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Student Life Center Named for Trustee Barbara Hodel

November 2nd, 2007

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

Barbara Hodel Student Life Center in progress

The Patrick Henry Board of Trustees has named the College’s new, $31 million student life center after long-time trustee member Barbara Hodel. The decision was made at the October Trustees meeting. PHC Chancellor Michael Farris, along with Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, presented Mrs. Hodel with an honorary, framed picture of the new student center, now under construction, on Nov. 2 at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver, Colo.

Barbara and her husband, Don, have supported the College almost since in inception, and have helped guide PHC through many transitions, challenges, and successes in its first seven years. In August of this year, Barbara fell down the stairs of their Colorado home and was airlifted via “Flight for Life” to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver.  In late October she moved to Craig Rehabilitation Hospital.

Mrs. Hodel is mostly paralyzed from the neck down but has made encouraging progress in recent weeks, thanks to the hospital staff, her husband Don’s devotion, and the steady stream of prayers and support coming from loved ones and well-wishers across the country. 

Both Don and Barbara have been involved in government and politics most of their adult lives. Don was appointed Secretary of Energy (82-85) and Secretary of the Interior (86-88) by President Ronald Reagan, and together they have served as volunteers 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.  In all endeavors, Barbara and Don have served together as a husband-and-wife team in the truest sense.

Barbara Hodel

After reading about Patrick Henry College for the first time in the fall of 1999, Barbara Hodel contacted Mike Farris for more information about the school and his plans for training the next generation of leaders. She was inspired by the vision for the College and offered to help. Mike asked her to join the PHC Board of Trustees and she accepted.

“Mrs. Hodel has been a source of tremendous wisdom and experience on our board,” says Dr. Farris. “She and her husband, Don, have been involved in public service and ministry for most of their adult lives, and their friendship and support for PHC has been invaluable.”

Barbara Beecher Stockman was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Illinois and Maryland. She attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts and married Don in her senior year. The Hodels moved to Oregon after graduation and started a family; Mrs. Hodel became a full-time mom to their two sons. Although she had been 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 where she has spoken at evangelistic meetings and prayer breakfasts. The Hodels have appeared on Focus on the Family broadcasts with Dr. James Dobson to encourage families who have lost loved ones to suicide.

In view of  Barbara’s service  to the nation, the Christian community, and Patrick Henry College, on September 13, 2007 the Patrick Henry College Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name the new student center The Barbara Hodel Center, in her honor.

Proposed Funding Schedule

Architect's rendition of the finished Barbara Hodel Student Life Center

The college has received gifts and formal pledges for the new Hodel Student Center totaling just over $15 million, toward the projected full cost of $31 million.  This enabled construction to begin in December 2006.  Presently the full foundation is in place and structural steel has been erected, outlining the structure.  Students’ enthusiasm is high as they watch the building emerge dramatically from the ground.

Due to the no-debt policy of PHC, we are using a phased-construction method to complete the building. As new funds are given or pledged, the construction schedule is adjusted.