BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College officially opened the 2016-17 academic year during the College’s Annual Fall Convocation on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 11 a.m. in Commencement Hall.
The event featured an address by Rev. Thaddaeus B. Allen, Regional Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia, a presentation of faculty and student achievements, as well as remarks from Bethany’s administration.
Dr. Tamara Rodenberg, President of Bethany College, welcomed faculty, staff and students back for the 2016-17 academic year. She then introduced Bethany Board of Trustees member Jhamal Robinson who gave greetings from the Board.
Robinson, Senior Vice President Production Management US Networks, Discovery Communications, talked about his time as a 1998 Bethany graduate and how his Bethany education propelled him to reach much success in his career.
“On behalf of the Bethany College Board of Trustees, I welcome you all to the 2016-2017 academic year,” Robinson said.
Allen, a 1992 Bethany graduate and Board of Trustees member, then gave his address titled “Together We are Stewards of Bethany Pride.”
Allen defined Bethany “Bison Pride” as having the characteristics of self-respect, respect for others, a strong student-professor relationship, generosity, possibility and global citizenship.
“I think Bison Pride includes a sense of learning and growing that is life-giving and transformative,” Allen said. “Our work here is to transform lives and to help people grow. We have to plant the seeds and to make the future great and to take full advantage of everything given in the moment.
We need to look for the moments that take your breath away – the world needs to hear from you,” Allen continued. “The gift of Bison Pride can change the world.”
After graduating from Bethany with a degree in accounting, Allen went on to receive his Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Currently, he studies for his Doctorate of Ministry degree at Lexington Theological Seminary.
In 2008, Allen was consecrated and installed by General Minister and President, the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins at the Regional Assembly.
Previously, Allen was the pastor of the Madison Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Huntington, West Virginia; Big Run Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Cameron, West Virginia; and Bethany Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in New England, West Virginia.
In addition to being a member of the Bethany Board of Trustees, he is also on the Board of Directors of the Pension Fund, Disciples of Christ Historical Society and the West Virginia Council of Churches.
During the ceremony, the College also recognized student and faculty achievements.
Samantha Binkley, Chief Justice for the Student Government Association (SGA), installed President Ryan Nickerson and Vice President Andrew Parsons into the SGA office.
Dr. Larry Grimes, Director of Church Relations, Dean of Buffalo Seminary and Emeritus Professor of English, announced the recipient of the John R. Taylor Memorial Award in Liberal Arts, which is named in memory of John R. Taylor, ’44, Professor of English Emeritus at Bethany. This year’s recipient was Dr. Carolyn Kitchens, Assistant Professor of Chemistry.
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 the Phi Mu sorority. This semester’s W. Kirk Woolery Award, given to the men’s social group maintaining the highest scholastic standing, was presented to Delta Tau Delta.
The Richard B. Kenney Freshman Leadership Award is given annually to a student who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship, leadership and character at Bethany in the previous year. This year’s award went to two outstanding Bethany students, Alison Irvin and Alexandra Metz.
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.