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Moving forward, spinning backward

A colleague recently said we need to keep moving forward even while the world is spinning backward. Her words are wise and thought-provoking for all of us in this time of fear and uncertainty. As I think about this sage advice, we need to stay focused on the mission and goals that bring meaning to our lives and work even when outside forces, at least for a brief time, divert our attention.

For Davis & Elkins College, as our students are continuing their education online and our faculty and staff continue to do their work from home, we are still all about our mission of “… preparing and inspiring students for success and for thoughtful engagement in the world.” The importance of transforming lives of students, albeit safely in the time of COVID-19, does not diminish. The exciting plans for the future of our beloved D&E must continue to progress even as we deal with a temporary new reality.

Momentum is critical for all organizations, and this is certainly true for a college. Over the past two weeks as the College’s leadership has responded to the pandemic threat to our country and world, amazing things have occurred that speak to momentum for a small college in Randolph County that will keep us moving forward when the world is spinning backward.

First, in a matter of days, our dedicated faculty rolled up their proverbial sleeves and accomplished the seemingly impossible. Namely, they moved their classroom-based instruction online. They did it with a can-do attitude, creativity, and an unshakable belief that our students and their education come first and must not be interrupted.

Second, our students registered for fall 2020 classes before leaving campus. More students registered for next fall than we had register for classes at this time in the fall of 2019. Students spoke loudly and in one voice to say this disruption is temporary and they are prepared and excited to return to campus, as soon as it is safe to do so, because they are proud D&E Senators.

Third, prospective students are continuing to reserve their spots in the entering fall 2020 class despite an unprecedented national health emergency. We rejoice with each new student commitment because we know their lives will be enriched and transformed by their experience here. We continue to move forward while the world is spinning backward.

Fourth, our student government leaders, as they were leaving campus, made a truly magnanimous gift. From the fees students pay to provide activities throughout the year and support students organizations, they transferred their remaining funds to the College in recognition of the financial impact this virus is creating. They made clear we are all in this together.

Finally, to date 114 of our faculty and staff have stepped forward with voluntary payroll deductions to support the College’s general fund. Like our students, they have spoken loudly and clearly of their love for D&E and their commitment that our mission is too important to lose momentum from this temporary setback.

COVID-19 will eventually pass. Transforming lives at Davis & Elkins College will continue!

The journey continues…

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