At the very heart of quality higher education is exceptional faculty. For the past 117 years, the bedrock of Davis & Elkins College has been the stellar reputation of our faculty. Graduates of every decade in the College’s history can and do name those select few who had such an indelible influence upon their lives and careers.
One of the common themes I hear from alumni who went on to graduate school following their days on the D&E campus is their level of preparedness for the rigors of graduate education. Just this past weekend, an alumnus from the ’70s commented on how surprised he was to discover that he was equally, if not better prepared, for his graduate program than students who came from undergraduate colleges and universities with a better-known pedigree than D&E. This is a glowing testament to the faculty who have served this institution throughout our years.
As was true in past years, the faculty of Davis & Elkins College today continue this rich tradition of distinction and excellence. During my years as president, I have enjoyed coming to know members of the faculty on both a professional and a personal level. Experts in their fields, our faculty demonstrate daily a love of teaching, a commitment to scholarship, and most importantly, a passion for a transformative educational experience for our students.
The chair and vice-chair of our Board of Trustees hosted a luncheon last week for new faculty at D&E. This was an opportunity for Board leadership to welcome and interact with our seven promising new scholars and provided new faculty a chance to get to know members of the College leadership on a more personal level. The conversation around the tables and the guided group conversation made obvious to me both the quality and fit of those who have come to join the D&E community.
Over the course of our time together, I listened to the discussion that centered around the learning environment of the College, the fresh perceptions of newcomers, and the gratitude for an academic community that embraces academic rigor and student-centered learning. Conversation focused on the warm welcome received, the ease of settling into the ebb and flow of campus life, and the enthusiasm for this opportunity to exercise their vocation in a supportive and nurturing environment. Most pleasing to my ears was the affirmation of the strength of our students, particularly our newest students, who have proven to be engaged and passionate. Perhaps due to the pandemic that kept so many high school students online last year, our new students seem genuinely eager to be back to in-person learning. Awaiting them is knowledge, wisdom and truth.
Like their colleagues of past years, the newest faculty of Davis & Elkins College have begun their journeys with the D&E community. Their students today, and the students of tomorrow, will benefit immensely from their wisdom, knowledge and passion. On this journey, our new faculty are about to discover they too will be the beneficiaries of the journey with students, faculty and staff resulting in mountaintop moments and lives filled with meaning and purpose. The joy is in the journey, and thanks be to God, that journey continues.
Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College