BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College’s historic Oglebay Gates swung wide on Friday as the College marked the start of the 2008-09 academic year in traditional fashion with a formal Matriculation Convocation. Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College, was joined by the faculty and staff in the ceremony which added 317 new students to the campus community. It is the second-largest incoming class in three decades at Bethany.
“We welcome you to our historic small college of national distinction,” Miller said. “Bethany is a place of academic rigor that is rich in history and tradition but also poised for the future. You’ve made the right decision in choosing to enroll at a transformative time in the life of this 168-year-old college. We’re delighted to have you as part of our dynamic, vibrant and spectacularly beautiful mountaintop community.”
The ceremony began with the incoming students marching in a processional through the Oglebay Gates up the hill to the quadrangle behind Old Main. President Miller and Glenn Wright, President of the Student Government Association, officially welcomed the students. Michael Mihalyo, Provost and Dean of Faculty, presented the formal charge to the faculty to honor its commitment to the entering class. Elizabeth de Jong, Dean of Students, presented the formal charge to the students to honor their commitment to education.
The Convocation concluded with a time-honored ritual as each new student signed the Bethany College Book of Matriculation in a tradition that dates back to the late 1800s. While the original book was destroyed in a fire, the custom continues to be followed nearly 170 years after Alexander Campbell founded the College.
During his welcome, President Miller quoted an excerpt from Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig’s Commencement Address to Bethany’s Class of 2008. Selig, who received an honorary doctorate from the College this spring, counseled the College’s most recent graduating class about the necessity of challenging the status quo and embracing change. Miller encouraged the incoming students to have the courage to take risks that will help them grow personally and academically over the next four years.
“H.L. Mencken wrote, ‘There are many simple solutions to complex issues — and all of them are wrong,’ ” Miller concluded. “Resist the impulse to resort to simple and obvious solutions to the challenges facing the nation and the world today. Try something new. Reach beyond your comfort zone and reach out to others. Above all, enjoy the journey!”