BETHANY, W.Va. – Dr. Linda Lewis, Professor of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, addressed a packed Commencement Hall during Bethany College’s Fall Convocation on Thursday, Sept. 11. The Convocation celebrated the opening of the College’s 2014-15 academic year, which begins the year-long celebration of the College’s 175th anniversary.
The convocation was convened by Bethany President Dr. Scott D. Miller who said that the campus community “greets the new academic year with optimism and pride in remaining one of America’s pure, and most dynamic, liberal arts colleges.”
Dr. Lewis, who graduated from Bethany College magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1961, titled her address “Bethany College in the World.”
Her parents having come from Kentucky and southern Ohio, Dr. Lewis said that when she was in the first grade, her family moved to Beech Bottom. She later graduated from Wellsburg High School, and then she enrolled at Bethany where she “grew and matured.”
“Bethany College’s role in my education surfaced again at WVU (medical school)…I had the opportunity to apply for an international foreign medical fellowship.” She said that Bethany put her in touch with the Disciples of Christ missionary office in Indianapolis. “From that came four months working in a mission hospital in India, half way round the world.”
“You have that same opportunity,” she told the Bethany students, “to travel and learn about our global community and our responsibilities.”
She challenged today’s students to “look up” from their personal technology, “reflect and learn to think critically without your thumbs always doing the work!”
Dr. Lewis has shared her expertise in various academic roles at Columbia since 1969, including as Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs. She’s also taken her knowledge abroad, serving as a visiting professor at universities in Israel, Lebanon and Iran.
She has received many awards throughout her career, including the Distinguished Teacher Award from the College of Physicians and Surgeons and Outstanding Woman Doctor of the Year. She also serves as a member of Bethany’s Board of Trustees.
The Fall Convocation is an annual tradition at Bethany, welcoming students back to campus and bringing the entire College community together to celebrate the start of a new academic year.
Bethany, a small college of national distinction, is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus. Bethany, the oldest degree granting institution in West Virginia, was founded in 1840 and traces its origins to the founding of Buffalo Seminary in 1818 at what was then Bethany, Virginia.