As the old song by Peter Allen rightly reminds us, “Everything old is new again.” These lyrics have come to my mind several times during recent experiences on campus. Allow me to offer four specific examples.
Ten days ago, the family of Ralph and Mary Frances Shepler gathered in front of the Halliehurst mansion. The occasion was the dedication of a beautiful fountain in the large planter that sits at the entrance to this historic former summer home of Senator Stephen B. Elkins. Without the tenacity of this couple and former President Dorothy MacConkey, Halliehurst would likely have been razed in the 1990s when it was in significant disrepair. The Sheplers invested their own funds and rallied the community to renovate what is today one of two beautiful historic mansions on our campus. As we gathered to remember Ralph and Mary Frances and thank the Shepler family for their legacy at Davis & Elkins College, those old familiar lyrics came to mind.
Last weekend a group of students, alumni, and staff gathered in the Myles Center to celebrate the re-chartering of the Gamma Delta Chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi, one of two national fraternities active on campus. Greek life has been an integral part of the fabric of D&E for decades. After issues in years past that caused the dissolution of this chapter, it was the persistent desire and generous financial support of the fraternity brothers from years gone by that resulted in the restoration of the chapter. The coming together of the brothers, from years ago and today’s students, was a joyous occasion for all involved as the fraternities and sororities of D&E officially welcomed home one of our own. Once again, I found myself humming the familiar tune.
Davis & Elkins College athletics have many fabled teams and moments of national prominence. High on that list is men’s soccer. Not one but two national titles came back to Elkins in the early 1970s, and the sport has witnessed incredible success and produced many noteworthy players. This year, the spotlight has again focused on this sport as the team climbed as high as No. 2 in the NCAA Division II national rankings. Just this weekend, the Mountain East Conference regular season title was captured by the Senators with their record of 16-0-2. Now the team goes on to the Conference Tournament and hopefully beyond. If you walk down to Nuttall Field, you just might hear the faint tune of “Everything old is new again.”
Later this week I have the privilege of attending “Eurydice” in Harper-McNeeley Auditorium as live stage returns to D&E after a lengthy COVID absence. The story from Greek Mythology will continue the long tradition of exceptional theater on our campus. The very likes of legendary professors Claire Fiorentino and Terry Hayes are no doubt smiling down on our campus as the curtain goes up once again. The humming of the Peter Allen musical refrain is never far away.
These four examples are only a few of many more that demonstrate the vibrancy of campus life, the continuation of the tradition of transformative education, and the very reason why being a part of the D&E community is a blessing.
The journey continues….
Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College