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The World Will Be Better Because You Are in It

“The World Will Be Better Because You Are in It”

Athens, W.Va. - Concord College President Jerry L. Beasley welcomed a standing-room-only crowd to the Alexander Fine Arts Center as the College community celebrated the achievements of 117 candidates for the December 2001 graduation.

The Concord College Brass Quintet, under the direction of Conductor Andrew Necessary played several selections including Fanfare by Handel and My Spirit Be Joyful by Bach.

“Your stay here is short,” commented Beasley. I ask you to touch the depth of truth—don’t forget why you came here—and, depart the place to better serve human kind.”

“Our reward and satisfaction comes from seeing you attain the title of graduate,” stated Margaret Sayre (class of ’84), vice chairman of the Concord College Board of Governors. “The Board hopes that the high ideals of education and community service will remain with you.”

“All education is basically ‘self-inflicted,’” noted Dr. Charles Brichford, president of the faculty, as the audience joined him in a moment of laughter. “Your habit of thinking critically will serve you well.

“The world will be better because you are in it.”

Dr. Beryle Santon (class of ’50), brought greetings from the College’s alumni association, Anne Grace-Lile gave the invocation and the benediction, and Dr. Dean Turner, vice president and academic dean, presented the candidates to the president for the conferring of the degrees. Dr. William J. Ofsa, professor of English, served as grand marshal.

Bettina Werner from Mt. Hope, W.Va., gave the valedictory address.

“I was told if I don’t try, I won’t succeed.

“Unfortunately, much wrong is spread about my Muslim religion. Prejudice is easily spread and Muslims—and others—are the victims of such prejudice, but my experiences here at Concord have told me that there is tolerance.

“Is that not the true reason to go to college? To understand others? Are we just studying to hold a job? No. We are learning to think critically and objectively and draw our own conclusions. Knowledge is power. How one uses the knowledge is our own decision. The result of education is to promote understanding, empathy and tolerance.”


Photo: Bettina Werner gave the valedictory to the College. She majored in psychology and plans to go to graduate school.