BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan College celebrated its 128th Commencement ceremony on May 4. Three hundred thirty-eight students with majors from fine arts to athletic training were presented with well-deserved and hard earned degrees.
The processional started with Pomp and Circumstance being played by the WVWC Symphonic Band. The procession was led by a cross which symbolizes the college’s Methodist heritage. The bearer of the cross for the ceremony was Rae L. Emrick, assistant professor of Exercise Science. Following in the procession and representing the class of 1969 was Christine Rapking Cox. Next in line was mace bearer, Stephen E. Cresswell, professor of History. Following in the processional line was the head marshal Joseph Wiest, professor of Physics. The rest of the faculty followed robed in colors, gowns and full of pageantry. The attire lended an air of formality dignity to the ceremony.
After the national anthem was sang and an invocation was given by Lauren Weaver, Dr. Carol Rapking greeted all students, friends, and family. Joel Theirstein also gave a welcome and congratulations to all the students. He then announced Wesleyan will honor three candidates with Honorary Degrees. Those candidates were Dr. Deborah Trautman class of 1980, William B. Grant class of 1975, and Roger Humphries.
This was followed by Dr. Trautman, who gave the Commencement Address. Dr. Trautman is well respected in her field. She is a prominent speaker, executive, and author on health care and public policy, Dr. Trautman spoke to all the graduates about their role as they begin their new chapter in life. She reminded them that their knowledge and inner spark were like fireworks that shined for everyone to see. She also told them that sharing their knowledge is their responsibility to the world. In turn, they should also lean from others who may have knowledge to share with them. “Life will open doors as long as you take opportunities and meet challenges that lay before you,” Trautman said. She told the graduates they now join a group of previous Wesleyan graduates who have achieved greatness personally and professionally.
The graduates were then called to the stage one at a time in order to receive their diplomas. With lots of enthusiasm, cheers, and smiles the procession went on until all graduates had been announced and diplomas were in hand. Once seated and the auditorium settled down, President Thierstein announced, “Graduates please move your tassels from the right side of your cap to the left side.” This announcement was greeted with yet more enthusiasm.
Michael Winters, President of the Senior Class, then made a statement on behalf of the graduating class. He sincerely thanked staff for all they do at WVWC. “You are there for students, and you really care,” Winters said. Jesse Ketterman, President of the Alumni Council, then wanted to thank alumni who attended the ceremony along with veterans and their families. He wished all the graduates the best in their future and reminded them, “Do not forget that you are now forever in a select group called West Virginia Wesleyan College alumni.”
The Concert Chorale then performed their rendition of My Home Among the Hills before the final benediction was given. The graduates filed out after the staff processional to the Symphonic band playing The Viking. They were congratulated by alumni, faculty, and administration for their many accomplishments and achievements. Parents, friends, and family were also there to find and meet their graduates.