The members of the senior class had a moment to reminisce, while 400 new students were challenged to think about their leadership opportunities as the 143rd academic year of Martin Methodist College officially began with Opening Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 23.
As is the tradition for this event, the seniors processed in and were seated beside the faculty, while the new students sat in the lower section of seats in the Curry Christian Life Center. Total enrollment is expected to be about 1,075 students for the 2012-13 year.
In her brief address, Teri-Beth Thompson, a senior from Waynesboro, Tenn., who is serving a second year as president of the Student Government Association, welcomed the freshmen and transfers and then reminded her fellow members of the Class of 2013 how far they had come in their time on the Martin Methodist campus.
Then came the challenge, and it was delivered by Byron Trauger of Nashville, who serves as chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees.
“Today we celebrate the arrival on campus of the newest members of the Martin Methodist College family, the freshman class,” Trauger said. “The Class of 2016 . . . the largest class in the history of Martin Methodist College.
“I challenge you to be a leader,” he said. “Not a leader in the ordinary sense of the word, someone who stands at the head of the parade. Not everyone can be that person. Not everyone can be the president of the Student Government. Not everyone can be the president of the college.
“But John Quincy Adams described leadership this way: ‘If your actions,’ Adams said, ‘inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.’ For Adams, leadership is not defined so much by what you do as by what you inspire others to do,” Trauger said.
The board chairman also had high praise for one particular campus leader, Ted Brown, who – now in his 14th year at Martin Methodist College – is the longest serving president in the school’s history.
“The Martin Methodist College trustees do a lot of important things,” Trauger said. “We help set the strategic direction of the college, we raise money, and more. But far and away the most important thing the trustees do is to elect and support the college president. And I hope that you all agree with me that we have done a great job in electing and supporting one of the most effective liberal arts college presidents in the United States of America in Dr. Ted Brown.”
The roaring ovation left no doubt that the students were in total agreement.
Classes began as the Opening Convocation came to a close on Thursday, and the final event of the 11th annual Martin Pride Days – the Beach Party on the Courthouse Square – was held that evening with the help of the Giles County Chamber of Commerce.
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