Thornburgh Gives Fall Convocation Address at Bethany

BETHANY, W.Va. — Former United States Attorney General and Pennsylvania Governor Richard L. “Dick” Thornburgh helped Bethany College mark the start of its 169th year on Thursday by delivering the Fall Convocation address to students, faculty, staff and friends of the College. Thornburgh was also conferred with an honorary Doctorate of Laws by Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College, during the ceremony held in Commencement Hall at historic Old Main.

“Richard Thornburgh has been a highly-respected leader at the national and international levels and has actively promoted education, economic development and welfare throughout his outstanding career,” Dr. Miller said. “We are pleased and honored to welcome him to the Bethany community.”

A moment of silence was observed during the ceremony in honor of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Thornburgh referenced the anniversary of the tragedy in his talk, which was titled, “Doing the Right Thing and Doing the Thing Right.”

“It has been seven years since Americans were introduced to the violent world of international terrorism,” Thornburgh said, “yet hardly a day goes by without a reminder of the foreign terrorists who took the lives of 3,000 ordinary citizens. It’s highly likely the next assault will also come in a wholly unexpected manner so we must be vigilant and expect the unexpected from those who would do us ill.”

“Being effective means doing the right thing. Being efficient means doing the thing right. Our leaders must demonstrate integrity, accountability and civility and we must achieve full participation by all citizens in the political process. At no time in our history has that challenge been greater,” Thornburgh concluded. “I wish you Godspeed and great success in using your education to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

A Pittsburgh native, Thornburgh is a graduate of Yale University who earned his law degree at the University of Pittsburgh. He served two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania (1979-87) and was United States Attorney General from 1988 to 1991. After leaving the Department of Justice, he spent two years as Undersecretary General to the United Nations before going back into private practice. He is presently employed as counsel of the national law firm K&L Gates, LLP and works out of its office in Washington, D.C.

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. In addition to the main speaker, the College also recognizes high academic achievers from the spring semester.

Lindsay Sobotka of Weirton, W.Va. is this year’s recipient of the Richard B. Kenney Freshman Leadership Award. Sobotka is a Kalon Scholar majoring in Biochemistry. She is active in Sophomore Class Council and the Student Government Association, a member of Alpha Xi Delta, a math tutor and a founder of the pre-medicine club. Her Kalon project, Bethany College Science Day, was a large success. Nearly 10 percent of the participants applied to Bethany College at the event, with many of them now freshmen on the Bethany campus.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the oldest college in West Virginia.