All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘The Davidson Trust’
Okay, I made my Annual Fund gift early, to help meet the current five-day, $300,000 challenge. Sometimes I dilly-dally until June 30 just to see my collegial friends the fundraisers sweat (they’re even more highstrung than I am, come June), but since we have our division retreat tomorrow, I figured it could behoove me to play nice and give early and, what the heck, give the ol’ fundraising horn a toot to boot.
I’ll keep to myself the exact breakdown of my quite modest gift (“It’s about participation!” R Me), except to admit I parceled a bit to the unrestricted fund, which I think pays my salary, and then to say that I designated the lion’s share to The Davidson Trust. I know these kids. I love these kids. I see every day how the Trust benefits them, benefits all Davidson students from every background, and thus benefits this school we all love, have loved, or will love, from oldest alumnus to the undecided prospect who will be here Friday for Decision Davidson.
After four years as a student and nearly 12 as a staffer, I can tell you Davidson is the same in all the important ways and changing fast in all the important ways. Nobody knows exactly what that will mean tomorrow, but what a great base of operations and touchstone for us all.
I got to work late to start the week off on a cold and rainy Monday morning, in a loaner car and a bad mood, looking forward to lunch and not much else. Grrr, I was like.
So thank the gods for this particular Monday morning’s special staff-meeting guest speaker, President Carol Quillen. Carol Quillen is flat-out inspiring on the podium, as down-to-earth as a favorite professor while soaring skyward to eagle-eye the big picture of higher education passions and insights that brought her to us in the first place. All that to say: You can feel this woman think. By the end of the hour, I was like, “Thanks, I needed that!”
Carol, who can by wry, somewhat facetiously described her job as “talking to really smart people and repeating what they say to other really smart people.” That small comment got a big laugh from the assembled, a smart crowd of fundraisers and communicators. Then she talked specifically and with conviction about how Davidson is superbly, even uniquely, positioned in 2013 for “reimagining the liberal arts,” so that we can continue to ensure an “unsurpassed, transformational education” to Davidson students. She talked about a currently trending umbrella concept on this campus, “transition to impact,” a term encompassing internships and entrepreneurship and career services programming and post-graduate fellowships and community-based learning and more initiatives still emerging. And in the meantime, for anyone who doubts how highly the market values a solid liberal arts education, feast your peepers on this report about where members of the class of 2012 currently find themselves.
She talked about March Madness (of course!) and the college’s firm commitment to its 21 Division I men’s and women’s athletic teams as a(nother) unique Davidson calling card among liberal arts colleges and as an integrated part of the Davidson experience for all our nearly 2,000 students. “There’s one door into Davidson,” she said, and “Our student-athletes go to class the day after the big game,” and “People who compete at the highest levels of athletics gain skills you can’t get anywhere else.”
She paired Davidson’s longstanding and continuously emerging reputation for excellence—academic, athletic, and otherwise—with the college’s paramount intention of access for all, as embodied in The Davidson Trust. The Davidson Trust is the college’s commitment to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students without the necessity for loans.
She cited David Leonhardt’s current New York Times piece, Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor.
“That’s tragic,” she said. “We can’t have a society where the primary predictor of a young person’s chance at education is the income or inheritance of their parents…. The Davidson Trust makes equal opportunity real.
“Our value proposition is not that we are cheap,” she continued, and I nearly snorted coffee out my nose. Right she is, I thought, and let’s call things by their name. Not cheap and worth it.
Higher education is becoming ever more “highly differentiated,” she noted. That’s great, she said, and all the more important, then, to define exactly what a Davidson education means, and can mean.
“Our curriculum is based on students doing things, on professors asking questions for which nobody knows the answers yet,” she said. “Our faculty is always going to be overwhelmingly tenured and tenure-track and part of the community.”
Aaaannd we’re back to “not cheap.” Also not scalable, she noted, but a one-student, one-family at a time proposition. That’s how we learn and how we live, at Davidson. You can’t do that online. And we are figuring out the enormous challenge of steady funding for The Davidson Trust and we shall continue to do so, she said with no small emphasis. If Carol Quillen were the type to put her hands on her hips and stare down educational injustice with a big ol’ schoolmarm stinkeye, she would have done so here. As it is, she’s lighter than that and more forward- and upward-looking, especially as regards standing behind The Davidson Trust. So she looked around the room and declared to us, clearly with the highest personal, professional and institutional conviction, “I don’t think it’s a choice. It’s an ethical obligation…. We believe we can do it, because we believe we can do anything.”
