Weaver Chapel rung with praise at this year’s Honors Convocation on Friday, April 11.
The march of scholars and leaders into the chapel, both faculty and students, reminded attendees of the pride Wittenberg community places on its members’ achievements.
An opening prayer lead by Pastor Anders Tune wished departing students well as they continue on to lives of fulfillment and acknowledged the blessing of having the knowledge and skills to make meaningful dents in the world.
President Joyner noted that the Honors Convocation shared its day with the second annual Celebration of Learning. The event served as a testament to the varying nature of a liberal arts education, which Joyner says “frees the mind to deal with complexity and diversity.”
One of those complexities to deal with, as Joyner somberly pointed out, is “the only constant: change,” a nod to the seniors’ impending transition out of Wittenberg.
Through the ritual of expedited award delivery and mispronounced of names, students were honored for their academic achievements, such as initiation into academic honoraries or maintaining the highest GPAs of the their honorary or class.
Polis House was celebrated for maintaining the highest GPA of the residence halls for this year, and sorority Gamma Phi Beta for the Greek organizations.
But perhaps more poignantly, many of the awards acknowledged the knack for service and leadership students had within their departments and the Springfield community. From excellence in peer mentoring to involvement with at-risk youths in Springfield’s juvenile justice system, the awards were as diverse as the education they celebrated.
Faculty members also received accolades for their contributions to enriching young minds. Dr. Julius Bailey, professor of philosophy, received that Omicron Delta Kappa Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, and Dr. Catherine Waggoner, professor of communications, was honored with the Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching.
JoAnn Bennett, the director of the office of international education, was also presented with The Lillian C. Franklin Diversity Award for her “commitment to the education of the whole person, global vision and leadership.”
The convocation’s finale was the announcement of the 2014-2015 Alma Lux and Alma Mater, Audrey Owens and Joseph Germano respectively.
The closing procession trailed out of the chapel, carrying with it the light to navigate “the only constant: change.”