College has a few goodbyes

Published 6:23 am Wednesday, May 12, 2010

There were a few goodbyes Tuesday evening as approximately 200 of Bainbridge College’s more than 360 graduates went through the ceremony at Memorial Coliseum.

BC President Tom Wilkerson, who gave the commencement address, will retire effective Dec. 31, and when the college holds its next graduation ceremony, it will most likely be in the Student Wellness Center presently under construction at the Bainbridge campus.

Wilkerson stepped back in time—about 25 years ago which is the average age of Tuesday’s graduating class.

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Bainbridge College was only 12 years old in 1985 and had about 657 students. He stated other factual tidbits of the time.

“Yes, 1985 was a very different world from the one we now live in and the one that you will grow old in,” Wilkerson said, adding he wanted to suggest things that would help the graduates find their place in the future.

“I have three very strong suggestions for you graduates tonight: Number 1, adapt to change and make it work for you; number two, set high personal goals for yourself and hold yourself accountable for reaching those goals; and number three, always remember that we are all responsible for each other in this world. Act in accord with that principle,” the president said.

He said the first suggestion is that the only constant in life is change itself.

“The task for you as an educated person is to decide how you deal with change,” Wilkerson said. “Your choices are simple: Sit back and react to change as it occurs or you can manage change to the best of your ability.”

The second suggestion Wilkerson told the graduates and the friends and family attending was to have very specific goals and timelines for meeting those goals.

“Drifting through life is excellent behavior for clouds, but drifting through life certainly is not the mark of an educated person,” Wilkerson said.

The third suggestion, Wilkerson said is that we are, indeed, responsible for each other.

“We are all brothers and sisters and must care for each other in this challenging and difficult world of ours,” Wilkerson said. “The degree to which we will continue to be a strong and vibrant democracy is, in many ways, the degree to which we look out for the lesser ones in our society.”

Wilkerson said Tuesday marked his fifth and last graduation as president of Bainbridge College.

“This time next year, there will be a new president and a wonderful new gym in the Student Wellness Center in the heart of the Bainbridge campus for our graduation ceremonies.”

Student Government Association President Chase Alexander turned his duties over to Janna Simmons Tuesday in a short presentation. Alexander said in a short speech switch negativity out of the graduates’ lives.

“Today is the only day we have,” Alexander said. “Change the channel of negativity and live your life to the fullest.”

Shirley Beck, who is retiring as an associate professor of administrative office technology, was the parade marshal and carried the college’s mace.