BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College will pause on Friday to reflect on the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic and to celebrate the growth and support of the college community in the last year.

“We are very grateful that we have not lost any employees or students to this pandemic in its first year,” Bethany College President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg said. “We are nevertheless mindful that many members of our Bethany family have lost members of their families and their friend networks. There are many who are mourning, and our hearts go out to you.”

When the bells of Old Main ring at noon Friday, the campus is asked to stand in silence and reflect on what the anniversary represents. Those who are not on campus are encouraged to join from wherever they are.

Rodenberg also asked that, after the bells stop ringing, the community join in applause in appreciation of all the essential workers on campus and the help given and received.

Friday marks the anniversary of campus leadership’s decision to extend spring break and keep students home until at least early April, or when normal activities could resume safely. A year later, the college and the country are still adapting to life in a pandemic.

“Bethany College has persisted through this difficult year because our people have persisted,” Rodenberg said. “Our faculty, staff, and students have shown remarkable fortitude and flexibility. We have learned to work together in multiple modalities, and we have learned how to lean on each other even when we cannot connect physically with one another.”

Last year brought new and inventive ways to connect with students, alumni, and community members. In addition to adapting teaching methods, Bethany introduced scores of virtual lectures, recognitions, activities, events, and campus tours.


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.