“I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.” With gratitude to those stirring words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and in honor of St. Valentine’s special upcoming day, this week’s “Reflecting Along the Journey” column is dedicated to all the Davis & Elkins College sweethearts.
Over the 117-year history of this College, countless students have discovered their soulmates on these hallowed grounds, and it continues today. There is a beaucoup of material available to write about D&E “happily-ever-after” endings. Space and time allow only one marvelous example to represent all the other love stories compliments of their alma mater.
Sandy Moore began her collegiate career as a D&E Senator in 1959. A physical education and biology major from Pennsylvania, she took an art class and immediately caught the eye of a fellow student named Len Rudnick, an elementary education major from Brooklyn, New York. For Len, it was love at first sight. When he asked Sandy out, she thought he was kidding. After he showed up two hours late, when she had given back the dress she borrowed for the date, Sandy indicated she was “… not too sure about him.” Their first date was a drive to Parsons where they went to a shop with a soda fountain. Len borrowed a convertible from a friend and put the top down to impress his date. Unfortunately, when it began snowing, he was unable to figure out how to put the top back up.
When a relationship begins this way, there was no way to go but up. That was precisely the direction they chose. In 1962, during their senior year, these D&E lovebirds eloped. Now married 58 years, retired, and living in Tucson, Arizona, Len and Sandy thank Davis & Elkins College for a superb education and a lifetime of love. Sandy’s career was in both education and social work. Len began teaching children with disabilities, but later returned to school and became a chiropractor. He became a pioneer in research and clinical applications of low intensity laser therapy for treatment of chronic pain.
Yet another benefit of the Rudnicks’ D&E romance was the matriculation of their granddaughter, Caitlin Cole, to Davis & Elkins where she triple majored in Child and Family Studies, Criminal Justice and Education. Graduating in 2019, Caity is now a children’s social worker in Mesa, Arizona.
Multiply Len and Sandy’s story by thousands of other D&E couples and the result is a grand love story beginning at a small college in the mountains of Randolph County. The legion of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that have resulted from love first experienced on this campus is a testament to the long-lasting impact of D&E.
New students coming to Davis & Elkins College would be wise to look around very carefully at their freshman orientation. They might just spot a person who is love at first sight, and who may bring unspeakable fulfillment and purpose to their life. Just a word of advice, however. If they borrow a convertible for a first date, make sure to know how the top works. Happy Valentine’s Day!
The journey continues….
Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College