Investment in youth

“Residential” is one of several adjectives frequently used to describe the student experience at Davis & Elkins College. It generally accompanies private, liberal arts, and church- related. While using the term residential is accurate, as nearly 80 percent of our student body lives on campus, there is a growing number of students who are commuters. Most are residents of Randolph or one of the contiguous counties. While D&E has always attracted some local students, the numbers are growing.

Without a doubt, a significant factor contributing to this growth is the introduction of the Highlands Scholarship in 2009. The brainchild of President Emeritus ‘Buck’ Smith, this significant scholarship began specifically for students in Randolph or one of the seven contiguous counties. Later it expanded to all 55 West Virginia counties, though the amount of the scholarship remains higher for our local area.

The Highlands Scholarship is a multi-million dollar investment in the young people of this region. The net result of the Highlands Scholarship is that a private college education at D&E is comparable in price to a public education at one of West Virginia’s tax-supported colleges and universities. For the student looking for a high quality education with a more personalized experience in a highly nurturing environment, Davis & Elkins is a great affordable choice. The growing number of local students supports this fact.

The Highlands Scholarship is one of the opportunities we are stressing this year for those considering a financial gift to the College. Underwriting this scholarship to deserving local young men and women is a wise investment in each of them and the future contribution they will make to this region.

With growing numbers of commuters, we have recently undertaken a few projects on campus to improve their time at D&E. We recently added a sidewalk and paved a small connector between the main entrance road and the commuter parking lot. The connector enables cars to turn into the commuter lot below Booth Library without circling around the campus. We have also renovated the commuter lounge located in Eshleman Science Center to provide a comfortable space for commuter students to study and decompress. Additionally, we have recently opened a Veterans Lounge in Madden Student Center for our veterans and their dependents, many of whom are commuters.

While D&E remains focused upon the traditional collegiate residential experience that has impacted so many of our alumni over the decades, we recognize the opportunity and contribution our local students make to the campus community. We celebrate the gifts they bring, and recognize their transformative D&E education is going to make a real difference within the local communities where they will live and work in the coming decades. A very high percentage of these students will likely return to their West Virginia communities, and thus we know an investment in the Highlands Scholarship is a direct investment in the future of West Virginia.

For all of us who are fortunate enough to spend time on the sacred grounds of Davis & Elkins, whether we come from Randolph County or the other side of the globe, our life’s journeys are enriched by our surroundings, our experiences and the people we encounter.

The journey continues….