing a role in the molding and shaping of our students into the leaders of tomorrow. The cumulative effect of the compassion, dedication and professionalism of our staff is the creation of a unique environment where students excel, and opportunities abound. For most of our staff, their work is their vocation for it brings meaning to their lives.
I am a strong believer that the phrase “thank you” may be the most profound expression in our language, taking a back seat only to “I love you!” As the President of Davis & Elkins College, I want to say those two powerful words … thank you … to our faculty and staff. Please know how much you are valued.
People make our life’s journey special. I am grateful that my journey has brought me to this home among the hills where I am blessed to work with special D&E colleagues.
The journey continues….
Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College