Things to Do Before You
Fall has always been my favorite season because it is so rich in
possibility. Bethany has launched this very promising new academic
year with the proverbial “bang,” as former U.S. Attorney
General Richard “Dick” Thornburgh inspired the College
community with his thoughtful remarks at the Opening Convocation welcoming
a new class of 317 incoming students. In many ways, I feel like a
“freshman” myself as I begin my first full year as president
of this fine college of national distinction.
It is gratifying to note the openness and generosity of spirit with
which Bethanians have not only welcomed Annie and me to the mountaintop,
but also accepted the findings of last winter’s institutional
review, a blueprint for our future. A sense of inclusion is among
the hallmarks of Bethany, and it was in that spirit that I released
the entire review to the community. As I reported in my State of the
College remarks, we are well on the way to implementing many of its
recommendations as part of a comprehensive 10-year plan for Bethany.
Meeting with new matriculating students is one of the most pleasant
and rewarding tasks of a college president, and when I did so in late
August, I told Bethany’s Class of 2013 that my counsel is worth
what it cost them. I like to think, though, that my 18 years as a
campus CEO are worth something; one regret I’ve consistently
heard from alumni at all three institutions where I’ve served
is that they wish they had fully capitalized on all that the college
experience had afforded them.
A small liberal arts college like Bethany offers students unparalleled
opportunities to try new things, to push the envelope, to try out
for sports and other activities that perhaps they didn’t attempt
in high school. When I talk with current Bethanians and alumni, they—almost
to a person—cite the out-of-classroom opportunities to enhance
their self-confidence, take a leadership role, and build their interpersonal
skills that their years here provided them. This is true whether they
are a 48-year old international lawyer in a Fortune 100 firm, or a
23-year old recent graduate serving in the Peace Corps in a developing
nation. At no other time in your life will you have such an opportunity
to grow personally as well as academically. So, go for it!
In that spirit, I’ve asked students, staff and faculty who
have been around campus a lot longer than I have to suggest activities
that every new student should try at least once before leaving campus.
Here are a few of my favorite submissions, in no particular order:
- “Tray” down the hill in front of Christman Manor at
- Rush a Greek letter organization, even if you don’t pledge
- Climb the Old Main tower during an evening snowfall and embrace
the serene beauty of Bethany’s timeless panorama
- Tube, raft or canoe down Buffalo Creek
- Come to Bethany Memorial Church one Sunday, or two
- Chase deer across campus during pledge week
- Attend Dr. Grimes’ Halloween ghost stories
- Take a road trip to Pittsburgh to see the Pirates, Steelers and
- Plan, participate in and complete a service project
- Pass through the Oglebay Gates as a freshman
- Pass through the Oglebay Gates as a senior — after surviving
If you’re like me, it’s likely that 20 years out of
college, you may not remember the names of all your professors or
roommates—though Bethanians are noted for possessing extremely
strong memories in those areas—but you will remember the random,
spontaneous campus experiences that formed you as a student here.
It’s often the small, intangible things about a college that
make it memorable—and Bethany’s spectacular historic campus
and location make it especially so.
Perhaps I’ll even try some of the items on the list myself.
Good luck, and remember to enjoy the journey!
Scott D. Miller, Ph.D.
President of the College
To see Dr. Miller's biography:
If you wish to be removed from this mailing list please