And having spent a good portion of the rest of the rainy Monday on campus among Davidson students, I believe it, too.
Thanks, Carol, and colleagues, and students, I needed that.
For more on what Davidson students are up to right this red-hot minute, check out the campus calendar.
In addition to March Madness, two of this week’s top opps to see Davidson students live in their natural habitat:
• Guys and Dolls opens Wednesday! Need I say more?
• A Beekeeping Summit open to the community from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 20 in the C.Shaw Smith 900 Room of the Alvarez College Union. Free samples!
And coming soon [drum roll please]:
• Dinner at Davidson, the student-run benefit dinner for The Davidson Trust, Saturday, April 6. Mark your calendar and come speak up close and personal with some sharp young Davidson College students. It’ll make you feel hopeful about the future.
At first glance, Davidson College, a leafy, suburban liberal arts campus outside of Charlotte, N.C. isn’t much different than its contemporaries elsewhere in the country: Between classes, students laze under trees in Adirondack chairs with open books and crisscross the quad in loud gaggles, waving to people they recognize.
Stately 19th century buildings, relics of the college’s 1837 beginning, sit side by side with newer additions, like the multi-million dollar, newly renovated student union. But talking to students about their experience at the college exposes the Davidson difference: The students’ sentences are punctuated with words like “thankful,” “blessed,” “lucky,” and “relieved.”
Visit the links below to watch the video or read the companion article.
“Dinner at Davidson” Shindig Set for Feb. 19: Students Will Show and Tell What The Davidson Trust Means to Them
As an onetime newspaper reporter, I still get a deadline charge out of writing hard news copy that feels especially urgent, as well as important. Two days ago, I was able to get in touch with Joseph Stills, class of ’12, within hours of his safe return from Alexandria, Egypt to the U.S. Within another hour, I had posted pictures and a just-the-facts story of his being evacuated from Egypt as the tide of violence rose around him. Wow. (Scroll down for that story.)
Another story that’s both urgent and important right now in the life of the college is sustaining The Davidson Trust. That’s the college’s historic financial aid commitment to meet 100% of demonstrated need of accepted students through a combination of grants and campus employment, with no loans.
Today’s seniors were rising freshmen when Davidson announced this initiative, the first of its kind among four-year colleges in the nation. Some other schools followed Davidson’s lead, and some of them have since had to let go of their commitment in the face of current economic crises.
Davidson is holding fast. And this month, it is the students themselves who are rallying to support the commitment, by designating February The Davidson Trust Awareness Month.
Since I know many of these young men and women personally through my work and our campus friendships, it makes me proud and happy for them, and for this school we share, that they “get” it: The Davidson Trust benefits all of Davidson’s 1,900 students, not just the ones who receive scholarship money. It also benefits the college’s 800+ staff and faculty employees. It benefits the spirit of the place.
On Saturday, February 19, the Student Government Association will host the second annual Dinner at Davidson event in the Lilly Family Gallery in the Chambers Building from 6 to 9 p.m., to benefit The Davidson Trust. The public is invited!
The theme of this year’s event is “Shaping Community Leaders.” Highlights include dinner, dancing, musical entertainment and a silent auction. Alongside many notable items for bid, my newsroom colleague Bill Giduz and I are offering a 1,000-word profile essay with professional portrait photography on a community member of the winning bidder’s choice. That profile will be published on the very screen before you now.
At the Dinner at Davidson party on Feb. 19, President John Kuykendall ’59 (himself a scholarship student), Town of Davidson Mayor John Woods, and students who support and appreciate The Davidson Trust will share their perspectives. Attendees will enjoy a seated, gourmet meal created by the student-run cooking club PS. Musical entertainment will be provided by student a capella groups and the Davidson Jazz Band. In addition, there will be an original poetry recitation highlighting the role of The Davidson Trust in Davidson students’ lives.
