Promises for greatness were made in Paine College’s Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel on Wednesday.
President George Bradley told students and faculty members it was their collective responsibility to make sure Paine reaches its goal to be a premier liberal arts institution.
This year, Bradley said, he sees a college that does not just confer degrees but also produces graduates who make tangible differences in the communities they live in.
“I challenge each of you to ask yourself each day: ‘What have I done today to make this world a better place?’” Bradley said.
About 350 people gathered in Paine’s chapel to sing, reflect and begin the school year with the annual convocation ceremony.
Students were challenged to be a part of the greatness Paine has in its forecast, while faculty members were recognized for dedication to students.
The Rev. Oscar Brown, an associate professor of English, asked God to make the minds in the audience eager to learn and their “hands willing to work.”
“We are here to construct the future,” Brown said. “We are here to mold the minds that will shape the 21st century.”
Bradley also reminded the students of all Paine has to offer. The school has begun construction on a $14 million Health Education Activities Learning Complex, which will have classrooms, laboratories and a 2,400-seat arena.
Professors will continue to engage in research and publications, building on Paine’s goal to become a nationally renowned institution.
As the school approaches its 131st year, faculty members said the virtues on which the college was founded should continue to be instilled in students today.
Bradley said the students should be “good stewards of the earth” and help quell the social bickering that goes on in all communities.
“Paine College was founded on the principles of social justice,” he said. “It is through the historical calling that we continue to fight for those voices that aren’t being heard.”
Freshman Ahki Rosser said she chose Paine because of those virtues. She said she liked the sense of community with small classes and attentive teachers.
“I’m looking forward to having a very successful freshman year by meeting people, networking and doing great things,” she said.
Dwayne Dykes, a junior studying mass communications, said he has seen the school transform in his years on campus, and students must follow that trend.
He said the school is bringing in more qualified teachers and improving things from academics to athletics, so 2013 is shaping up to be a special year.
“It’s not going to be the same old Paine College forever,” Dykes said. “It’s just moving in the right direction, so we need to acknowledge the challenge and get better as students. Just be on the up and up.”