College Hosts 128th Spring Commencement, Saturday, May 17, Honorary Degree Awarded to Mingo Countian

For Immediate Release: 
May 19 2003

College Hosts 128th Spring Commencement, Saturday, May 17, Honorary Degree Awarded to Mingo Countian

Athens, W.Va. - 9:55 a.m. Guests were searching feverishly for the best seat in the main gymnasium of the Carter Center at Concord College to watch their special graduate receive a diploma from Concord College. A chill was in the air and the skies were gray, babies cooed and relatives chatted in Spanish, Indian, and of course, English, waiting on the processional to begin.

Dr. Andrew Necessary conducted the Concord College Concert Band, and Dr. Paul J. Kane provided the opening and closing mediation.

President of the College, Dr. Jerry L. Beasley thanked the commencement committee and maintenance staff and introduced the special guests of the College.

“You are tomorrow’s leader only if you choose to wait,” Beasley told the 262 candidates for graduation.

Honorary Degree Conferred

James Howard “Buck” Harless, Gilbert, W.Va., received the Doctor of Business Administration Honoris Causa from College officials.

“Recognizing your vision and talents, many of our nation’s highest political leaders, including presidents and governors, have sought your advice, and you have given much time to volunteer service on numerous boards and commissions. For your achievements in business and for your outstanding public service, we welcome this opportunity to bring you into our fellowship and to have a respected West Virginian inscribed on our rolls,” stated President Beasley, as Concord College Vice President & Academic Dean, Dean Turner and Terry R. Sammons from Gilbert, W.Va., and a member of the Higher Education Policy Commission draped the academic hood on Mr. Harless.

Greetings Extended

“There are economic and political problems in West Virginia, but we should not forget the positive things, the beauty of Athens and Concord, and the quality of higher education in West Virginia … Concord is the gem. Concord graduates generally excel in their chosen field,” stated Delegate Donald T. Caruth, who brought greetings from the State of West Virginia.

Concord Board of Governors Secretary James L. Miller asked the candidates for graduation, “Are you emotional? Are you happy? Are you apprehensive? Mixed emotions are normal and expected. Concord has challenged and nurtured you. Be confident in your education and your abilities to handle your challenges.”

President of the Faculty Charles H. Brichford stated that, “As a faculty we share a fascination for learning. We are grateful to you for the opportunity to teach. You have used Concord to get an education, education may help you get a better job.”

“You are moving out and you are moving on!” exclaimed President of the Alumni Association Beryle C. Santon. “Remember you are a graduate of UCLA—University of Concord Located in Athens! Some will go to graduate school and some will go on to the job-“less” market—we want you to keep in touch wherever you go.”

Three graduates gave valedictory addresses.

Spaska (Patsy) Dvoiachka from Bulgaria spoke of her experience in Athens: “The veil of loneliness and uncertainty was replaced with blue skies.”

Jamie Hypes from Bluefield, W.Va., noted that her father was a Mountain Lion who started a family tradition, “He has size 12 shoes that aren’t easy to fill.”

Prerna Khemka from India said that, “I was overwhelmed by the change in culture, but warmed by the people I met. Education means celebrating your differences.”

President Beasley closed by saying: “The person you see in the mirror tomorrow morning may be your next great teacher.”