Situated on a Davis & Elkins College hillside overlooking the Myles Plaza and Lake Tolstead stands a construction site that symbolizes hope for a bright future. While other higher education institutions struggle for survival, D&E is literally building for the future, and doing so with determination and contagious optimism. Every alumnus that shares with me his or her transformative educational experience that occurred on the hallowed grounds of this campus reinforces the necessity of us remaining strong and vital for the next generation of students.
An African proverb states: “It takes a village to raise a child.” At Davis & Elkins College, it takes a village to house our freshman class…specifically, a Freshman Village. We are gratified to share that construction of our new Freshman Village is well underway and our first new residence hall in 53 years is going vertical. The project is on schedule, and we are hopeful it will remain that way. If we are fortunate to have a mild winter, new students arriving next August will move into a brand-new residence hall and call it home. Upon completion of this new building, renovations will begin on Gribble and Roxanna Booth Halls. These three buildings will serve as the Freshmen Village at Davis & Elkins College.
To maintain the College’s strong financial position, we are conducting a capital campaign to fund this project. It is my pleasure to report that over the past 15 months commitments to the “Creating Home: It Take a Village” campaign have surpassed 80% of our $25 million goal. Our generous donors recognize the critical need to construct new residence space and renovate existing buildings. To remain competitive in an increasingly difficult student recruiting market, our residence facilities must not be an impediment to those who seek the outstanding academic and co-curricular experience that is the hallmark of a collegiate education at Davis & Elkins College.
While all gifts to this campaign are appreciated, one stands out as especially meaningful. As a result of the leadership of the Student Government Association, D&E students pledged a significant gift toward the Freshmen Village. Though our present students will never live in this new space for first-year students, they have chosen to invest their dollars to ensure a bright future for their soon-to-be alma mater. Our students are demonstrating leadership and philanthropy that gives me confidence in their generation as they prepare to envision, lead, and govern. Today’s students are also enduring the inevitable disruptions and noise of construction on a confined campus with understanding, patience, and grace.
With a grateful heart, I can confirm that the naming rights for our new building have been secured from an extremely generous alumni donor. This alumnus will add her family name to the many familiar names on campus buildings whose legacies endure throughout the generations of D&E Senators. The name of our new residence hall will be announced soon.
The old African proverb continues to ring true today. It does take a village, and the glorious sounds of construction serve as a reminder that our Freshmen Village is rapidly moving forward to completion.
The journey continues….
Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College