Bethany Announces Speaker for 175th Founder’s Day Celebration 

BETHANY, W.Va. – David Jolliffe, a 1974 Bethany College graduate, author and professor of English at the University of Arkansas, will be the guest speaker at a celebration held to honor Bethany’s landmark 175 years as a small college of national distinction. The event will be held March 5 at 11 a.m. in Commencement Hall.

Jolliffe will present a speech titled 'The Well-Read, Well-Spoken Citizen:  Important to Cicero in 55 B.C.E., Important to Alexander Campbell in 1842, Important to Us Today."


“We look forward to this day each year, but this Founder’s Day is even more exciting, as it marks a milestone anniversary for Bethany College,” said Bethany College President Dr. Scott D. Miller. “The College is proud to celebrate our 175th anniversary as the oldest college in the state, and we are looking forward to welcoming back a successful alumnus to celebrate with us.”

Jolliffe, who serves as the Brown Chair in English Literacy at the University of Arkansas, began his career as an educator at Triadelphia High School and then at Wheeling Park High School, where he taught both English and theatre.

He has authored or edited 13 books and more than 40 articles on the history and theory of rhetoric, the teaching of writing, and the preparation of writing teachers. His office sponsors the Arkansas Studio Project, which offers arts-infused literacy-enrichment activities in secondary schools in Springdale, Arkansas.

A magna cum laude graduate of Bethany with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Jolliffe also earned a Master of Arts in English from West Virginia University in 1980 and a doctorate in English from the University of Texas in 1984.  He has taught at West Virginia University, Bethany, the University of Texas, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and DePaul University. He began his work as the Brown Chair, with the mission to promote critical and effective literacy among Arkansans, in 2005.

He acts regularly with The Classical Edge Theatre Company, which offers free, outdoor productions of William Shakespeare’s works in Northwest Arkansas and throughout the state.  In the summer of 2015, the Brown Chair will co-sponsor a summer drama camp at the University of Arkansas for students who attend small, rural high schools in the Arkansas Delta.

Jolliffe has been actively involved with the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Program since 1992.  He served as Chief Reader for AP English Language from 2003 through 2007 and again from 2010 through 2011.

A wreath-laying ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Campbell Cemetery, weather permitting. The wreath will be placed at the gravesite of Alexander Campbell (1788-1866), Bethany College’s founder and first president. Guests are invited to visit the Campbell Mansion, one of Bethany’s National Historic Landmarks, following the ceremony.

Founder’s Day at Bethany College is observed on the first Thursday of March. The College received its official charter from the Legislature of Virginia March 2, 1840. The charter was affirmed June 20, 1863, by the Legislature of the newly formed state of West Virginia.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.