BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College class of 2025 officially began their college experience Thursday as they entered the Historic Oglebay Gates during an abridged matriculation ceremony.

Heavy rains this week coupled with COVID-19 precautions prevented Bethany from hosting its traditional ceremony in the Pendleton Quadrangle.

Instead, the members of the class of 2025 proceeded through the gates and divided into groups to enter Commencement Hall.

Bethany College President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg delivered a short welcome, acknowledging the obstacles of the last year.

“As I look out today, I not only see incoming first-year students; I also see incredible individuals who will dare to stretch themselves, lift others up, partner with one another, and serve with excellence and passion,” she said. “You will climb here, and in so doing, you will embrace our mission, grow yourself, and become members of the graduating class of 2025.”

Photos from Matriculation

Photos from Move-in

Each student then signed the Book of Matriculation, a Bethany tradition that dates to the late 1800s.

Matriculation capped a long day for the incoming students who moved into their campus housing Thursday morning.

On Friday, the freshmen will begin Camp Bell, a three-day orientation process that familiarizes them with the campus and allows them to meet their classmates.

Fall classes begin Monday.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.