With the future on their minds, Methodist College spring
ethodist College graduated 187 students at its 38th spring commencement May 5. That is the largest number graduated to date. New beginnings and happiness were the subjects of the baccalaureate sermon and the commencement address, respectively. In the baccalaureate sermon, the Rev. Tommy Herndon, a 1970 graduate of Methodist, spoke of John Wesley’s new beginning after his conversion experience at Epworth. Now serving as District Superintendent of the Portsmouth District, Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, Herndon told members of the graduating class that the Methodist church began as a youth movement. “As young adults you have much to offer,” he said. “God calls each of us to a new beginning each day.” Herndon related an anecdote about a young Cub Scout and his father whose wooden car won the preliminary heats one evening in a Pinewood Derb , but lost in the final race the next day because their competitors went home and lubricated their cars. “They lost because they sat down and rested,” he said. “Like cars, we all need tweaking and lubrication.” Herndon prayed that the graduating seniors would greet each day as an opportunity for a new beginning and grow daily in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. In a far-reaching commencement address about the pursuit of happiness, Dr. Benjamin Dunlap, president of Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, said Aristotle defined happiness as self-actualization or realizing one’s full potential in life. “I hope that Methodist College has taught you to be Christian or Wesleyan capitalists,” he said. The former English professor quoted the following lines from Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of Myself”: “Do you see
Rev. ommy Herndon
D . Benjamin Dunlap
O my brothers and sisters? It is not chaos or death—it is form, union, plan—it is eternal life—it is Happiness.” “That’s my motto,” said Dr. Dunlap. He then offered 22 “useful observations” about happiness which he said were gleaned from 40 years of personal experience. Dr. Dunlap concluded by advising the graduating seniors to: “Get your priorities straight. Keep your creativity alive. Nurture your idealism. Keep the faith.” Following this advice, he said, would reveal the truth of Walt Whitman’s thesis that the pursuit of happiness is what ennobles human existence. Prior to the awarding of degrees, two graduates of the Army ROTC program—Monica R. Rigaud and Ronald M. Rigaud—took the Oath of Allegiance. College President M. Elton Hendricks received the flag of Belarus from Svetlana Kurs and subsequently awarded her the L. Stacy Weaver Award, denoting her selection by the faculty as the senior who best exemplified academic excellence, spiritual development, leadership and service. Dr. Hendricks presented an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree to Dr. Bill Harrison, superintendent of the Cumberland County Schools. Harrison is a 1974 graduate of Methodist. President Hendricks also presented Methodist College Medallions to Dr. Dunlap and the Rev. Tommy Herndon. Among the 187 graduates, 48 graduated with honors, 20 cum laude, 11 magna cum laude, and 17 summa cum laude.
Faculty Marshall Elaine Porter leads the Class of 2001 processional.
D . Hendricks presents the Stacy
Award to Svetlana Kurs, a music major
—Photos by Theresa Dwenger
Methodist College Today