If you find yourself fortunate enough to attend a Voices of Appalachia concert, you will undoubtedly hear a performance by the Alfred & Shirley Wampler Caudill Acoustic Instrument Ensemble. Today, we would like to introduce you to the man who began support for this group of talented young individuals, in honor of his parents.
Meet Dr. Donald W. Caudill. Dr. Caudill is a professor of Marketing at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. Born and raised in the heart of Appalachia, Dr. Caudill is no stranger to the hardships and adversity that must be overcome in order to succeed in the world. When a high school guidance counselor discouraged him from attending college because of the size of his parents’ bank account, he began to work that much harder. Dr. Caudill can relate to many of our students on a very personal level, as he was the first in his family to earn a college education.
When Dr. Caudill learned that Alice Lloyd College was a work-study college, where all students work as a condition of enrollment, he felt even more compelled to give. Dr. Caudill says, “I enjoy work. It is a major part of my life. All work has dignity.” And, although he believes that all students should understand the value of hard work, he also says that he does not believe anyone can be successful without others helping them out along the way. We are very thankful for Dr. Caudill and the support that he has extended to help our students out along the way.
When Dr. Caudill decided to give back to the world around him, he decided that he wanted to do so in honor of those who had sacrificed for his successes – his parents, Alfred & Shirley Wampler Caudill. Not only are his gifts to ALC in honor of his parents, but every gift that Dr. Caudill gives is in their honor because he says that they “taught him how to live.” While neither Alfred nor Shirley had more than an eighth grade education, they taught Dr. Caudill from a young age the importance of education. “Education is the only realistic way out of poverty,” says Dr. Caudill.
Not only is Dr. Caudill a successful, educated man, but he is also a man with a strong faith in God. He does not take credit for the accomplishments that have come his way, but says that every achievement has been by the grace of God. “Be willing to listen to the still inner voice of God, because it’s so accurate,” says Dr. Caudill.
As Ms. June once said, “Mrs. Lloyd knew and I did too, that Almighty God would continue to send friends to keep this miracle alive.” We believe that Dr. Caudill, like so many others, is a friend sent by our God to keep our miracle on Caney Creek alive and thriving, even 100 years later. Dr. Caudill would say to anyone considering becoming a friend to the college, “Gifts to ALC will not be squandered on superfluous items. I truly believe that all gifts are used for worthwhile and much needed purposes.”