5946Matriculation1.jpgBethany College Welcomes 350 New Students for 2010-2011 Academic Year

BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College marked the start of the 2010-2011 academic year with a formal Matriculation Convocation August 21. Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College, was joined by the faculty and staff in the ceremony that added over 350 new students to the campus community, making the past three new-student classes the largest three consecutive enrollment years on record.

“You’ve made the right decision in choosing to enroll at a transformative time in the life of this 170-year-old college, and we are delighted to have you as part of our vibrant and spectacularly beautiful mountaintop community,” Miller stated in his welcome address.

9855Matriculation2.jpg“One of the greatest privileges I have as president of Bethany College is to welcome new students to our campus, because your introduction to college sets the tone for the next four years of your life,” he continued. “I know that right now, four years probably seems like an eternity for many of you. But rest assured, the time will go by very quickly, and my fondest hope is that we will all be back here together again in 2014 to celebrate your graduation.”

Saturday’s ceremony began with the incoming students — including 290 freshmen, 39 transfers and 26 graduate students — marching in a processional through the Oglebay Gates up the hill to the College’s new Dr. Fred H. Tilock ’54 Amphitheatre behind Old Main. The amphitheatre was funded by a donation from brothers in Bethany’s Beta Theta Pi Psi Chapter, and its opening was celebrated August 16 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Matriculation Convocation was the first formal event to be held there.

President Miller and Bethany Stickradt, President of the Student Government Association, officially welcomed the students. Dr. Darin Fields, Vice President for Academic Affairs 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 — a tradition that dates back to the late 1800s. While the original book was destroyed in a fire, the custom continues to be followed more than 170 years after Alexander Campbell founded the College.

During his welcome, Miller noted the exceptional achievements of members of the College’s newest class, which brings Bethany’s total enrollment to more than 1,000. Students from across the United States and throughout the world include graduates of West Virginia’s Governor’s Honors Academy, Kalon Scholarship recipients, a veteran, scholar-athletes and many individuals with strong backgrounds in the fine and performing arts.

“Enrollment, diversity and accomplishment are real sources of pride, as your class is among the strongest in 40 years at Bethany,” he stated.

Referencing the value and distinction of a Bethany College education and quoting former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Miller said, “’A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably.’ We believe that your Bethany education will help you achieve this definition of maturity.”

Miller challenged his listeners to seize the many opportunities for academic and personal growth available at Bethany, concluding, “So, in your four years here, try something new, stretch beyond your comfort zone, reach out to others — and above all, enjoy the journey!”

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.