First Person: Trust in Me and I’ll Trust in You


Billy Hackenson ’13

The last line of my Davidson admission essay read, I “realize that the heart of the Davidson campus belongs to all those who live there; encouraging and challenging each other to enjoy and experience life to the fullest.” As I look around the Alvarez College Union, my observation is spot on; some walk by engaged in academic conversation, and others are focused on their closed-book review. We are a group of diverse, genuinely talented students who stand by the values of ambition, inquisitiveness, and spirit. So what keeps us standing together and as one community? Trust.

We hear and see trust more than once a day here. Whether it’s hearing the tour guide tell families about professors trusting students with takehome reviews, or seeing backpacks lined up outside Vail Commons, trust is all around.

Just as the Honor Code trusts us to follow its principle, every one of us here is trusted by Davidson through one particularly unique way, The Davidson Trust. Davidson’s financial aid policy continues to open doors for talented students from every background to learn and cultivate passions. It prepares graduates to chart their future on the cornerstone of respect, honor, and integrity. Truly, it is the timeless, classic Davidson experience that is sustained through The Davidson Trust.

It is only fitting that we, the students, give back to the Trust. It is in this spirit that a band of students have come together to express more than just thanks—we’re hosting events and raising awareness of The Davidson Trust so it can continue to provide the Davidson experience to every deserving student. Our first event was February’s Dinner at Davidson—a dinner and silent auction designed to raise money for The Davidson Trust. I stumbled upon the Dinner at Davidson Committee early in my time here, and found it to be the perfect “first step” in getting involved. I joined the small committee in roles for publicity and local business solicitations.

Our committee always enjoyed plenty of both work and play at our Wednesday 10 p.m. meetings; we’d typically not get back to the dorm until midnight. The preparation for February’s dinner was definitely a learning experience; roadblocks were followed by quick action to keep the event alive. For me, going door-to-door on Main Street to solicit auction donations exposed me first-hand to the college’s relationship with the town. Day one, I walked back to campus with two $10 gift cards; day two, a generous business owner donated art and services valued at $500.

With one week to go before the dinner, the guest list stood at eight—yes, you read that right. An all-out blitz ensued to get community members to the event, and with hard work and a little luck, we managed to host 115 guests. The night featured music from student groups and stories from Davidson students and professors that highlighted their passion and love of Davidson. Guests enjoyed the silent auction, too; ask Dean Shandley about the fierce bidding war for his pottery! All in all, every person left smiling, and we sent a check for $3,500 to The Davidson Trust. The evening demonstrated to all that we, the students, are not only thankful for The Davidson Trust, but committed to supporting future generations of Wildcats.

As I turn my attention back to the Union, I can’t see who is a beneficiary of The Davidson Trust and who isn’t. But I can see a living tapestry of Davidson’s present and future, growing intellectually and personally. I wonder, what would my Davidson experience be if it weren’t for The Davidson Trust? Who would be sitting with me in class, or living next door in the dorm? Even though I am among the Davidson students who don’t receive financial support from The Davidson Trust, everyday I grow, expand my horizons, and cherish relationships more and more because of it. The people around me make me who I am, and I have The Davidson Trust to thank for the result.


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