I can personally vouch for all these individuals and student groups as being worthy contributors to a fun, lively evening of food, fun and fellowship for an eminently worthy cause. See you there!
All proceeds will benefit The Davidson Trust. Tickets are $15 each, or $25 for two. They are available for purchase online, by calling (704) 894-2135, or by visiting the Davidson College Ticket Office in the Alvarez College Union.
[Correction: The student-led Dinner at Davidson fundraiser for The Davidson Trust is not "later this month" as I erred in noting below. It's February 19. I was writing in print-edit mode, see, only this is blog-edit mode content, and since it's the end of January, which is almost February, see.... etc. Thanks to College Communications Fact Checker Extraordinaire Anna Prushinski! And we'll have more soon on Dinner at Davidson!]
Where else in the world than Davidson College do you think jocks read The Economist alongside classics professors who subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated? Yes, Davidson is a veritable 21st-century cauldron of the latter-day liberal arts, a modern mashup of intellectual ideas and artistic expressions old and new evolving alongside one another in a complicated world. It is a fun place to try to keep up, even if sometimes it just wears me out. (Most fun does, done right, right?)
I spotted The Economist in the locker room after my habitual lunchtime spin on the bike to nowhere in the fitness center. The NASCAR Illustrated came to me when I bumped in to W.H. Grey Professor of Classics and Professor of History Peter Krentz, on his way back to his office from the union P.O. “I’ve already read this one,” he intoned, as he handed me his subscription copy of NI. So not only does he subscribe, he reads it before it even gets here. Wow. He’s even smarter than I thought. Krentz, author of 2010’s, The Battle of Marathon, teaches a first-year writing course on NASCAR. I wish he’d taught it my freshman year. Maybe it would help with the keyboard whiplash we get around here writing about all the campus calendar activity this time of year, not to mention alumni alerts about our alert alumni. Selling seashells. Anyway. Herewith, a few recent news bites:
• Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx ’93 was on Newshour with Jim Lehrer last week to discuss his meeting with President Obama and the economic outlook for the country from a mayor’s prospective, at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington.
• John Swanson ’77 was on campus recently and reports that he has a son who will be appearing on this Friday’s broadcast of Wheel of Fortune.
• “Davidson College” is a “most loved school.” I can’t tell you any more, but you could Google it if you wanted to.
• The Davidson College Chorale transported a full Lilly Family Gallery to Prague, Salzburg and Vienna earlier this week, as they shared excerpts from their winter break tour with faculty, staff and students gathered at Common Hour. Conductor Ray Sprague gave just the right touch of cultural context past and present, then let the students sing for themselves. At a certain point, a tear glistened upon my curmudgeonly cheek. Yeah, they’re that good. Check out the tour program; the highlighted parts are what we were fortunate to hear this week on campus.
I love this time of the school year. First, an annual division retreat, which I always dread and which I always enjoy, plugs us in to the big picture: a Q&A with the president, a panel with four trustees, a look at the evolving physical plant of the campus and at the college’s careful ledger sheets. Seeing everyone in College Relations—communications, alumni, development, WDAV—gathered in the C. Shaw Smith 900 Room reminds me of the strong hearts and minds of the people I’m grateful to work with. And that’s a good thing, for we’ve got some work to do! Front and center at the retreat were the Strategic Plan and the Campus Master Plan, capped by Davidson’s crowning, continuing commitment to fulfilling the promise of The Davidson Trust. Yes, yes, a lot of work, I mused. Then, looking out the doors of the 900 Room across the purgatory of wailing and gnashing angst that was exam week in the Union Café, I felt positively blessed to be able to serve the higher purpose of claiming souls for the liberal arts mission. Heh. Life is good.
A week later, we graduated 427 of the aforementioned souls on Chambers Lawn, under somewhat sketchy skies. Good call, Mr. Prez & Cie: A teeny bit stifling with the heat and humidity, but a festive time was had by all, except one lady who frowed up a little bit. I wet my head usher’s bandanna with ice water and gave it to her. “Keep it,” I said. But the rain itself held off until after 2 p.m., after the last barbecue and banana pudding had been served at a picnic buffet for families that some guys down at senior apartments put on. I rated a plate on account of being host uncle for four years to Christoph Pross ’10, who was off to the British Virgin Islands rather immediately and then off to the London School of Economics in the fall. Life is good.
