Party to celebrate campaign conclusion

For the past two years I have been inviting people to a party. The date is June 30, 2018. The place is Davis & Elkins College. The occasion is the conclusion of a 10-year effort called Secure the Future. Now, with just over two weeks to go, the plans for the party are well underway and I hope you will accept our invitation!

The goal of raising $100 million is a daunting one for a small college in a rural location in the West Virginia mountains. The campaign was birthed through the vision of former President (now President Emeritus) “Buck” Smith. “Buck” had the audacity and foresight to put the college’s financial house back in order, and believe in the alumni and friends of Davis & Elkins College to secure the future of the institution. Along the way, when the campaign had reached about the $50 million mark, D&E Trustee James McDonnell agreed to an incredibly generous matching gift. If the college would raise an additional $25 million, Jim would match every one of those $25 million dollar-for-dollar. In 2015, the McDonnell Challenge was launched and the deadline of June 30, 2018, was imposed to complete the challenge and the campaign.

As I write this edition of my “Reflecting Along the Journey” column, I am literally journeying to city after city and state after state to secure the final gifts in this monumental effort. The once seemingly impossible goal is now in our sight. Literally thousands of donors — nearly 6,000 in fact — have made gifts of all sizes and types. Gifts from $25 to $25 million have been graciously given. Gifts of cash, stock and property have been donated, and deferred gifts from pledges and estates have been made. The momentum that has been generated has resulted from the commitment and passion of each and every donor who believes in the mission of Davis & Elkins and the transformative education offered to students.

Almost daily I hear from donors. Their stories are varied, but all of them describe their reasons for gifting to the college. Without fail, they describe the joy of giving back to this unique college that has given so much to so many.

In addition to issuing an invitation to the party, the other message I have been delivering is that now is the time! Anyone who loves D&E, anyone whose life was molded by the educational experience of this college, anyone who appreciates the influence upon the quality of life in Randolph County that results from this institution of higher education, now is the time to provide your gift to this milestone effort. Knowing that your donation is matched dollar-for-dollar, and that you are literally securing the future of this college for generations of students to come, please consider the contribution you might make before June 30.

Join us for the party on June 30. We have about a hundred million reasons to be thankful!