Bethany in October is especially beautiful. The Aleece Gresham Garden and Fountain accentuate the splendor of the College during autumn. In fact, when he was on campus to speak to our Communications and Media Arts students recently, Steve Rotsch, Governor Joe Manchin’s photographer, found artistic fascination in the picturesque mountain roads leading to our scenic campus.
Amid this natural magnificence, the campus reverberates with activity as alumni and friends return for College events. I continue to be inspired by the level of involvement and support from our dedicated, accomplished alumni.
Homecoming here takes on special meaning, with a pervasive sense of community and continuity. This year’s celebration included the crowning of Queen Caroline Hoag, granddaughter of good friend and supporter William R. “Bill” Hoag who passed away in September at 87. Remembered as a man who lived life to the fullest, Bill was a generous and visionary leader, and a proud member of the Bethany Board of Trustees for many years. A Purple Heart veteran of World War II, he also received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Bethany College in 1990. Hoag Field on campus is named in his honor. Caroline, a Kalon Scholar and the daughter of Susan Castriota and Richard Hoag of Upper St. Clair, Pa., is a communications major and visual art minor. She represented the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.
King Christian Johnson of Greensburg, Pa., an interdisciplinary major in social studies, education and special education, and the son of Monica and Art Johnson, represented the independent student body.
Homecoming 2010 was also a time to recognize outstanding accomplishment. Eight classes held reunions, with four Bethanians inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Class of 2010 features baseball player T.J. Billiard (’95), softball player Shelley Cooper (’95), football player Vince DeStazio (’78) and football player and track and field thrower Richard Villani (’81).
The 1980 cross country team, coached by legendary Olympic medalist Dave Wottle, was recognized on the 30th anniversary of its appearance in the national championships.
The football team, with a decisive Homecoming victory, is poised to complete its best season in more than a decade. In addition, women’s volleyball is turning heads with a stellar 20-win season. With several matches still to play, the Bison netters are having one of the best volleyball seasons in Bethany history.
The fall meeting of the Board of Trustees in October brought together 26 individuals who give of their time, talent and personal resources as we work together to build a better Bethany for the future. We are fortunate to have built a Bethany Board of national and international significance, leaders who make time in their global careers to serve Bethany with distinction. Several, including Chair Greg Jordan ‘81 and Vice Chair Bob McCann ‘80, our 2010 opening convocation speaker, have recently been recognized nationally: Greg, in the Pitt Law Magazine and Bob, as the Irish America Magazine Wall Street 50 2010 honoree.
October concluded with two special events featuring alumni, both exemplifying the value added of a Bethany liberal arts education. The second annual Keresty Lecture in Journalism, funded through the estate of the late Bethany graduate John G. Keresty ’63 and other gifts, was headlined by Dave Sims ‘75,
TV voice of the Seattle Mariners, National Radio Voice of NFL Sunday Night Football and an Emmy Award-winning sportscaster. Communications alumna Sandra Block, a columnist for USA Today, inaugurated the series with her address last year. An exclusive UBS webcast focusing on the global economy and taxes hosted by alumnus Bob McCann ’80 that included former President Bill Clinton was aired October 27 in Wailes Theatre.
Both events showcased the global presence of Bethany’s alumni, whose professional careers began on this small campus of national distinction. Moreover, these special presentations benefited from revitalization of the Department of Communications and Media Arts, now located in its new center in Bethany House where all campus media operations, faculty offices, graphics labs and conference areas are consolidated. Reflecting dramatic changes in media, WVBC has become an Internet-only radio station. “Going global” via the Web will benefit communications students with up-to-date learning and internship options. In coming weeks an application will be added so that our constituencies will be able to listen to the station on Blackberry, iPhones, or any hand-held device.
Bethany students continue to advance through another tradition: volunteer service. This fall, among many such activities, Bethanians supported the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Another group of ten student volunteers spent fall break in Nashville volunteering time for Habitat for Humanity by completing six houses for families in need.
We’ve heard a lot about change from candidates and public officials on both sides of the aisle this fall. Through individual leadership and initiative in their professions and respective communities, our Bethany students, faculty and alumni bring about positive changes on their own. In a nation hungry for good news and strong leadership, we can all be proud of the tangible contributions that Bethanians make each day.