As these words are penned, I find myself in a reflective mood. The warm glow still lingering from our national holiday of thanks, we now enter the liturgical season of Advent to prepare our hearts and lives for the birth of the Christ child anew. Giving thanks and anticipating God’s greatest gift truly go hand-in-hand.

There is a hillside on our campus that elicits my thanksgiving. Frequently, I stop and stare with an attitude of gratitude as for the first time in 53 years a new residence hall is being constructed. With work now underway on the third story, the building is easily visible to the onlooker from below. On this site, literally and figuratively, we are building for the future. Like the other recent construction projects on campus, including the expansion of the Myles Center for the Arts, the Citizen’s Bank of West Virginia Amphitheater, and the Davis Trust Company Player and Press Pavilion, each one results in improvements to our campus and an improved student experience.

Recently we announced Glory was the chosen name of our new residence hall. The naming rights belong to our 1974 alumnae Kathy (Dunbar) Ramsdell whose generous $5 million gift to our Creating Home Capital Campaign has pushed us past the 80% mark in our goal of raising $25 million for the new Freshman Village at Davis & Elkins College. Meeting with Kathy over the past several months, we initially discussed naming the building Dunbar Hall to honor her family name, and specifically her father who founded the Dunbar Armored Company. Ultimately, after much prayer and consultation with her daughters, Kathy decided that she was led to pay homage to the life-changing experience that was at the center of her time as a student at Davis & Elkins College.

At D&E, Kathy’s life was forever changed and molded by the beginning of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That relationship began on this campus and has been nurtured and matured ever since. Kathy chose this name to glorify God and serve as a daily reminder of all life’s blessings to every student that will call this building home.

During the past year I have been traveling throughout the country meeting with alumni and friends of D&E garnering support for our Creating Home Campaign. I think of all the discussions with the men and women I met during this time that have shared their gratitude and devotion for their transformative educational experiences at a small college in the mountains of Randolph County. On these sacred grounds, youth became adults, vocations were discovered, and meaningful lives were launched.

In this time of Thanksgiving and this season of Advent, Kathy Ramsdell and each of these other gracious donors remind us that Davis & Elkins College is a blessed place. Here, we have been showered with God’s blessings for generations, and continue to be to this day. Our journeys share a time when this soil was home. How grateful I am that those who have been blessed are choosing to be a blessing to others so that this soil will continue to be home for generations of D&E Senators to come.

With an attitude of gratitude, the journey continues….


Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College