Finally, last Friday, summer officially arrived in the popular mind of faculty and staff, as we kicked off the long Memorial Day weekend with the traditional year-end tail light party—er, celebration of another academic year well done. Time was, this confab was a big picnic feast on Chambers Lawn, on the very spot where the seniors just graduated. But now times is tight, so instead of the big picnic we have a hearty selection of breakfast goodies by Much Ado campus catering and meet in Duke Family Performance Hall to celebrate the strong minds and good hearts and hard work of another year in the life of the college. This makes 173 of them, almost our terquasquicentennial! We say job well done and bid the happiest of trails to retiring faculty and staff. And we win door prizes. Life is good.
Onward anon to the overstuffed alumni mailbag, next Daybook.
Elizabeth Burkholder ’07 moved to the Left Coast to be an account rep with Google. An e-mail she sent to her Davidson distribution list made its way to the Daybook. It is clever and compelling enough to share on a good intention Friday afternoon without asking permission. I hope she won’t revoke my Google privileges. Can you imagine? Here’s her e-mail from the search-page trenches:
“Hi All, Some of y’all might have seen Google’s first Super Bowl commercial this year. It was a search story entitled “Parisian Love,” about a man falling in love in Paris and creatively I thought it was pretty awesome… although I will admit I have a some what bias view point. :) What’s really cool is now you can create your own search story using a video creation tool on YouTube. It’s super easy—I cobbled one together in less than 30 minutes! Just pick a topic and go! You can check out the story I created about the Davidson Trust here. Or, create your own story here… it’s a great way to creatively procrastinate! Happy Monday, Elizabeth …And yes, I’m downing the Google/YouTube Kool-Aid every opportunity I get…”
UPDATE 2/24/10: Bill Mebane ’51 reports that son William IV ’80, Superintendent, Aquaculture Engineering Divison, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass. has been to Haiti six times with his work in sustainable aquaculture.
UPDATE 2/24/10: Hayes Woollen, M.D. ’86 has just returned from Haiti where he was part of a medical team, and sends this picture of Wildcat spirit at work… and a little play:
A rainy Monday midafternoon on Main Street in Davidson. If I do one more minute of Microsoft Excel tutorial, I’ll scream. Instead, let’s check in with the old alumni mailbag. Today’s randomization conceit: The top item and the bottom item from my hard-copy stack, and every fifth item from the middle toward the chronologically-challenged bottom of the e-mailbag folder, until time for my four o’clock staff meeting.
ITEM: From a Davidson Update article “Secret Formula Revealed! How to Become a College President,” dated January, 1972, we learn that at least 43 alumni had served as college presidents at that time. Many of them were Greatest Generation graduates helping make the American Century even greater at colleges ranging from Charleston College and Union Seminary in Nanking, China, to Columbia Seminary and University of Houston, to Davidson and Washington & Lee. Did you know that rascal Henry Louis Smith 1881 served the presidency of both the latter institutions, in that order, in a, ahem, lateral move that I must remember to research a bit more. Hmph. In any case, we know we can add three more Davidson alumni to the list since 1972: John W. Kuykendall ’59, Bobby Vagt ’69, and Thomas W. Ross ’72. Got leadership and service? Yes, we do.
ITEM: A Greenville (S.C.) News story about Bill Pierce ’71, chairman of Furman’s Department of Health and Exercise Science. Fit runner Bill is three pounds lighter now than he was in college, says the article, forwarded by kindness of Richard Burts, Jr., Davidson’s dean of students in the 60s and later registrar until 1985 (as in, “The Great Class of…”). Good one, Dr. Burts, thanks! Bill co-authored a book you may have heard of, Run Less, Run Faster, and has been interviewed in the national press about the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST).
