BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College commemorated its Founder’s Day Convocation on Thursday, Feb. 29, marking a historic moment in the institution’s 184-year history. The event celebrated the vision of founder Alexander Campbell and the resilience of the Class of 2024, while also launching the $20-million Build for a Lifetime campaign to propel Bethany into a transformative future.

In his opening remarks, Bethany President Dr. Jamie Caridi reflected on the legacy of Alexander Campbell’s vision, saying “Today, we stand united in our mission and purpose, firmly planted upon a foundation of academic excellence that is engaging, transformative, and change driven. The Class of 2024, in particular, has demonstrated exceptional leadership and grace, navigating challenges during a global pandemic with resilience and determination.”

The Founder’s Day ceremony featured Dr. Gregory E. Sterling, dean of Yale School of Divinity, as the distinguished keynote speaker. Sterling’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and addressing issues of inequality and injustice resonated with the Bethany community. He especially resonated with Bethanians in his stories of Alexander Campbell, calling him a populist, and democratic— praising his works and his views on the congregation versus the clergy’s power.  

Following the ceremony, Bethany College officially launched the Build for a Lifetime campaign. Caridi said, “This campaign begins a new, phenomenal chapter in the Bethany story. With the support of our alumni, friends, community, and constituents, we aim to build up the next generation of students and leaders, shaping a future of transformation, innovation, and partnership.” 

The Build for a Lifetime Campaign encompasses exciting new academic programs and partnerships, enhanced facilities, renewed annual giving, and deeper investments in recruiting top-tier faculty and staff. The campaign is a testament to Bethany College’s dedication to retaining its founder’s values while boldly charting a course for the future. 

Founder’s Day concluded with a range of events, activities, games, networking, and engagement opportunities, showcasing the Bethany spirit. Attendees were encouraged to participate in the festivities, honoring the College’s rich history while embracing the vision for its future.