I write to you today to update you on the church-relatedness discussion of the Board of Trustees. As I shared with you in February, the Board heard from the Trustee Committee on Church-Relatedness and began its consideration of the committee’s work. Since that time, the Trustees have continued to explore this issue.
The committee has followed a rigorous, thorough and thoughtful process, one that engaged a wide range of the Davidson family. The committee has worked hard to understand the college’s faith tradition and relationship with the Presbyterian Church from all perspectives. The committee has discussed at length the Reformed Tradition values considered to have shaped the college’s principles and practices, and those that most contribute to its distinctiveness. The committee has concluded that Davidson’s distinctiveness is real and genuine, and Davidson’s church-relatedness has been a significant contributing factor to that distinctiveness.
Our discussions have taken place in a broadly diverse community—one made up of students, faculty, alumni, parents, staff and friends who come to Davidson from around the world, representing a range of generations, backgrounds, opinions and experiences. One of the things we value most about this remarkable community is its ability to discuss difficult issues while respecting those with whom we don’t agree.
As a result of extensive conversations on this subject, and as part of our meeting yesterday, the Board of Trustees came to the following conclusions:
- The Board reaffirmed the Statement of Purpose and the continued voluntary relationship between the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Davidson College.
- The Board acknowledged that there are differing views among the Trustees with regard to the Presidential Bylaw and recognized that there does not exist sufficient support for any particular change to it.
- The Board will ensure that appropriate methods are in place to engage with the college community on an ongoing basis about the college’s faith heritage and relationship with the Presbyterian Church (USA).
As always, Davidson remains strongly and passionately committed to its values of free inquiry, service and leadership, honor and integrity, humility, and diversity. The commitment to these values is driven in no small part by the Reformed Tradition, which upholds the dignity and worth of every person and therefore values members of the community who come from a different or no religious tradition. We admit, enroll, and employ the most talented students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds with the belief that they all contribute to a community where faith and reason work together to foster growth in learning, understanding, and wisdom.
Mackey McDonald ’68
Chair, Davidson College Board of Trustees