The heartbeat of Davis & Elkins College is our faculty. Building upon a long tradition of distinguished scholars, today’s faculty includes seasoned professors and young Ph.D.s with some in-between. The mix has produced a dynamic cadre of experts in their field dedicated to the art of teaching.
One of the first D&E faculty I met was Dr. Brian Moudry, professor of mathematics and division chair of mathematics and natural science. Upon initially meeting him nearly seven years ago, I told my spouse that if Dr. Moudry is representative of the D&E faculty, this is a gem of a college. Today I know he is representative of his colleagues, and this is an institution that transforms lives.
Brian was born in the Baltimore suburbs to a blue-collar working-class family. Neither of his parents were high school graduates, but they encouraged young Brian to work hard and stay focused in school. A good student, he found himself enrolled in Loyola College in Maryland pursuing a physics degree. He remembers the genuine interest and nurture of his professors who became educational mentors to a first-generation college student. They inspired him to believe in himself, and that led to a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Nebraska.
Arriving at Davis & Elkins College in 1995 with a new title of “Dr.” before his name, he was surprised at how much he loved teaching at a small liberal arts college. With great enthusiasm and passion, Dr. Moudry began interacting, mentoring and molding students in those early days just as he continues to do today.
Now one of the senior faculty members at D&E, Dr. Moudry keeps in touch with many of his former students. With a smile he remembers a particular student who attended her very first day of a physics class. When the class participants were asked to share their feelings and expectations for the class, one young lady raised her hand and said, “Please don’t make me cry.” Uncharacteristically, Professor Moudry was speechless. She went on to explain that she was worried physics would be too hard, pull down her grade point average, and send her into an academic tailspin. This student excelled in the class because she put her faith and trust in her professor and discovered strength in herself … she didn’t realize she possessed. That young student today has a Ph.D. and is making a difference in the lives of others.
I asked Dr. Moudry if there was advice to impart to his students. The wisdom he offered was to be ferocious in your curiosity. “Don’t ever give up, work hard, ask questions, realize your professors are people too, and that if we work hard together, we are bound to succeed.”
At the top of the list of blessings in Brian’s life journey is his spouse, Lisa, and their daughter, Olivia. Honesty requires that I include his Indian motorcycle on the “love” list as well. Looking back on his D&E journey, Brian gets the final words: “I have made so many amazing friends and have built a wonderful life with a wonderful family here. I couldn’t imagine how it could have been better.”
The journey continues….
Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College