BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College has scheduled in-person baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies May 7-8 for the classes of 2021 and 2020 with COVID-19 health and safety precautions in place.

Senator Joe ManchinBaccalaureate is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, May 7, and commencement for 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8, in Bison Stadium. The college will also live-stream the ceremonies for those who are unable to be on campus; live-stream details will be released closer to the ceremonies.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) will deliver the commencement address. Manchin was sworn into the U.S. Senate in 2010, filling the vacancy created by the death of Sen. Robert C. Byrd. Manchin is the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He serves on the Senate’s appropriations, armed services, and veterans’ affairs committees.

A Farmington, W.Va., native, Manchin is a former state legislator, who also served six years as governor. His wife, Gayle Connelly Manchin, is a Bethany College trustee.

The Rev. Brian McVey, a leading advocate in the fight to abolish human trafficking and rector at the Church of the Advent Episcopal in Nashville, Tenn., will preside over the baccalaureate ceremony. In 2014, he was among the 20 members of the ecumenical Consultation on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking at the Vatican.

In addition to honoring its current graduates, Bethany has extended an invitation to members of the class of 2020. After shifting to online instruction last spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bethany replaced its traditional graduation celebration with an online degree conferral.

To ensure the health and safety of graduates and their guests this year, Bethany has capped the number of guests to eight people per graduate. Attendees must maintain social distance and wear masks at all times.


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.