BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College’s heritage and history as the oldest degree-granting institution in West Virginia were in the spotlight Thursday, March 6 as the College celebrated its 168th anniversary. A Convocation and wreath-laying ceremony highlighted the annual Founder’s Day ceremonies.
Founder’s Day is traditionally observed at Bethany on the first Thursday of March. Bethany College received its official charter from the Legislature of Virginia on March 2, 1840. The charter was affirmed on June 20, 1863 by the Legislature of the newly-formed state of West Virginia.
Bethany College President Dr. Scott D. Miller presided over the formal Convocation at historic Commencement Hall. The program included the installation of Student Government Association officers, special music from the Bethany College Choir, student speakers and recognition of those students “distinguished in scholarship” for the fall semester of the 2007-08 academic year.
Dr. Thaddaeus B. Allen ’92, Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia, was the featured speaker for the audience of students, faculty, staff and guests. His address was titled, “These Hills and Streams Can Bring Out the Courage Within Us.”
Glenn Wright, a Political Science Major from Mattaponi, Va., was installed as the new student body president with Mary Lu Adams, a Psychology Major from Valley Grove, W.Va., installed as vice president. Dexter Meyers, chief justice of the Student Government Association, performed the installation of officers. Wright also gave the dedication of the day.
Dr. Michael P. Mihalyo, Jr., Provost and Dean of Faculty, recognized the students who had been judged “distinguished in scholarship” and named to the Dean’s List for the fall semester. Professor David J. Rudari, Director of the College Choir, led the group in a performance of “Va, Pensiero” from Verdi’s opera, “Nabucco.” The invocation was given by The Rev. Sarah Webb, Pastor of Bethany Memorial Church and Chaplain of the College.
Many of the guests from the morning Convocation reassembled in the afternoon for the traditional wreath-laying ceremony. Because of weather, the service was held in the historic Old Meeting House and the wreath was later placed at the gravesite of Alexander Campbell (1788-1866), the College’s founder and first President. Dr. Miller, the College’s 19th President, presided over the service. Wright, as president of the Student Government Association, placed the wreath at the site. Remarks were offered by The Rev. Andrea Brownlee, Pastor of the Big Run Christian Church in Cameron, W.Va.
Campbell Cemetery is located near Campbell Mansion, which dates back to the 1700s and is one of Bethany’s National Historic Landmarks. Guests were invited to tour Campbell Mansion following the wreath-laying ceremony.