The arc of my life bends more to Davidson College than I ever would have guessed on a broiling August day some 19 years ago. That’s when my dad and I stuffed the backseat of a rickety Oldsmobile Cutlass with the bulk of my possessions and travailed the six hours of interstates 85 and 77 that connect Auburn to that town on the northernmost edge of Mecklenburg County. I was 17 and more practical than most teenagers. My brain was certain the next few years would be a strict economic exchange: my hard work and indebtedness for a degree inked on lambskin that would launch me into a career. And that would be that.
But it became much more than that. Not only in my time there, but in the many years since.
Yes, that diploma arrived. It’s in a beautiful frame on the floor of my basement office, propped unceremoniously against a wall. It’s come in handy on my twisted path of a career, yet the benefits of the Davidson College brand have played out so much more in my personal life. My marriage traces back to the chance meeting of a soccer player who stole my study table one afternoon on the second floor of E.H. Little Library. That was 17 years ago. I proposed to Kate at that same table nine years later, and we were married in Davidson’s Lingle Chapel a brief six months after that. Standing at my side was Jason, my best man who had been my best friend through college, and in the church pews sat countless faces of loved ones whom Kate and I came to know only because we spent that brief time as students at this particular school.
This nostalgia envelops me in the hours since I’ve returned to Raleigh with Kate and our two young daughters. We spent the weekend back at Davidson reminiscing with old classmates at my 15 year reunion, and I’ve been in a contemplative mood ever since. There’s the warm glow of happy memories, but there’s also some recognition of our own aging and what it means for friendships. Continue Reading…