ITEM: Lew Zirkle, M.D. ’62 continues his humanitarian work, currently in Haiti, with the Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) he founded. Joe Markee, M.D. ’61 wrote in response to Peter Wagner’s alumni newsletter: “Hi Peter: it brings good memories to look at Davidson, especially from where I am now, in the middle of PAP. I am on a disaster response team throuigh Medical Teams International (MTI) out of Portland OR. We came in 3 days after the earthquake and will be here another 5 weeks ( we have a project in northern Haiti). I occasionally run into Davidson people down here. Please pray for the people here; they have much courage and are good examples for our lives. regards. Joe Markee”
Many other Davidson alumni from all walks of life have written about their direct experiences resulting from the quake. I can’t pretend to cover them all here, but folks, know that we are proud of the way you and so many others are rising to the most basic, and in this case huge, human challenge of helping our neighbors. Please leave a comment, send a class note, or pick up the phone and let us know how you are doing!
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to write about Davidson alumni. More precisely, it’s hard to know what not to write. Our folders bulge with story ideas from myriad and sundry sources, only a fraction of which stories anyone could hope to dig into—to write or, for that matter, to read. Thank goodness for class notes and Alenda Links. Even Facebook, if we must.
These things being said, two approaches seem in order for alumni coverage in this blog: Dig deep occasionally, and also occasionally offer up a representative and clickable sampler briefing of alumni doings large and small, professional and personal, big-picture and day-to-day.
In today’s experiment, we’ll skim the 10 most recent alumni-related e-mails off the top of the ol’ inbox, without regard to content. All are G-rated—okay, maybe PG-13 in a case or two. Some came directly to me, some were passed along through various campus channels, or channels of the World Wide Web. Here goes:
• Jim Johnson ’54 and George Crone ’54 strike the same pose, 55 years apart:
• Mary Laura Moretz Philpott ’96 dialed in to the Alumni Office with thanks for help setting up an evening of Wildcat alumnus/Golden State Warriors basketball on March 5 in Atlanta with her son Cameron, 7, future Class of ’25, who chose game tickets to see Steph Curry play over a traditional birthday party.
• Jessica Cooley ’05, assistant curator of the art gallery at Belk Visual Art Center, was interviewed along with Associate Professor of English Ann Fox about the recent “Re/Formations” and “Staring“ exhibits on campus, for a podcast in the Art/See issue of Bitch magazine, a nationally-recognized feminist magazine that critiques media culture.
• President Emeritus John Kuykendall ’59 forwarded a “Dear John” letter of a different sort from Princeton, which noted that Melinda Baldwin ’04 is one of four Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellows, in the history of science, at Princeton this year. The letter, on “The Graduate School” stationery, also encouraged a donation—which encouragement Dr. Kuykendall annotated thus: “Don’t give ’em any money. Davidson Trust needs all we can spare!”
• Ann Clark [’80], Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ chief academic officer, has been chosen for a 10-month executive training program designed to prepare her to be an urban superintendent,” reported an article in the Charlotte Observer forwarded by several sources.
• James Barrat ’83 has a new adventure documentary, Extreme Cave Diving, which will air this Tues., Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. on PBS, and after that on the PBS Web site. There’s also an essay, James reports: “See the preview and an essay by me—click the pic of the smiling fool.”
• Ivon Rohrer ’64, we feel your pain. No, really, we do. In the recent Business Week article, Stanford Tops Harvard as College Donations Fall Most Since ’69, Ivon lamented his reduced contribution to alma mater this year. But Ivon found a phrasing befitting a true Davidson gentleman: The recession, he said, “precluded me from giving as much in 2009 as I will give in the future.”
• CPT Eric Rosenbach ’95 is executive director of research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, reports Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science Lou Ortmayer. Yes, that’s the shop directed by Graham Allison ’64, Lou confirms.
• Suzie Eckl ’09, Davidson Fellow in the Annual Fund, reports on a classmate: “Whiz kid Marshall Worsham ’09 maintains a blog through the online Glimpse Magazine (connected to National Geographic) and regularly reports on his student experience at Oxford. Older posts also available. Click on Marshall’s face to get the whole listing.”
Don’t you just love clicking on a classmate’s face?
For the next alumni news mashup, we’ll have to construct a new conceit, in fairness, to start getting at some of the stuff in the middle of the inbox, and the bottom, and the stack of hard copy stuff beside my desk…. Meantime, leave your own comments here, and submit your own notes to class secretaries or through Alenda Links. To borrow a classic signoff line from Davidson Journal class secretary Sue McAvoy ’77: “So that’s the news from far and wide. All the best to you.…and I love you, brothers and sisters.”