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Nuttall a driving force for D&E

The gravel path leads past a boulder with a bronze plaque affixed. It is not difficult to walk right by and overlook the engraved words of dedication for the athletic field on the campus of Davis & Elkins College. However, the sentiment expressed, and the individual honored deserves this tribute and our gratitude.

William “Bill” Nuttall arrived at D&E in the fall of 1968 as a transfer student. An outstanding soccer goalie, he was recruited by Coach Greg Myers. During his five semesters at the College, he helped lead the Senators to not one, but two NAIA national championships in soccer. Not only did Bill graduate from D&E in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree and two national championships, most importantly he met a young co-ed named Beth Mitchell and was smart enough to marry her and live happily ever after. Bill went on to play professional soccer, work as a television and radio soccer color analyst, and a sports marketing executive. He is a resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Bill was the driving force in the alumni fundraising effort to upgrade the soccer field, that is now also used for lacrosse, with drainage, turf and lights. Today it is a facility that is a source of pride for the College. Rightly, it bears his name and secures his legacy on this campus.

I first met Bill on a phone call. In the spring of 2016 when I was a candidate for the presidency of D&E, Bill and I talked several times as he headed the search committee for the new president. I was struck by Bill’s friendliness, genuineness, and passion for Davis & Elkins College. He played a significant role in igniting my desire to serve as the 15th president of the College.

As a member of the College’s Board of Trustees since 2011, Bill has served with distinction as the chair of the Board since 2018. Because of mandatory term limits on the Board, Bill’s time as chair recently concluded.

As I thought about Bill, and my desire to pen this narrative in his honor, I took a walk across the beautiful D&E campus. I arrived at our athletic fields, usually bustling with activity at this time of the year, but eerily quiet in these days of a health pandemic. I walked that gravel path and paused at the bronze plaque dedicated in 2013 that reads in part: “Nuttall Field – With support from soccer alumni and friends of the College, this all-season soccer-lacrosse field was made possible largely by alumnus and trustee William W. “Bill” Nuttall III and two anonymous donors who wish to honor him as the principal benefactor of Senator soccer over many years.”

The relationship between the chair of the Board of Trustees and a College president is a crucial one. These two individuals need a shared vision, mutual respect, excellent communication and an abiding love for the institution.

I am grateful to Bill for serving this role with distinction, passion and humility. He has been, and continues to be, a blessing to me and to the Davis & Elkins College community.

The journey continues….

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