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Monday, August 30, 2010

Honorary West Virginian

Sunday sees ‘New Dawn’

D&E donors meet and surpass challenge

By CARRA HIGGINS, Staff Writer

Davis & Elkins College has surpassed its challenge from philanthropist and now an “Honorary West Virginian” Doris Buffett to raise $300,000 to support the Highland Scholar Program by nearly $200,000. The college and Buffett are scheduled to settle her challenge donation today.

Sunday evening, during “The New Dawn Concert: An Evening with Jack Gibbons,” D&E President Dr. G.T. “Buck” Smith announced that donors from across the globe have contributed $498,625.45.

In January, Buffett visited Elkins Middle School to see one of the many educational projects she has supported financially. During that trip she also met Smith and was told about the Highland Scholar Program and felt compelled to help the cause that enables eligible students in Randolph, Tucker, Barbour, Upshur, Pocahontas, Pendleton and Webster counties to receive a scholarship to attend D&E. Her assistance with the program challenged D&E to raise $300,000, all of which would be matched by Buffett.

Per Buffett’s request, Smith presented her with the list of more than 800 donors and the amount they contributed for review.

Two Highland Scholars praised Buffett’s generosity and told her that the program has enabled them to attend college, yet remain close to home. Buffett was also presented with a hand-woven basket, made by Susie Mullens, that had the seal of the college.

“All of you who are with us tonight who helped by contributing the funds to meet Doris’ challenge … you’re transforming lives,” Smith said.

Gov. Joe Manchin’s Chief of Staff Jim Spears presented Buffett with a framed proclamation, naming her an Honorary West Virginian.

(CU and The Inter-Mountain/Joe Blankenship) NEW WEST VIRGINIAN – Gov. Joe Manchin’s Chief of Staff Jim Spears, right, presents Doris Buffett, left, with a framed proclamation naming her an honorary West Virginian during “The New Dawn” concert at Davis & Elkins College Sunday evening.

“Without somebody with the … desire to do something good, without these types of people in the world, the world would be such a shallow place to live,” Spears said. “Doris, we thank you for bringing hope and raising the spirits of all of those here that are affected by the Highland Scholars Program.”

Spears noted that three of the eight people who have been named Honorary West Virginians within the last year have been associated with D&E College.

Before the presentations, Buffett was thanked with a performance of Appalachian music by Gerry Milnes and dancers Becky Hill and Matt Kupstas.

Published August 30, 2010

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