All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘The Davidson Trust’

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John W. Kuykendall ’59 on the Honor Code: “An Experiment in Trust Continues”


President Emeritus John W. Kuykendall ’59 often glances down at the red spirit bracelet that he, like many Davidsonians, wears on his wrist in support of The Davidson Trust.

“‘Davidson trusted me.’ That’s not a bad way to start and end my day!” Kuykendall told a nearly standing-room-only 900 Room at Common Hour on Thursday. The Davidson Trust is the college’s commitment to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need of accepted students through a combination of grants and campus employment, without relying on loans, in support of the college’s longstanding commitment to need-blind admission.

Kuykendall stood before us to talk about other aspects of trust as well, he said, commending the broad, essential definition of the word that includes honor and civility and personal commitment. Specifically, he was there to talk about Davidson’s Honor Code, in an Honor Council Speaker Series talk that was part of the “Ten Days of Trust” events leading up to the annual, student-led Dinner at Davidson fundraiser tonight. His talk, “An Experiment in Trust Continues,” was an update of a 2009 iteration, “An Experiment in Trust.”

“If you quote from your own work without attribution, is it plagiarism?” he wondered aloud, to knowing, appreciative laughter.

Davidson’s Honor Code is not unique in letter, but is certainly so in spirit and in particularity, said Kuykendall, who was president of the student body when the Honor Council came into being. He recalled some of the conversations of that time, when the student body leaders who applied and also protected the Honor Code saw a need to separate the legislative and judicial functions of their work. There was also no insignificant discussion then of the proper roles of forgiveness and grace and redemption and reconciliation, he said, all aspects of the Reformed Tradition on which Davidson itself was founded. From those discussions, the Honor Council in more or less its current form was born.

Kuykendall is an orator of the foremost ranks, whose expressive cadences translate well into his own written word but perhaps less so to others’. So I encourage you to make time, take time or otherwise shake out some time to stop, look and listen (above) to his most recent thoughts on this quintessentially Davidson topic.

“We may be swimming against the tide,” he said, the sad note in his voice undergirded by quiet defiance as he related some latest statistics on cheating in high school. “At Davidson, your word is your bond, and your work must be your own. Welcome to ‘the bubble,’ so they say. Weal or woe—and let’s hope it’s weal—you are in the middle of it…. But I don’t like ‘the Davidson bubble.’ Davidson is not a bubble. It is a crucible.”

Kuykendall further encouraged listeners to read President Carol Quillen’s recent article on The Huffington Post, “Trust’s Legacy: Davidson’s Honor Code.”

I will add to that a link to alma mater’s bedrock Statement of Purpose. I still have the paper copy that came with my letter of employment in 2001. It is good to read it regularly, just as it’s good to read and hear the current thoughts of both Kuykendall and Quillen on trust, on honor, on what Davidson means in the world today.

I say thank you to them both, in the same spirit that every person in the 900 Room yesterday stood when Kuykendall was finished. It was an ovation for a speech well-delivered, yes, but it was more than that. It was a matter of honor, alive, here, now, unique in spirit and in particularity.



President Carol Quillen: What’s In Your Elevator Speech?


This just in from a campuswide “town meeting” with President Carol Quillen and several enthusiastic hundreds of her closest campus friends.

It was standing room only during Common Hour in the Lilly Family Gallery, 11:05 a.m., Sept. 3, 2013.

“What will be different because we had this meeting?” Carol Quillen asked the crowd. “I hope you leave here with a sense of the high level of aspiration we have for the next several years, as well as a sense of objectives we hope to accomplish this academic year.”

President Carol Quillen: “Inspired not by fears of what we might lose, but by dreams of what we can accomplish.” (photo Bill Giduz)

Against a backdrop of stunning campus photography, compelling video clips and a few brief, concise and specific bullet points about Davidson’s most current themes and aspirations, Quillen called forth the good will and good work of Davidson’s staff, faculty, students, alumni, parents, friends and partners—up to and including those we have not yet met.

That’s a lot.

So, what would your 60-second “elevator speech” be to someone who knows nothing of Davidson? Quillen asked the crowd at one point during Q & A.

But first, Quillen deployed her formidable skills at evoking the Davidson of this moment—this very present and changing moment—in the collective mind assembled. Together, she said, we have designed new facilities, built and strengthened “Transition to Impact” initiatives, capped the strongest fundraising year in history, created new courses of study, and recruited the best faculty and staff nationwide. Among many other things.

“It’s an iterative process,” she said, “and we need your continued guidance to make it work.”

Quillen touched on many facets of the Davidson character that reflect brightly into the world, including the Honor Code, Division I athletics, growing relationships in Charlotte, and The Davidson Trust. “How do we pay for all of it?” someone asked in a video clip. Quillen responded that to stand fast in who we are and what we are about, with an endowment notably smaller than many peers, we are seeking more funding from people who do not yet know us. See “elevator speech” above.

Yes, we are reimagining the liberal arts, Quillen continued, and our commitment to the liberal arts ideal grows stronger.

“Approaching the liberal arts educational philosophy as a historian,” said Quillen, a history Ph.D., “I can tell you it hasn’t changed much since the 15th century!”

That said, it is 2013. “Our subjects, programs and methods change over time,” she said.

