BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College President Scott D. Miller has announced that the College’s annual Commencement activities will be held May 16-17, 2008.
A Baccalaureate service is set for Friday, May 16 at 8 p.m. in Commencement Hall at the College’s historic Old Main. The Rev. Thomas E. Johnson Jr. of Pittsburgh, Pa. will deliver remarks to the graduating seniors. Johnson is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who has served as pastor to Allegheny United Church of Christ and the East Liberty Presbyterian Church. He graduated from the College of Wooster in 1977 with a B.A. in English and earned his Masters in Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1992.
President Miller will host a brief reception honoring parents and members of the Class of 2008 on the front lawn of Old Main immediately following the Baccalaureate service.
Commencement activities for the Class of 2008 will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 17 on the Quadrangle of Old Main. Honorary degrees will be presented to two men who have achieved distinction in their fields. Receiving Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters will be Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig and The Rev. Thomas E. Johnson Jr.
Commissioner Selig will deliver the Commencement Address to the Class of 2008, titled “Baseball As A Metaphor For Life.”
Selig was elected the ninth Commissioner of Major League Baseball on July 9, 1998 after serving a similar role as Chairman of the Executive Council of Major League Baseball following the resignation of Fay Vincent in 1992. Credited for bringing Major League Baseball back to his hometown of Milwaukee, Selig led a group that purchased the bankrupt Seattle Pilots franchise in 1970. Selig served as owner and president of the Milwaukee Brewers until being elected Commissioner.
His tenure as Commissioner has spanned a period of unprecedented transformation and growth for the sport. Some of the changes instituted under his watch include revenue sharing, three-division play in each league, the addition of wild-card playoff teams, regular season interleague play, the merging of the National and American Leagues under the Office of the Commissioner, home field advantage in the World Series for the league that wins the All-Star Game and a stricter drug testing policy for performance-enhancing substances.
Selig has presided over an era in which Major League Baseball’s revenues have increased by more than 400 percent. Selig is credited with encouraging the wave of new stadium construction that has played a key role in the sport’s rapid growth. A total of 15 new stadiums have opened since Selig took the reins in 1992 and the Mets and Yankees are scheduled to move into their new homes next season.
He sits on the Board of Directors for the Green Bay Packers, Inc.; Marcus Corporation and the Oil-Dri Corporation of America. Selig is also a member of the Board of Visitors for the Department of Political Science and the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin. He is a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the Boys and Girls Clubs Board of Trustees, a founder of Athletes for Youth and was instrumental in establishing the Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Fund.
Selig earned a bachelor’s degree in American History and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1956.
The Rev. Johnson, the Baccalaureate speaker, is Head of School and Co-Founder of The Neighborhood Academy in Pittsburgh, Pa. In 1993, he founded The Neighborhood Academy Summer School in the basement of Allegheny United Church of Christ as a summer remedial academic program serving students from low-income neighborhoods. The Neighborhood Academy Summer School gained national attention and served as a pilot for what is now the Neighborhood Academy.
The Neighborhood Academy opened on Sept. 12, 2001 and is a college preparatory school serving students and families representing a cross-section of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. It has now had four graduating classes with members of its first graduating class on course to graduate from college in the spring of 2009.
In addition to his work at The Neighborhood Academy, The Rev. Johnson speaks to audiences across the region about issues concerning education and low-income youth. In 2005, he was honored through the Local Ministries program at the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) General Synod in Atlanta, Ga. for “Excellence in Teaching.”
Weather permitting, the Alumni Association will sponsor a brief reception on the front lawn of Old Main immediately following Commencement for the Class of 2008 along with their families and guests. A special Commencement Day Luncheon will be provided in the main Dining Hall from noon to 1:30 p.m. for members of the graduating class and their guests.
A small liberal arts college of national distinction, Bethany was founded in 1840 and held its first Commencement on July 4, 1842. It is the oldest degree-granting institution in West Virginia.