Student Life Center Named after Faithful Friend
With steel girders rising and its imposing frame filling the skyline south of Founder’s Hall, Patrick Henry College’s new student life center has been given a formal name: the Barbara Hodel Center. At its fall meeting, the college’s board of trustees voted unanimously to name the 106,000-square-foot structure after its longtime trustee.
Thanks to the Finish the Foundation campaign, the Barbara Hodel Center should be completed by fall 2009.
Mrs. Hodel first learned of the honor at a November 2, 2007, surprise ceremony at Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado, where she is convalescing from a serious neck injury. PHC Chancellor Michael Farris, along with Focus on the Family Founder Dr. James Dobson and his wife, Shirley, presented Mrs. Hodel with an honorary framed rendering of the new student center, currently under construction.
In August 2007, Mrs. Hodel fell down the stairs of her Colorado home and was airlifted via Flight for Life to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver. In late October, she moved to Craig Hospital for rehabilitation. Mrs. Hodel remains mostly paralyzed from the neck down, though according to her husband she has made encouraging progress of late.
Dr. Farris paid the couple a visit shortly after the accident, and was struck by what he witnessed.
“Whereas I might have expected to find the couple wrestling with fear, anger, and uncertainty,” he recalled, “I found that, together, Don and Barbara were a portrait of incredible peace and composure. The serenity I saw on Barbara’s face and in her whispered words became, to me, the closest example I have ever known of genuine, Christlike joy in troubling circumstances.”
Farris added, “Mrs. Hodel has been a source of tremendous wisdom and experience on our board, and even in this latest ordeal remains an inspirational model for us all. From the very beginning, the Hodels’ friendship and support for PHC have been invaluable.”
Both Barbara and her husband, Don, have been involved in government and politics most of their adult lives, Don having served as Secretary of Energy (1982-85) and Secretary of the Interior (1986-88) under President Ronald Reagan. Together they’ve volunteered for a number of Christian organizations, including the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family, where Don served as president and CEO until February 2005.
Barbara Beecher Stockman was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She married Don in her senior year. They moved to Oregon after graduation, where they had two sons and Mrs. Hodel became a full-time mom. Although raised in a religious home, she did not put her personal trust in Jesus Christ until after their older son took his own life. Following this tragedy, Mrs. Hodel became active in church and various other Christian ministries as a speaker at evangelistic meetings and prayer breakfasts. The Hodels have appeared on Focus on the Family broadcasts with Dr. James Dobson, encouraging families who have lost loved ones to suicide.
“Our decision to honor Barbara in this fashion is made in recognition of her many years of service to us and the Christian community in general,” said Dr. Farris. “There will be a display in the student life center’s lobby telling the Hodels’ life story, with an emphasis on the power of God they are demonstrating through this latest trial.”
David Halbrook is director of communications at Patrick Henry College.
Challenge Gift Assures Completion of Barbara Hodel Center
A longtime supporter of Patrick Henry College has made a pledge guaranteeing the completion of the new Barbara Hodel Center.
From left, Mike Farris, Don Hodel, Shirley Dobson and Dr. James Dobson gather to present Barbara Hodel, center, with a print of the building named for her.
‘FROM THE BEGINNING,
THE HODELS’ FRIENDSHIP
AND SUPPORT FOR PHC
HAVE BEEN INVALUABLE.’
Due to the college’s no-debt policy, the Barbara Hodel Center is being built under a phased construction plan; up until January 2008, the college had received gifts and formal pledges totaling just over $15 million toward the projected full cost of $31 million.
The generous new commitment ensures that the student life center will be completed by the start of the fall 2009 semester.
“We have received a generous guarantee of full funding for the Barbara Hodel Center,” PHC Chancellor Michael Farris told students at a packed chapel service on January 21, 2008. “It constitutes a foundational moment in the life of the college, securing the completion of a wonderful new facility that will become the centerpiece of campus life.”
The guarantee comes in the form of a “challenge grant”—called the Finish the Foundation campaign—meant to enlarge the college’s existing donor base while solidifying the long-term fiscal health of PHC and its annual scholarship program. For the next 12 months, the college, including staff, faculty, and students, will focus energy and resources toward growing the existing base of financial donors from 1,500 to 5,000.
“It will require every student, parent, alumnus, faculty member, staff member, and friend of the college to invite others to join them in making a gift to PHC to secure our scholarship program and meet the challenge for our new building,” said Dr. Farris.
Extending heartfelt thanks to the donor family who demonstrated care and
concern for PHC through this incredible gift, the college invites all who support the mission and vision of Patrick Henry College to join in the Finish the Foundation campaign. To read more about this exciting new development, and to learn how you can participate, please visit the PHC foundation webpage.