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W. Weatherford, J. Stephenson, L. Shinn: Whom Shall Berea Serve?

1028 words - 4 pages

In the inaugural addresses of Willis Weatherford, John Stephenson, and Larry Shinn, the sixth, seventh, and eight presidents, the ethos of these three men is examined. Within these addresses, each president states what they feel are the most important aspects at Berea College. In the approaching paragraphs, the three of five aspects found to be most important will be defined: race, region, religion, gender, and class.
Willis Duke Weatherford, the sixth president of Berea College, began quickly in his inaugural address that the ideals of Berea should be carried forward and made larger in the future. He dedicated these ideals to all Bereans: academic quality, education for Appalachian youth, interracial education, the dignity of labor, and the moral and spiritual growth of youth for Christian service. Weatherford discussed that there should be clear objectives for a liberal arts college. He stated that his first main objective is to offer an education adapted to the needs of a changing Appalachia. Weatherford discussed that some felt that Berea should follow in the “mainstream of American higher education” but if this meant dropping Berea’s commitment, service to students in special need, and spiritual growth then he was not willing to go “mainstream”. Weatherford stated,” But I am not content with the single criterion of need--- not when we are running a college to train tomorrow’s leaders--- we should continue and even raise our standards of ability required of entering students. (2)” Weatherford also stressed that providing finding and offering African Americans an education was important and that it should continue to prepare all students for leadership. Weatherford’s second objective was to emphasize education for leadership. He wanted to help nurture a motivation to serve one’s fellow men. He saw this as an important reason for maintaining some extension service in the Appalachian area. Weatherford’s third and last objective was an education for moral and spiritual growth. He found that Berea must respect freedom of thought and expression but that Berea should also be unashamed to stand for the “Cause of Christ”. Weatherford stated,” My recipe for academic excellence is a distinguished faculty, an able student body and an atmosphere conductive to intellectual excitement. (4)” Weatherford believed that these ideals were what Berea College should abide by (1-4).
Dr. John B. Stephenson, Berea College’s seventh president, began his inaugural address by quoting William Hutchins and President Frost. These quotes were saying that the tasks before Berea will be difficult and even seem impossible at times. Stephenson discussed how Berea is within a world of never-ending changes in technology. He found that within this technological world that most institutions of higher learning were too preoccupied with survival to be visionary. He discussed Clark Kerr, former president of the University of California, and the projections he had for the next 12...

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