By Keith Lawrence Messenger-Inquirer
“If you want rain, just schedule a Kentucky Wesleyan College commencement,” KWC President Bart Darrell told a standing-room only crowd Saturday morning inside the college’s Jones Gymnasium.
For the fifth time in six years, he said, the commencement exercises had to be moved from their traditional setting in the college’s Hocker-Hall Grove into the gym because of rain.
But a steady rain didn’t dampen the excitement for the 125 members of the Class of 2016 or their family and friends at the school’s 148th annual commencement.
Lydia Dorman, a member of the Class of 1982, traveled halfway around the world to deliver the commencement address.
She’s currently senior vice president of human resources for the Coca-Cola Co. in Japan.
“I would move Mount Fuji (the tallest mountain in Japan) to be here today,” Dorman said.
She challenged the graduates to get a passport and see the world.
Dorman has worked for Coca-Cola in England, Ireland, Denmark, Canada and Japan and traveled the world on business and pleasure.
Later this year, she will carry the Olympic torch for 300 meters in Brazil.
“Volunteer and pay it forward,” Dorman told the graduates. “Treasure family and friends.”
But most important, she said, “You made it!”
KWC presented Dorman with its honorary doctor of laws degree.
Also receiving honorary degrees were Randall Capps, a 1957 KWC graduate who is currently with the Leadership Strategies Group in Bowling Green, doctor of humanities, and Dr. Angelos Stergiou, a 1997 KWC graduate who is now CEO and chairman of Sellas Life Sciences Group in Zug, Switzerland, doctor of science.
The KWC Class of 2016 headed in a lot of different directions when it left the Owensboro campus Saturday.
Yorell Brand of San Antonio, Texas, came to KWC on a football scholarship.
He’s leaving to become a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
“I want to keep the world safe for my future children,” Brand said. “I want to make a difference.”
Simeon Pogue, a Grandview, Indiana, native and president of the Student Government Association, works part-time in the KWC public relations office.
“I’m hoping a full-time job opens up,” he said. “I want to stay here. These have been the best four years of my life.”
Arielle Heflin of Fordsville is hoping to find a job in elementary education.
“I loved it here,” she said of her time at KWC.
Darrell said the college’s commencement was moved up two weeks from its traditional Mother’s Day weekend to allow graduates to get on with their lives sooner.
The winter break was shortened to make up the difference, he said.
Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, firstname.lastname@example.org