BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College marked the start of the 2015-16 academic year on Aug. 21 with a formal matriculation convocation held at its Dr. Fred H. Tilock Amphitheatre at the Pennington Quadrangle.
Interim president Sven de Jong was joined by the faculty and staff in the ceremony that added more than 270 students to the campus community. This year’s student body includes learners from 21 states and 5 foreign countries.
The afternoon began with the new Bethanians walking in a processional from the brick road in front of the Benedum Commons through the historic Oglebay Gates up the hill to the Pennington Quadrangle, a long-standing Bethany tradition. Following matriculation, the Class of 2019 will not walk through the Oglebay Gates together until graduation.
Looking back on his own experiences while a student at Bethany, de Jong told the incoming class that they should strive to take advantage of the many opportunities the College offers.
“Never again will you have such an unparalleled environment in which to expand your horizons, take calculated risks and find new passions,” de Jong said.
“If you seize the many and diverse opportunities for campus and community service, you’ll find that your time at Bethany will pass quickly, but it will also form the foundation of some of your most satisfying memories.”
Andrew Parson, President of the Student Government Association, also welcomed the students. Dr. Katrina D’Aquin, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, presented the formal charge to the faculty to honor its commitment to the entering class. Gerald Stebbins, 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 175 years after Alexander Campbell founded the college.
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.