BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College celebrated its 182nd graduating class Saturday in a commencement ceremony in the Hummel Field House with featured speaker Jimmy Veres ‘70, an accomplished media executive.

In his address – titled “What Happens Monday” – Veres urged graduates to make choices and be willing to fail and lose to learn what is right for them. He also encouraged them to embrace and celebrate their Bethany education.

“I want you to trust in your preparation,” Veres said. “I want you to understand that you are ready. You’re fresh. You’re cooked. You’re alive. You’re ready to do what you have to do. … Make your way. Make your choices, because Monday you have this behind you. … You’re elevated. You’re buoyed. You’re held up by a tradition of family, support, friendship and love.”

Veres is an independent consultant to international media. He formerly was an executive for creative affairs for SONY Entertainment, Columbia Pictures and Tri-Star Pictures, and a director of development for Universal Studios.
In the entertainment business, Veres said he always has people pitching ideas to him.

“But we have to slow down and focus on the bigger issue – what is this about?” he said. The experience for the class of 2022 is Act I of a play.

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“You have a unique opportunity, guys, and a responsibility,” Veres said. “The opportunity is to be everything that you can be – all of the other platitudes that you have heard. The responsibility is to hold the hands next to you and bring them with you. Keep in touch. Be a Bethanian of true value, which is part of that family. … I urge you to hold that hand, keep that name on your list of people to connect with, and you’re going to do great.”

Veres also urged graduates to reach out to him.

“Nothing thrills me more than to help a Bethanian get from A to B,” he said. “Bethany is an energy that needs to be perpetuated.”

Bethany Interim President Dr. Jamie Caridi presented Veres with an honorary doctorate of communications.

Allison Paxton, of Canonsburg, Pa., offered the senior class greeting by answering the often-asked question, “Why Bethany?”

“The truth is that it is home,” Paxton said. “Home is a place, but more importantly home is the relationships. They say, ‘Home is where the heart is,’ and I know that mine is located in the people who have helped me become who I am today. … I have come to understand that it is my friends, my professors, my coaches and my Special Olympics athletes who influenced me to stay.”

At least one person at Bethany left a lasting impression on each of her classmates, she said.

“I challenge you to reflect on and remember why you chose to stay and be a part of something special,” she said. “Bethany is more than a place. It’s a home, and that’s why we’ll always be #ONEBethany.”

Caridi also addressed the class of 2022.

“This is what you’ve been working toward for so long,” he said. “This is what all of those late nights, early morning study sessions, papers and assignments, meetings and classes examinations, and nobody-asked-for-them comprehensive exams.”

He then asked the graduates to stand and recognize those who helped them along the way and offered encouragement to Bethany’s newest alumni on their endeavors.

“You have proven time and time again that you are ready for anything,” he said.


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.