Graduation Ceremony

Today is the day we all stand and celebrate with our graduates, recognizing their respective journeys at Bethany College and their incredible success.

We know that this time has proved challenging for our community, and especially our graduates, but the Bethany spirit always prevails. Whether in-person or remotely, Bethany goes beyond, and today we want to honor our graduates and officially welcome them into our alumni family.

Please enjoy this commemorative digital presentation allowing everyone to experience graduation as #ONEBethany.

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Baccalaureate Service

As is our tradition at Bethany College, we are proud to present our Baccalaureate Service in honor of the Class of 2020. Our time together is certainly different but never distant, so while this year’s abbreviated service is a digital communication, the desire to share multiple words of encouragement transcends any platform.

We are #ONEBethany, and we are deeply proud of our graduates. Please enjoy our 2020 Baccalaureate Service.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=””][vc_column_text]

Virtual Graduation Festivities Set for May 8 and 9

BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College will celebrate the class of 2020 with digital baccalaureate and degree conferral ceremonies this weekend.

“It is vitally important to honor our graduates, even if we are constrained to do so from far away,” Provost and Dean of Faculty Joe Lane said. “The conferring of academic degrees is a ceremony deeply grounded in the traditions of both Bethany College and our fellow liberal arts colleges across the country and the world.”

Graduation The Rev. Dr. William Barber

Rev. Dr. William Barber

Baccalaureate will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, May 8, with a message delivered by Rabbi Joshua Lief, of Temple Shalom in Wheeling. The Rev. Dr. William Barber, social justice advocate and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., will give the address at graduation, which is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, May 9.

In 2014, Barber founded Repairers of the Breach, a leadership development organization, to expand and build a national movement rooted in moral analysis, moral articulation, and moral action. In 2017, he and colleagues launched a revival of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.

Barber received a B.A. (1985) from North Carolina Central University, an M.Div. (1989) from Duke University, and a D.Min. (2003) from Drew University. He has been a board member of the national NAACP since 2005 and served as the president of the organization’s North Carolina chapter from 2006 to 2017. He is also a distinguished visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary.

Lief studied history at Princeton University and attended Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and Cincinnati, where he was ordained as a rabbi in 2003.

He served a synagogue in Chattanooga, Tenn., and a large temple in Jacksonville, Fla. When the Wheeling native saw a posting for rabbi at his home temple, he and his wife, Rebecca, moved their children to the Ohio Valley in 2016.

Lief is active in community and interfaith relations. He serves on the boards of Wheeling Health Right, Congregations for Caring, the Impact Coalition, the Unity Center, and the Wheeling Rotary Club.

The online degree conferral is a first for Bethany, which in March transitioned to remote learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The digital conferral takes place in place of the originally scheduled May 9 graduation and will include such Bethany traditions as bagpipes, a welcome by President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg, and a “walk” through the Historic Oglebay Gates led by Dean of Students Jerry Stebbins. Lane will also announce the Oreon E. Scott Award recipient, which honors the graduate with the highest grade point average.

“Donning our robes and repeating the ritual language that our founder Alexander Campbell once used reminds us all of the deep traditions and enduring relevance of a Bethany education,” Lane said. “Welcoming our new graduates into the ranks of the Bethanians is truly an honor, even if it is performed virtually. We look forward to celebrating ‘with’ our graduating seniors.”

In addition to Saturday’s virtual conferral, graduating seniors are invited to campus in August to take part in a traditional on-campus ceremony.

Baccalaureate and graduation will be shared on YouTube and through email and social media at their scheduled times.

“Bethany College values the long standing traditions of Baccalaureate and Graduation even as we congratulate our students and their families in absentia. The Class of 2020 is forever bonded and we are remarkably proud of their accomplishments under extremely challenging circumstances,” President Rodenberg 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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]