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BC Holds Mid-Year Graduation Ceremony

On December 10, Berea College held its 2006 mid-year graduation ceremony to congratulate students on their hard work and persistent work ethic. Students and family members gathered in Phelps-Stokes Chapel to cheer on friends and loved ones embarking on a new journey.

Dr. James L. Powell, a 1958 Berea College graduate 1958 and a Professor of Physics at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., provided the keynote address. During his speech, Powell acknowledged that attending Berea's preschools, Foundation School and college had fostered a fondness for Berea’s past and its present. Powell also recognized the long history he has shared with Berea’s current president, dating back 37 years to his time at Oberlin College in Ohio.

Providing a scientific look on the world, Dr. Powell addressed science’s current issues concerning global warming, focusing on how these issues will impact graduates and their futures. Educating others on the affects and outcomes of science has consumed much of Powell’s career since earning his Doctorate from MIT. In recognition of Dr. Powell’s hard work as an educator of science, President Shinn presented Powell with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science.

The afternoon's events were led by Berea President Larry D. Shinn. In his welcome, Shinn reminded graduates of the key pillars to peace in today’s world, saying, “We as a people should forgive our past, never dehumanize those we dislike and listen to opinions that may differ from our own.” Shinn’s discourse echoed commitments of Berea College, which promote impartial love amongst all people.

The graduation ceremony also featured two selections by Berea College's Concert Choir, led by Dr. Stephen Bolster, "Swing Down, Chariot" and "A Clare Benediction."

As graduates were led out of the chapel, parents and friends crowded around to snap pictures, squeeze in a last hug and wish them the best before departing.

At the close of finals week, the December graduates will go their separate ways, some venturing into the workforce, and others, like law school-bound Airzola Cleaves, will pursue higher education. Rebecca Wiltberger, a Magna Cum Laude graduate, said, “I hope to attend graduate school in Chicago and receive my Ph.D. in English.”

When asked what advice she had for those graduating in May, graduate Lekeishua Authur, said, “Have fun and don’t stress, enjoy it, but be glad when you walk across the stage.”

As the sun set on Berea, new graduates embraced their degrees, their dreams and their futures and turned toward a new horizon.

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