The University of Lynchburg’s College of Business has received a pledge for a $1 million gift from longtime supporters Elaine Hadden Drysdale and the late Douglas D. Drysdale. In 2013, the couple gave $3 million to the Drysdale Student Center project.
The Drysdales’ most recent gift will fund two professorships — The Douglas D. Drysdale Endowed Professorship in Economics and The Douglas D. Drysdale Endowed Professorship in Business. Both are established by Elaine Hadden Drysdale, who contacted retiring University of Lynchburg President Dr. Kenneth R. Garren out of the blue last month.
“How both surprised and excited I was to receive an email in late June from Elaine Hadden,” Garren said. “She wanted to get this action into play while the University was still under my ‘watch.’”
Dr. Nancy Hubbard, dean of the College of Business, is equally grateful for the Drysdales’ continuing belief in the University of Lynchburg and what its business programs can offer students. “We will ensure that the money is spent in a way that honors that legacy,” she said.
“While not definite, we think the money will be spent expanding majors that we cannot currently offer to our students — perhaps being able to offer a finance or international business and relations major. In addition, as Mr. Drysdale spent his career as a tax and law expert, we would love to recognize this by having a professorship in tax and fiscal policy. This generous gift makes those dreams possible.”
Garren said it was philanthropists and longtime Lynchburg supporters Elliott and Rosel Schewel who reintroduced Elaine and Douglas Drysdale, a Lynchburg College alumnus, to his alma mater.
“After Doug passed away [in 2018], Sheila and I continued the relationship,” Garren said. “Although Doug and Elaine had been so kind as to accept our request to financially support the building of the Drysdale Student Center, we were unaware that she and Doug had also been thinking about the endowment of a professorship.
“It is so wonderful when individuals who understand the needs for financial support of private higher education respond to a request for that support. It is even more joyful when special individuals like Elaine Hadden … step forward and offer unsolicited gifts to our University that directly aid the needs of our students.”
Sheila Garren, who has entertained board of trustees’ spouses during board meetings for the past 19 years, says Elaine Drysdale never missed any of those events while her husband was on the board.
“It was here that an everlasting friendship developed,” Sheila Garren said. “Though I have not seen her lately due to the coronavirus, we have talked on the phone. She is one of the most caring people I have ever met who has a great love for the University of Lynchburg.”
A native of Lynchburg, Douglas Drysdale attended Lynchburg College from 1941 to 1943, before transferring to the University of Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics in 1944. He served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1947, and earned the rank of first lieutenant.
Following his military service, Drysdale returned to UVa to attend law school, earning his degree in 1953. He practiced law in Charlottesville before co-founding Caplin & Drysdale, Attorneys at Law, in Washington, D.C., in 1964. In 2008, Drysdale became a member of the Lynchburg College Board of Trustees and served in that role until 2015.
Drysdale was a cherished member of the Lynchburg family. “His generosity and commitment to improving and enhancing the student experience will have a lasting impact on our campus community,” Dr. Mike Bonnette, vice president for advancement, said.