Bluefield College has received one of its most significant individual gifts in school history from longtime supporter Dr. Donald W. Caudill – a gift that will allow the college to transform and name its School of Business.
The college announced the transformational gift from Dr. Caudill during a press conference on campus, Monday, March 19, featuring remarks from the donor and thankful BC leaders in front of a crowd of faculty, staff, students, media and friends.
“This is a tremendous gift by Dr. Caudill,” said Bluefield College president Dr. David Olive, “and it is of historic significance since it is our first academic college or school to be named.”
While the exact amount of Dr. Caudill’s gift is not being disclosed, it is one of the largest individual gifts ever given to Bluefield College and the first endowed gift for an academic department. In fact, the gift will enable the college to transition its Department of Business into the Dr. Donald W. Caudill School of Business.
“Dr. Caudill’s gift will provide financial resources to create the first endowed school at Bluefield College,” said Ruth Blankenship, BC’s vice president for advancement and finance, “and more importantly the financial resources to create the School of Business and provide perpetual funds to support new initiatives and faculty growth in this area of higher education.”
Pictured above: Bluefield College President David Olive (far left), Vice President for Advancement Ruth Blankenship (second from right) and Vice President for Academics Marshall Flowers (far right) recognize Dr. Donald W. Caudill for his historic gift to the college to transform and name the School of Business. More photos below.
For example, Dr. Caudill’s gift will be used to develop new academic programs and degrees within the School of Business. It will also be used to hire new faculty for the growing number of programs. In addition, it will be used to expand existing business curriculums and improve or create new instructional space.
“I have a deep love for Bluefield College and desire to do everything I can to see the college succeed,” said Dr. Caudill about why he supports BC. “While I felt God led me to leave Bluefield in 2008 and to serve at Gardner-Webb University, another Baptist school, I never sold my home in Bluefield. I have always felt that I would retire back here and continue my association with Bluefield College as a volunteer.”
And as an endowed gift, Dr. Caudill’s generosity will make a difference not just now, but virtually forever. With endowed gifts, seed funds are invested and only earnings from the principal are used for expenditures. As a result, the original gift remains indefinitely and provides a source of revenue for growth and development in perpetuity.
“One of the college’s strategic goals is to grow the endowment, a key indicator of an institution’s financial strength,” said Dr. Olive. “With this endowed gift, the impact of Dr. Caudill’s gift is unending – a gift that keeps on giving – and helps the college in our efforts to grow the endowment.”
A native of Norton, Virginia, who lived in Bluefield, Virginia, for 12 years, Dr. Caudill was born in the geographic center of the Appalachian Mountains to parents who worked long hours for minimum wage. Because of their work ethic and his love for entrepreneurship, Dr. Caudill managed a paper route, lawn care service business, door-to-door sales route, and a mail order enterprise all while still a teenager. And while neither of his parents had more than an eighth-grade education, both held higher education in great esteem and made tremendous personal and financial sacrifices so that Dr. Caudill could earn a bachelor’s degree – the first person in many generations on both sides of his family to do so – two master’s degrees, and a doctorate.
During his graduate studies, Dr. Caudill got the opportunity to teach, and while he always thought he’d be an entrepreneur, creating and growing businesses, he fell in love with teaching and working with students. He began his teaching career in 1981 as an instructor of marketing, and from 2004 to 2008 he served as a professor of business at Bluefield College. While at BC, he also chaired the organizational management and leadership portion of the college’s adult degree completion program and was faculty advisor for the school’s chapters of Sigma Beta Delta, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE, now Enactus), and Phi Beta Lambda (PBL).
Today, Dr. Caudill is a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. There, he has also served as the founding editor of the Journal of Ethics and Entrepreneurship from 2008 to 2016 and established the Alfred and Shirley Wampler Caudill Endowed Fund to award students for excellence in undergraduate research, service learning, and other accomplishments.
In addition to his commitment to educating students, Dr. Caudill has dedicated his life to giving, ever since he started tithing on his income as a teenager. In fact, in 2007 he established the Alfred and Shirley Wampler Caudill Scholarship Fund at Bluefield College in honor of his parents and in an effort to support adult education. He has also given gifts to BC in support of scholarships, communication students, football, the New Opportunity School for Women, and the Shirley Wampler Caudill Executive Dining Room.
“I have a mantra that guides my life: ‘Work hard. Live modestly. Give generously. Laugh often,’” said Dr. Caudill, whose gift to BC came primarily from real estate investments. “I have learned that the blessings of life are best enjoyed when shared. Every success I’ve ever had is by the grace of God. Even if you only help one person, that’s worth it. You can’t put any kind of price on changing a life.”
And while every success Dr. Caudill has ever had has been by the grace of God, every gift he’s ever made has been a tribute to his parents, until now. In response to advice from the college, Dr. Caudill will add to the numerous named gifts for his parents the first legacy gift in his own name in the Dr. Donald W. Caudill School of Business.
“Dr. Caudill has spent his life and career dedicated to paying it forward and teaching his students to pay it forward with service, philanthropy and changing the world and communities around us,” said Blankenship. “To date, he has created and named numerous philanthropic legacies in honor of his mother and in memory of his father. Now, for the first time, he has decided to establish his own named legacy, and he has chosen Bluefield College to be the first institution for a transformational gift in his name.”
Dr. Caudill’s gift to Bluefield College will help grow a business program that has already been experiencing significant growth. For example, in the past year alone the BC Department of Business has introduced a new cybersecurity concentration and minor and developed a new online master’s degree in business administration (MBA) that will launch this spring. Other recent additions include a web and mobile development concentration and an entrepreneurship and small business management certificate program.
The Business Department is also establishing the Appalachian Summit Center to foster sustainable economic and social entrepreneurship for Southwest Virginia and Southern West Virginia and was recently accepted into the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the world’s largest business education network connecting students, academia, and business to further business education worldwide.
In addition, BC business students recently have been involved in local economic impact studies, active with a business incubator program with the City of Bluefield, and named winners of a local young entrepreneur contest.
“Dr. Caudill’s gift comes at an exciting time in the development of new business education initiatives,” said Dr. Marshall Flowers, vice president for academic affairs. “The business faculty, under the leadership of Dr. Sharon Perot (chair of the Department of Business), are enriching the educational opportunities of our business students. The Caudill School of Business will propel these initiatives forward toward even greater success.”
CAUDILL BUSINESS SCHOOL GIFT – MARCH 2018
Bluefield College received one of its most significant individual gifts in school history from Dr. Donald W. Caudill to transform and name its School of Business.