Spring has arrived, albeit in stops and starts, even in Elkins! After the cold and snow of winter in the West Virginia mountains, God’s gift of new life is re-emerging all around us. That is certainly true on the campus of Davis & Elkins College.

April 21 was “Beautification Day” at D&E.  Many students, faculty, and staff got their hands dirty in the campus soil to plant flowers, weed, rake, mulch, and generally spruce up these grounds.  This particular day engages the campus community to celebrate and enhance the natural beauty surrounding us.

It was a wonderful sight to see the campus alive with volunteers preparing the grounds for spring, graduation activities, summer camps, and more.  The beauty of the D&E campus is undeniable from the moment one’s feet step onto the grounds.  The visual feast is evident from the majestic mountains ringing the town, the campus’ rolling wooded terrain, and the historic buildings adorning lawns and hillsides.  When the trees and bushes are in bloom, and the flowers are added across campus, a leisurely stroll shows that this is indeed a blessed place.

Christian Hershey is our new Facilities Director on campus.  He recently sent out a campus-wide email to thank all the volunteers for Beautification Day.  He wrote: “Volunteerism has a rich history in America dating back to before the founding of this Nation. It is rooted in the very nature of civic duty and in that, intimately connected with the mission and experience of a Liberal Arts education… I have worked at two other college campuses in the role I now occupy here, and I can say honestly that I have never experienced the level of involvement I experienced at D&E’s Beautification Day. Not only did we have nearly 100 people involved, but I was impressed by the enthusiasm and hard work of all who gave of themselves toward this event…It really is a testimony of the uniqueness, spirit, and shared vision of our school.”

A place rich in natural beauty is conducive to an environment of learning, contemplation, and transformation.  Davis & Elkins College offers the opportunity to experience beauty in so many ways.  I have witnessed beauty as intellectual horizons expand in our classrooms.  I have seen beauty in the creative expressions of students in our art studio, theater stage, and singing God’s praises through our Concert Choir.  Our student-athletes have made beautiful plays on the athletic field and been equally beautiful in their community service to the people of Elkins.  I have witnessed the beauty of our international students sharing the cultures of their home countries with Elkins Middle School students.  In the gifts of millions of dollars offered by alumni and friends of D&E to sustain the transformative education of this College, I see beauty in the sacrificial giving of gifts for others.  Beauty abounds on this campus and at this College.

With thanksgiving, I reflect upon Beautification Day and, with equal gratitude, celebrate all the beauty that surrounds us daily.

The journey continues….

Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College