Who doesn’t love ‘granny?’

Who doesn’t love granny? Some of us are fortunate enough to have biological grandmothers to influence our lives. Many others have been blessed with mature women who have assumed the role of a nurturing influence at various stages of their lives. These “adopted” grannies enrich our lives and remind us of the power of relationships and kindness.

For a few hundred Davis & Elkins College students, along with faculty and staff, our adopted “Granny” is beloved. Her name is Pat Nestor, but on campus she is simply known as Granny. Her D&E nametag even reads “Granny.” Since confession is good for the soul, I didn’t know her given name for the first few months of my tenure at D&E. She just was … and is … Granny. D&E is doubly blessed to have an equally beloved wonderful lady named Adeline Paugh who is another “granny-type.”

Granny works in dining services and she is the smiling face who greets students as they enter the dining room to swipe their ID card for meals. While her job description is to ensure anyone entering the dining room has paid for their meal, her true job is to be granny to our students. Like the old TV show “Cheers” where “everybody knows your name,” Granny knows all our students. Beyond their names, she inquires about their classes, health, athletic or art events, and life in general. Day in and day out, she interacts with them not just as students, but as young men and women who matter to her … like a grandmother with a grandchild.

Imagine being an 18-year-old moving away from home and arriving in an environment vastly different from anything you have previously experienced or that is familiar. Whether from somewhere in West Virginia, another state or another country, the transition to college is often difficult. Now imagine the blessing and security of seeing “your Granny” daily at a mealtime. Pat (and Adeline) are our best assets to assist our students transition to college and then nurturing them to graduation.

Having a few minutes between other events on a recent busy Saturday, I dropped by our men’s basketball game at The McDonnell Center. Sliding in on the bleachers behind our team, I sat beside Granny. She is often in attendance at games to root on the Senators. As we watched the teams and chatted, she knew all the players. When one of the players sank a beautiful three-point shot, she cheered and said he promised her he would make a three-pointer for her. In that moment, I realized the power of the relationships Granny has formed. Those relationships must not be underestimated!

At Davis & Elkins College, students are not an ID number. Our students are not a statistic nor a positive addition to a financial balance sheet. Students are the reason for our existence, the core of our mission, and the source of our pride. We cheer for all their accomplishments, whether in the classroom or on the court, and we believe in their potential to enhance our society and world. The result is a transformative educational experience … and a beautiful three-pointer for Granny.

The journey continues….