During a campus visit last year, Jim White '65 encountered the World War II memorial and felt strongly that it should be expanded to honor and remember more alumni veterans. Now, additional memorials are in place thanks to White's leadership and the approximately $20,000 contributed from Pi Kappa Phi alumni.
The new memorials remember those who served and lost their lives during World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; a bench also was added to allow visitors to spend time in the space.
A dedication ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. this Saturday, June 6, as part of the college's reunion weekend events.
"I am appreciative of Jim and the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi who contributed to this special project," said President Carol Quillen. "Davidson's mission is centered on preparing students for lives of leadership and service in the world, and those who serve in our military exemplify those ideals. This beautiful space on our campus allows us to honor their service and reflect on lives lost."
The World War II memorial includes 159 names of fallen servicemen, and White said that was a real eye-opener as his class had approximately 200 graduates. He is glad the campus now has a more complete representation of Davidson alumni who paid the ultimate price for their country. The memorials now include 193 names.
Having the Pi Kappa Phi name associated with this endeavor is very meaningful to White.
"Our local chapter closed in the early 70s, and it's a way of honoring our history at Davidson, too," he said. "Our dedication also recognizes the service of our fellow Pi Kapp, Rufus Herring, of the Class of 1942, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service as a Lt. (junior grade) in the U.S. Navy in the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945."
"I think it's very important that places like Davidson not lose touch with the realities of life that require, on occasion, people to put their lives at risk in the service of their country," said White. "When I was in college, we were faced with a draft. Certainly in the last two years of my college life, we knew that when we graduated, we were going to be facing a military service obligation. For many of us, that was transformative in that it helped us mature, gave us a sense of responsibility and helped us develop leadership skills as well."
The Davidson College War Memorial is located behind Elm Row between the Old Well and the Carnegie Guest House. A complete list of alumni honored on the memorials is available online.