BETHANY, W.Va. – Rev. Bernard “Chris” Dorsey, president of Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), addressed Bethany students at the College’s 2015 Fall Convocation Sept. 10 in Commencement Hall.
Rev. Dorsey, an ordained Disciples minister who has served as president of HELM since 2014, titled his address “Heritage, Education, and Progress.”
Dorsey discussed how the Stone-Campbell movement, of which Bethany College founder Alexander Campbell was a part, was also a social movement. The founders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Dorsey explained, were part of a minority who believed faith could move society forward.
“They were committed to the kind of progress that would enable this country to live into its potential,” he said.
“Despite what the majority said about slavery, these are people who knew that slavery trampled on the rights of the minority. Despite what society said, these were people who knew that women who were excluded from the right to vote deserved full participation in society. These were the causes that people of the Stone-Campbell movement championed.”
They also committed themselves to education, he said, as they knew it was integral to shape society. “It was Alexander Campbell who said churches and colleges go hand-in-hand in the advancement of civilization. It was about wholeness of the person – physical, intellectual, moral religious. It was about the moral formation that happens with a great liberal arts education,” he said.
During the ceremony, the College also recognized achievements from the spring semester.
Katrina D’Aquin, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty and Sarah B. Cochran Professor of Psychology, announced Dr. John Burns, Professor of Biology, as the recipient of the John R. Taylor Memorial Award in Liberal Arts.
Dean of Students Gerald Stebbins announced the recipients of the Anna Ruth Bourne Award, the W. Kirk Woolery Award and the Richard B. Kenney Freshman Leadership Award.
The Anna Ruth Bourne Award is given each semester to the women's social group maintaining the highest scholastic standing. This semester’s award went to Alpha Xi Delta. This semester’s W. Kirk Woolery Award, given to the men's social group maintaining the highest scholastic standing, was presented to Beta Theta Pi.
The Richard B. Kenney Freshman Leadership Award went to sophomore Taylor Sasak. It is given annually to a student who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship, leadership and character at Bethany in the previous year.
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 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.