ELKINS - Commencement exercises at Davis & Elkins College on Saturday took a surprising turn when Board of Trustees Chair June B. Myles announced that two longtime friends of the college are giving $250,000 in recognition of Michael Mihalyo's first year as president.
The donors expressed the hope that others will join them in a similar expression of support by contributing an additional $250,000 during the final 45 days of the college's fiscal year that ends on June 30.
Myles read a letter from one of the anonymous donors, that said, in part, "I was much impressed with President Mihalyo when he and Carol Schuler came to see me a few months ago. With the continued and remarkable progress of the college under his leadership, I decided one way to express my confidence in the college's future is to provide tangible support as the academic year draws to a close.
"Toward that end, I and another friend of the college are together committing $250,000 to this year's D&E Fund in recognition of President Mihalyo's leadership during the past year, and in appreciation to the faculty and staff. We should like to request that $125,000 help support this year's Highlands Scholarships, and $125,000 go toward the enhanced programs in the Fine Arts.
"While our gifts are unconditional and we prefer to remain anonymous, we hope others - trustees, alumni and friends - will join us in a similar expression of support by contributing an additional $250,000 to the D&E Fund by June 30."
"Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined such thoughtfulness," Mihalyo said following the announcement. "I am deeply touched by their generosity. We will get right to work encouraging others to follow their
"While gifts through The D&E Fund are running about 15 percent ahead of a year ago, these two magnificent gifts position us to reach our $1.5 million goal, provided others respond generously in the next 45 days," said Schuler, the vice president for development.
Davis & Elkins opened last September with 847 students, the largest full-time enrollment since 1948-49. Officials fully expect to open this fall with the largest enrollment in the college's 110-year history.
For more information, visit the college's website at www.dewv.edu.