The culture of Davidson drew in Paul and Rodanthe Hanrahan and their family from the start, and two of their three children decided to make it home for four years. Kaley graduated in 2014, and Chris is a member of the class of 2018.
“What I love about Davidson is that is reinforces the message we’ve been trying to give our kids since they were little,” said Rodanthe. “We all have a responsibility to use the gifts and opportunities that are given to us to have a positive impact in our local communities and in the region and, potentially, in the world. Davidson embraces that concept.”
The Hanrahans live this message, and they have made Davidson the beneficiary of their philanthropy. Included in their gifts to Davidson was generous support for the newly opened E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Center. The couple believes the way a space is set up is critical to making the idea of interdisciplinary study, teaching and learning successful.
“So much of what happens in a building is about who you bump into on your way to get coffee,” said Paul. “Academics is about much more than books or a computer. It’s about interacting with others and learning about what they’re doing. Those chance meetings can lead to meaningful conversations.”
“We both have bachelor’s degrees in science,” said Rodanthe, “and we would have loved to have learned in a facility like the Wall Center. So often, schools are full of ivory towers and lacking in collaboration. This center will help break down those barriers and enrich the educational experience of many Davidson students.”
Kaley embraced many of the opportunities available to Davidson students during her time on campus, including a summer involved with the Davidson Research Initiative and post-graduate Davidson Impact Fellowship at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Chris is currently participating in the Davidson in India program, one of the longest running study abroad opportunities offered by a U.S. liberal arts institution.
“Initially, the rigor of the academics was an adjustment for both of our kids,” said Rodanthe. “But they buckled down and showed great grit and determination. What I enjoy most is seeing the sense of accomplishment when they get through it. I don’t think either of them has been as challenged anywhere else as they have been at Davidson.”
Looking ahead, the Hanrahans are excited about the increased focus on career development and opportunities for students to connect with the college’s strong alumni and parent network. In addition, the couple hopes other parents will join them in ensuring more people know about Davidson.
“When alumni and parents help students find and secure jobs and internships, it’s a mutually beneficial”, said Rodanthe. The students expand their opportunities while the organizations are introduced to these bright, talented, pre-vetted students.”
“A Davidson education is of the highest quality, but not widely known throughout the U.S. and internationally,” said Paul. “That’s one area where parents can make a huge difference. We can spread the good word about Davidson.”
The Hanrahans live in Maryland and are members of the Davidson College Parents Council.