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Mid-Year Graduates Say Goodbye

Berea College's mid-year graduation marked an important transition for students and families.

Graduate Ross Overbey Sings the Farewell Alma-Mater

As I watched Berea Students somberly yet purposefully traverse the aisles of Phelps Stokes Chapel for a final time, I realized the finality yet unbounded possibility of those who now constitute that amorphous and enigmatic group called alumni. These students who have hinged their lives and futures on Berea College were encouraged by the inspiring words from alumni and successful recording artist and writer Bill Edd Wheeler that "Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice." Wheeler’s use of the famous William Jennings Bryan quote was intended to encourage the graduates to recognize the power of coincidence that he calls "God winks".

Listening to Wheeler's clichéd but wise words I realized how coincidence tames and guides uncertainty into a destiny that although invisible is, nevertheless, present. That destiny for many of my departing friends is upon them and for me is on the immediate horizon. Graduation, beyond its ceremonial trimmings, seems to inherently contain a necessary closure that ushers the indication of impending change.

All of these students come from the economically underprivileged families and many are the first college graduates. Our demographic representation encompasses the gamut of possible ethnic groups and nationalities that have now one thing in common: what Wheeler calls "Berean-ness". I know from experience that the education they have received has transformed them in ways permanently etched into their lives.

For those departing we wish them the best and, in the words of Wheeler's closing song, we add "God hath made of one blood all the nations of mankind to live as brothers on the earth. So fare you well…brother . . . fare you well."

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