Thanks to President Lyle and First Lady Luarie Roelofs and their staff for this photograph taken Saturday morning, August 15th, at Berea College as they welcomed our grandson from Costa Rica, David Newswanger, to be part of the largest freshman class in Berea history. They awarded David a four- year scholarship to study computer programming with an emphasis on sustainability, robotics, networking, and mathematics applied to the environment. For the first semester he will take swimming. Luarie Roelofs seems to us to be serving as David's senior adviser. Ruth and I drove him from Wilmington, Ohio, to Berea, Kentucky, to serve in his orientation, in place of his parents who are in Costa Rica.
At Wilmington College, I founded the Agriculture Department in 1948. It was modeled after and inspired by the strong Farm Management Program then existing at Berea College. For the past 14 years I have served as a Trustee at Wilmington. Therefore, I know that its President, Jim Reynolds, was also hard at work Saturday morning welcoming what also will probably be Wilmington College of Ohio's largest freshman class, and directing the work of Wilmington's new program called the Institute for Sustainability and Engagement (WISE). It has a curricular concern similar to what David will be studying at the famed Berea program. Both presidents are top notch and I was impressed that President Roelofs was called to Berea from his position as Provost of Haveford College.
President Jim Reynolds on the other hand came to Wilmington to be its Vice President of Academic Affairs, served five years, and now for two years as President. He presides over a campus much younger with newer buildings and more complete college infrastructure than Berea. Wilmington has a huge athletic facility, with one of Ohio's award winning sports management, athletic training, and physical therapy programs in a well-maintained building and will soon add two more. Jim Reynolds, humbly and quietly put into place more than 100 elements which I consider to be extremely positive for a new Wilmington College with a mission of, "Make a Living, Make a Life and, Make a Difference- through Hands on Learning, Hands on Living."
Berea's motto is simply, "Make a Difference", and they've been doing that down there for more than 100 years, with some of the wealthiest people in the world providing major financial assistance in order to make a difference in the mountains of Appalachia.
In Wilmington, a new Center for Science and Agriculture will be dedicated in August of 2015. At the same time, a physical therapy/sports management building will be constructed to house three key private health care providers in Southwest Ohio; Clinton Memorial Hospital, Beacon Orthopedics, and Drayer Physical Therapy. It will also contain an indoor, artificial turf area, nearly half the size of a soccer field, designed for all sports activities and practices during inclement weather. Jim Reynolds is a man of very few words, but you can count on every one of them. The first thing that he did when he became President was to establish a feeling of complete trust and openness. After that, he rebranded the college with its new logo, showing hands made into a "WC". One of the more recent things he has done is to allow the Trustees, who care to do so, to help the administration implement programs where it is appropriate and legitimate for them to be involved.
Both Berea and Wilmington, I feel, are among the World's front runners in Higher Education.