Fading of glorious summer

When I began writing this column in the fall of 2016, I shared the phrase my father would always use to close his frequent correspondence to me. His parting words were always “… the journey continues.” At that time, as I contemplated a title for this new adventure in weekly communication with D&E alumni and friends, my dad’s wisdom seemed appropriate … for then and still today.

Having been on a summer hiatus from my “Journey” column, a new academic year calls for the resumption of this weekly labor of love, and renewed reflection on this precious journey each of us are blessed to experience.

On both a personal and professional level, the journey has been exhilarating over the past few weeks. Since my last column, June ended with a grand celebration at Davis & Elkins College as we completed the Secure the Future campaign. With all the gifts counted, we had 101,420,304 reasons to be thankful!

June 30, the culmination of the campaign, was quite the day for all who love D&E. Following that celebration, Lisa and I had the opportunity to unplug for a few days of vacation. Sabbath is God’s plan, and it does all of us good to refresh, reflect and recharge our bodies, minds and spirits. Sand between the toes, the smell of salt in the air and the sound of the waves is the salve that I crave when the stress of life becomes a burden.

On campus, the summer months brought numerous groups to the College including the American Legion Auxiliary Rhododendron Girls State and the 45th year of the Augusta Heritage Center’s programs. By mid-August, we were preparing for the arrival of our entering class of students from 28 states, 16 countries and six continents, and the return of our upperclassmen. The return of our students energizes the campus and brings back the familiar routines we have come to love.

As a glorious summer fades, the approaching fall brings both new and familiar opportunities to our life journeys. In Elkins, we await the palate of color soon to be painted on our beloved West Virginia mountains. Academic offerings and student activities overtake the campus, Senator Nation returns to the athletic fields and courts, D&E’s Homecoming and the Mountain State Forest Festival are on the horizon, and admission counselors hit the road to recruit the next group of D&E Senators. Our collective journey continues as a college that for the past 114 years has provided a high-quality educational experience that has molded and transformed students into leaders.

Lisa and I are pleased and honored to be on this journey with the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Davis & Elkins College. As I begin my third year as president, I remain energized and confident that the solid foundation provided from our past makes a bright future inevitable for our beloved college nestled among the mountains. Our recently completed capital campaign demonstrated, in vivid fashion, the deep love and admiration that so many have for this blessed institution. Working together, we can and shall lead the way to a college that models distinction and excellence.

The journey continues….

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