By Gary Mitchell
Clovis Community College officials recently received nearly three quarters of a million dollars to complete the construction of the college’s new library and technology center.
Lynell Skarda, Citizen’s Bank chairman of the board, and Kent Carruthers, president and CEO of Citizen’s Bank, presented the college’s board of trustees with a check for $747,242 for the Dr. W.D. Dabbs Library/Technology Center currently under construction at the college.
“It may be the largest gift given to any two-year school in New Mexico,” said Clovis Community College president Beverlee McClure. “It’s certainly the largest gift to our school.”
Clovis Community College trustee Russell Muffley called the Dabbs’ donation “a sizable endowment.”
“The college is very grateful for it,” he said. “It helps us with our new library and technology center, which will be open in the spring semester. The amount was astounding, and I know the money will be put to good use. Our programs are expanding by leaps and bounds. I hope this gift starts a pattern of philanthropic endeavors for CCC in the future.”
Skarda, in presenting the check from the trust fund, called the gift “a memorable occasion.”
“It’s the combination of, I think, the largest philanthropy ever in Curry County, and I think probably in eastern New Mexico,” he said. “It derived from Dr. Walter David Dabbs, a longtime physician who served here in Clovis. He went to medical school in Missouri, graduated from St. Louis University, interned for a year, and came to Clovis in 1927 with Dr. H.A. Miller at the Santa Fe Hospital.”
Dabbs practiced medicine for 57 years, Skarda said.
“He was a great guy,” he said. “We were close personal friends. He was a quiet, stoical, yet wry talker. He was a great sportsman. He knew what was going on around him, and he was a delight to his patients. He was my father’s doctor.”
When the trust fund was initiated 19 years ago, it began with $464,000, Skarda said.
“Through the years, we have given $20,000 to Eastern New Mexico University in 1990, $20,000 to ENMU-Clovis campus in 1991, and in 1995, we gave $60,000 to the ENMU interactive nursing lab,” he said. “In July of 1995, we gave another $40,000 to the interactive nursing network. In August of 1995, we gave $120,000 to the Clovis Community College Dabbs Nursing Program.”
“This is just such a legacy to leave behind,” McClure said. “We named our fund-raising campaign the Legacy Campaign. We could not have done the project without this gift.”
Construction of the library/technology center will be completed in October, but won’t officially open until January, McClure said.
“It’s 28,000 square feet and will house a cybercafe for students, meeting facilities and two-way TV classrooms,” she said. “When we broke ground on this project, we really broke ground on the next 20 years of our future.”
“I think this philanthropy kind of sets a pattern,” Skarda said. “Dr. Dabbs was interested in Clovis, he was interested in education, and he was interested in nursing. I think Clovis Community College has done a splendid job in this regard.”