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$1 million Robert E. Douglas Jr. scholarship established at Davis & Elkins College, W.Va.

From Davis & Elkins College:

ELKINS, W.Va. – The late Rob Douglas, Class of 1984, never intended to spend his entire college career at Davis & Elkins. As it turned out, he grew to love the College in a short time and transferring never again crossed his mind.

With each semester Douglas spent at D&E, his friendships deepened, his admiration for professors grew and his attachment to the College strengthened. Even after graduation, his experience at D&E was never far from his mind. So, when Douglas passed away on October 12, 2015, at the age of 54, his parents, Bob and Nancy Douglas, Rob’s stepmother of 51 years, of Charleston, W.Va., found it only fitting to establish a scholarship in his honor.

The $1 million endowed Robert E. Douglas Jr. Scholarship will provide multiple annual scholarships for students pursuing pre-law, demonstrating achievement, leadership and service while in college, and holding the promise of future service in the world.

“I hope that providing scholarships for future students will always be a remembrance of Rob’s love for Davis & Elkins College,” Bob Douglas said. “It is very meaningful to us and I’m blessed with the opportunity to be able to assist the school in this way.”

The Douglas’s gift aids not only future students, but also the future of the College. The $25 million McDonnell Challenge from James S. McDonnell III and the McDonnell Family Foundation matches dollar-for-dollar all gifts and commitments for inclusion in D&E’s 10-year, $100 million Secure the Future campaign that concludes on June 30, 2018.

“Rob Douglas’s legacy shall live on through the Douglas scholars on the campus of Davis & Elkins College,” D&E President Chris A. Wood said. “Like so many others who have studied on this campus before and after him, Rob’s life was profoundly impacted by the faculty, staff and students of D&E. While we all regret a meaningful life cut short at only 54 years of age, his zest for life and the gracious scholarship in his name provides opportunity for generations of students to share his transformative experience at D&E. I am grateful to Bob and Nancy for this generous gift, and we accept it with reverence for Rob’s life.”

The family’s connections to D&E and Elkins span decades. Bob Douglas’s first wife and Rob’s biological mother, Mary Ann Power Douglas, was Queen Silvia XIX in the 1955 Mountain State Forest Festival. Bob Douglas’s uncle, Ed See, attended D&E from 1917-1918 and played football. Rob and his sister, Ann, brought their quarter horses to the MSFF Horse Show and the Douglas family often traveled from their home in Charleston, W.Va., to Elkins to visit Bob’s relatives, Mike and Dorothy See Hammer.

“I would talk about D&E and say to Rob, ‘One day you might be lucky enough to go there,’” Bob Douglas recalled. “When he decided to go to college, he thought he might just go there for a year and then go somewhere else. After he got there, that was it. D&E was very good to Rob and he gave D&E his love.”

Bob and Nancy Douglas hope that building on the College’s future will connect to the past, allowing other students to ignite a passion in D&E just as Rob did.

“I just marveled at how well Rob adapted to college life,” Bob Douglas said recalling his son’s college years. “He loved going there – everything about it, the activities, the people, his professors. He loved Gloria Payne and I think Gloria Payne loved him. It was a beautiful time for him growing up.”

During his years at D&E, Rob Douglas was a member of Kappa Sigma, selected to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities in 1983-84 and traveled to the British Isles on a D&E tour. Bob and Nancy Douglas were also involved with the College, as well, serving as co-chairpersons of the Parent Association.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in business, Rob Douglas worked for Marriott Corporation in Richmond, Va., and later moved to Charlotte, N.C., where he worked for US Air for 15 years. He continued to keep in touch with his D&E friends, often traveling with classmate Scott Loane, ’83, and was a faithful contributor to his alma mater.

His friends and family remember him as kind and generous, with a gentle nature and love for animals.

Speaking at Rob Douglas’s Celebration of Life, Nancy Douglas reflected on the early years when she became Bob’s wife and Rob was only 3 ½ years old.

“I thought Rob was clearly the sweetest, most beautiful child I had ever seen,” Nancy Douglas said.

As she nurtured him along the way and watched him grow into adulthood, she saw his same characteristics of a gentle spirit and desire to help others shine through.

“To have known Rob Douglas as a son or as a friend, or a beloved pet, was to know the blessings of loyalty, constancy and love,” Nancy Douglas said.

“He was such a special person,” Bob Douglas said. “He was always thinking of other people, what he could do for them, how he could help or how he could cheer up someone who was having a down moment in life. Rob was always a giver. He was truly my buddy, as well as our son.”

Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at or call 304-637-1243.

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