On May 15, 1982, the Board of Trustees of Davis & Elkins College passed a resolution in gratitude to First Presbyterian Church of Charleston, W.Va. for their proposal to establish the Benfield-Vick Chair of Christian Ministries and Services at Davis & Elkins College. The chair was to be established in honor of Drs. William Benfield and George Vick, two former pastors of First Presbyterian Church of Charleston and longtime trustees of Davis & Elkins College.
The resolution acknowledged that the Session of the church authorized a campaign within the congregation to raise funds “to be added to the permanent endowment of the College and restricted for the support of the Chair and for programs to be developed under the leadership of its occupant.” It was ultimately funded by gifts from the congregation and others who shared a commitment to providing Christian ministry for students and the campus community.
The Session recommended that the Benfield-Vick Chair be a Presbyterian minister of the word and sacrament, “designated as the College Chaplain, with responsibilities for a richly-varied Christian program, including worship, special convocations, study groups and services on and off campus, service projects, counseling, and the supervision of special support and oversight for students preparing for a church vocation.”
With the passage of this Resolution, the President of the College was authorized to appoint a College Chaplain to occupy the Benfield-Vick Chair and to administer the program to be supported by this fund at the time when contributions for this purpose added to the permanent endowment would generate sufficient income to cover the full cost. It also carried with it the understanding that administrative responsibility for this position would be in accord with the present By-Laws which stipulate that the College Chaplain is appointed by and responsible to the President of the College.
It also resolved that the inauguration of the Benfield-Vick Chair, with the appointment of its first occupant, would become an occasion for reaffirming the Christian mission and purpose of Davis & Elkins College and that the officers and members of the First Presbyterian Church of Charleston would be involved as fully as possible in the celebration of this milestone in the life of Davis & Elkins College.
While the chair is not yet fully endowed, the College and First Presbyterian Church of Charleston continue to be committed to providing pastoral leadership to the College.