Then she moved outward from a classroom perspective to the broader, quotidian life of the mind, body and spirit at a small, residential, liberal arts college like Davidson. With a fine and heartfelt tip of the hat to President Emeritus Sam Spencer for his visionary work to help diversify Davidson in terms of race and gender in the 1960s and 1970s, Quillen sprang forward to more recent strategic planning themes that Davidson’s people—many of them in the room—were engaged in even before her arrival: interdisciplinarity, global perspectives, sustainability in all its senses, diversity and inclusion to match and meet the world we live in.

On the “excellence and access” plank of the platform that must accompany and support diversity and inclusion, Quillen stated the case succinctly: “Economic opportunity must be more than two words we say.”

On Davidson’s ethos of leadership and service, and the resulting disproportionate impact for good in the world, she let a long and growing list of alumni examples do the heavy lifting, including Tim ’00 and Brian ’07 Helfrich’s Summit Coffee just down Main Street, OrthoCarolina CEO Dan Murrey ’87 in Charlotte, Lowell Bryan ’68 and Steve Justus ’78 at the Touch Foundation, the civil rights advocacy of Yale law professor and GLBT advocate Bill Eskridge ’73, Agnes Scott President Elizabeth Kiss ’83, Astronaut Tom Marshburn ’82, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx ’93, education accessibility advocate Tiffany Hollis ’04, scientific researcher Rachel McCord ’04, educator and spoken-word artist Clint Smith ’10, Colgate University Provost Doug Hicks ’90…. The list went on.

Back to the tasks at hand for ensuring that this list continue to go on, Quillen reviewed, renewed and refreshed many specific programs and initiatives for “exploring what’s possible” this academic year and beyond.

She encouraged staff and faculty to get outside their departments and meet their colleagues from across campus: “Ask how what they do relates to what you do. That’s where some really great ideas come from.”

Those who know Davidson best, she said, should call attention in Admission to students who would be a good fit here, particularly those who might not apply without encouragement.

We should ask ourselves what makes Davidson different, and what it is and what it is becoming. And each person who comes in the door—students most obviously, and by extension everyone—gets to help decide just exactly what Davidson is and what it’s becoming.

That’s inclusion, said Quillen.

So, staff, faculty, students, alumni, parents, friends and partners, what’s your 60-second elevator speech about Davidson College?

T-shirt Contest + Curry Classic Celebrity Golf Tournament Pics


Daybook Davidson played with the paparazzi at River Run Golf Course this muggy Monday morning, for a good cause: The Curry Classic Celebrity Golf Tournament, with Wildcat/Warrior Steph and his dad Dell and friends having a blast in support of the Ada Jenkins Center—to the tune of $70,000! How sweet that is for the center, a perennial beneficiary of Davidson students’ work through the Center for Civic Engagement. Steph said he was impressed with the work at “Ada” as a Davidson College student, and it remains a cause close to his heart.

In a pre-tourney interview, he added that he was glad the Curry Classic tournament got scheduled on the front end of his very full summer off-season: “You feel like you have a lot of time, but you start committing to activities and opportunities and it really flies by. “You’ve got to have fun, and it’s a challenge to balance it all out.”

Davidson’s recent jump to the Atlantic 10 Conference also came up in a pre-tourney media moment: “It’s a big step,” Steph told the cameras. “So-Con was great, but the A-10 is a great opportunity. I’m happy for Coach McKillop and for the whole program and for the whole school.”

Daybook and fellow staffer Anna Prushinski got to meet Steph’s better half Ayesha, too, standing gracefully by two orange juices, two bananas and two donuts perched precariously on a clubhouse railing as she glanced around for Steph. “Just so you know, both of the donuts are mine,” she said with a smile sweet as Krispy Kreme glaze. We moved away from the donuts to go score Curry Classic Celebrity golf shirts: classy, crisp white numbers with a tastefully embroidered logo that we badgered a volunteer to “sell” to us in exchange for a donation to Ada Jenkins.

In the spirit of paying it even further forward, and in honor of two of Steph’s top stated causes of choice—Ada Jenkins and educational scholarships—Daybook will offer a size L to the highest bidder, with 100 percent of proceeds to be divided evenly between Ada Jenkins Center and The Davidson Trust. Pass it on! Bidding starts at $25 and ends Friday, June 21 at noon, at which time Daybook will announce a winner at the top of a chronological list of all bidders. Contact Daybook by Facebook page or e-mail (josyme at Honor Code-pledged.


TOOT, TOOT! Will Work for Annual Fund Donation: Feeding the Hand that Feeds Me


Click for more info.

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.

Be part of.

Thanks, I Needed That: Presidential Passion, Insight and Commitment


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!”

President Carol Quillen: “Like”

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.

CNBC: The Davidson Trust


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.

The Economist, NASCAR Illustrated, and Mayor Anthony Foxx ’93 at the White House


[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:

Click for interview

• 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.

• In preparation for their Dinner at Davidson event later this month to raise money for The Davidson Trust, students have started a Facebook page.

• “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.

As the Academic Year Turns, Spring Gives Way to Summer. Life Is Good.


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.

Click for more.

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.

The Davidson Trust: A Love Story, with Kool-Aid


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…”

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