ELKINS – On the day would have been the apex to their undergraduate college careers, Davis & Elkins seniors, like many others, put their commencement day on hold. Although in-person commencement has been rescheduled for September 19, the College could not let the original date – May 9 – pass without recognition.
The D&E Class of 2020 was celebrated with a special video congratulating the graduates for their accomplishments. The virtual celebration featured College leaders, faculty and staff presenting special messages.
Reflecting on the past four years, D&E President Chris A. Wood reminded the graduates that he and they began their journey on the campus in August 2016.
“We were freshmen together, then sophomore and juniors and then we’ve been seniors this year,” Wood said. “That journey for us has been a rich and rewarding one. The class of 2020 holds a special place in my heart because of that journey we have shared together and particularly because of all this you have had to endure over this final semester.”
Wood praised the class members for their agility and ability to adapt from the on-campus life they had know to online courses in recent months.
“You have shown us your perseverance even in these toughest of times,” he said. “And, you have shown us that keeping your eye on a goal makes all the difference in the world. As even a pandemic could not keep you from your goal of graduating from D&E.”
As the graduates’ time at D&E nears its end, Wood called on the seniors to remember their journey and special meanings it held for each of them. Among examples, he cited lifelong friendships, support and guidance from professors, teamwork that brought about victory, leadership opportunities and the nurturing staff members.
Wood also encouraged the seniors to remember the little moments, the ones that make a big difference.
“Think about walking across this campus, seeing friends, looking out at the mountains, seeing the power of the colors or perhaps the snow,” he said. “Think about those times in the dining hall, sitting around the tables laughing, enjoying yourself in the company of others. Think, too, about those times when you had those serious discussions or perhaps those moments when things became clearer for you about your life, about your future. That’s Davis & Elkins College. That’s the experience we have at D&E. That is why D&E is leading the way as we provide that type of educational opportunity for you.”
Wood explained that although the campus community was not together to celebrate the seniors’ accomplishments, he hoped the video showed a sense of pride and gratefulness to the students for all they have achieved in their time at D&E.
Last month, the senior class was presented a survey asking them to vote for a date when commencement could be celebrated in person. The overwhelming response was September 19 as part of Homecoming and Family Weekend on the College campus.
“I want you to know that this commencement is going to be a full-fledged commencement,” Wood said. “It is going to be a celebration of all of your accomplishments. It is going to be a party that we are going to have in Elkins, West Virginia.”
The video also included notes of congratulations from Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Rob Phillips and Vice President for Student Affairs Scott Goddard, along with a description of the Commemorative Medal for the Class of 2020 designed by AnnMarie Timbrook and featuring a likeness of Associate Professor of Art Michael Doig. In addition, photos were included of faculty and staff displaying messages of congratulations.
To view the video, visit www.dewv.edu.