Bethel’s commencement speaker, Mark McCormick, tackled what seems to be the looming issue for the class of 2009 in the United States: the economy.
But the career journalist deliberately gave his address a title -- “The Caring Economy” -- that could be read several ways, and treated the topic with a twist that seemed to resonate with his audience.
McCormick was speaking to the 116th graduating class, with ceremonies taking place for the second year in a row outdoors in Thresher Stadium Sunday afternoon, May 24. The second-year tradition of a peal of bells from the electronic carillon atop Memorial Hall marked the much older tradition of the graduates’ march around the Green, led by the commencement speaker, administrators and faculty.
As the procession entered the stadium, Director of Church Relations Dale Schrag ’69, as he did last year, rang the bell that has marked the “opening of school” since the mid-1970s and which the 119 graduates would have heard right before the first convocation of the school year when they arrived at Bethel as freshmen or new transfers. There was also a new ritual added to commencement: touching a threshing stone, the same one freshmen touch as they are welcomed to campus at the first convocation.