Despite the bitter winter weather we’ve experienced at Bethany in recent months, the College has enjoyed some exceptional achievements that warm the hearts of Bethanians everywhere.
Celebrating our 174th anniversary on Founder’s Day, March 6, we welcomed back to campus Jeffrey Seglin, a 1978 graduate of Bethany College, who counseled our students to “be curious and be kind.” A lecturer in public policy and Director of the Communications Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government who writes the popular “The Right Thing,” a syndicated weekly column on general ethics distributed by Tribune Media, Jeff recounted numerous instances from his student days at Bethany which inspired this advice. These included taking classes that ignited his own curiosity and experiencing the kindness of professors and others in the nurturing environment that is Bethany College.
This semester we have welcomed the publication of a new work that offers rich detail about our history, traditions, and culture. Bethany College: A Liberal Arts Odyssey, by former President Dr. D. Duane Cummins and published by Chalice Press, appears on the eve of our 175th anniversary in 2015. Dr. Cummins has produced an exceptional narrative that unites our past and present within the context of our enduring liberal arts mission. “Bethany College,” he writes, “was the product of (Alexander) Campbell’s passion for educational reform, his high aspirations for humanity and his resolute respect for human dignity. He believed in the superiority of the ‘whole person’ over the ‘specialist.’”
Can any more appropriate words be written that describe what we seek to achieve each year at our College?
Another exceptional publication, just out, is Dr. Larry Grimes’ Hemingway, Cuba, and the Cuban Works, a collection of scholarly and journalistic essays edited by Dr. Grimes and Bickford Sylvester, and published by The Kent State University Press. A noted Hemingway scholar, Dr. Grimes, Professor of English Emeritus at Bethany and currently our Director of Church Relations, inspires all of us to continue learning for a lifetime. The Bethany College Alumni Council Board of Directors has established the Larry E. Grimes Lecture Series, honoring this influential professor who taught Bethany students for 39 years.
A notable achievement by another Bethany College faculty member was celebrated in Charleston, West Virginia, on March 11. Dr. Lisa Reilly, the Goulding-Woolery Professor in Chemistry and Associate Professor of Chemistry at Bethany, was honored as one of five finalists for The Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia 2013 Professor of the Year. The occasion marked the third time in five years that a Bethany faculty member was recognized by the Foundation for outstanding teaching, scholarship, and service. Biology professors John Burns and Albert “Jay” R. Buckelew were finalists in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
We congratulate Lisa not only for this recent honor, but also for her total commitment to her students. “Clearly one of the best professors I’ve ever had,” one student wrote in support of her nomination. I am sure many other students would agree.
A highlight of every spring at Bethany is the Oreon E. Scott Lectures. Dr. Charisse L. Gillett will deliver the 59th annual Oreon E. Scott Lectures to be held this year on April 28-29 at Bethany’s Mountainside Conference Center. Dr. Gillett is the 17th president of Lexington Theological Seminary, with more than 20 years of successful administrative experience in higher education. She holds a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University.
This year’s lecture series is titled “Sustaining Pastors in Ministry: Key Factors in Clergy Health and Wellness.” We look forward to welcoming Dr. Gillett, her husband the Reverend Dr. Donald K. Gillett, II and all who will be participating in and attending this year’s Scott Lectures.
Finally, as we look ahead to the close of another exciting year at Bethany College, we thank you, our alumni and friends, students, families, faculty, and staff, for your steadfast support of the College. Your letters, emails, calls, messages, and encouraging words mean so much as we work through the busy spring season at Bethany. In the spirit of Jeff Seglin’s Founder’s Day address, we rejoice in the coming together of curiosity, kindness, goodness, and a commitment to excellence that define Bethany and Bethanians. This spirit, which sustains our institution through every season, becomes especially meaningful at this time of renewal, rejuvenation, and celebration.
Have a wonderful spring, and we’ll be in touch from A Small College of National Distinction.