BC Honors Golden Graduates
Bluefield College honored members of its class of 1963 with induction into the school’s Golden Graduates Society during Homecoming festivities on campus, October 11-13.
October 16, 2013
Bluefield College Golden Graduates from the class of 1963: (front, left to right) Jane Jennings Rivers of Christiansburg, Virginia; Janet Barnes Goodman of Midlothian, Virginia; Doris Hunt Wood of Woodstock, Virginia; C. Blair Barnes Collins of Clermont, Florida; Judith Shearer Sprouse of Mansfield, Ohio; Charles Wood of Woodstock, Virginia; (back, left to right) Stephen Renalds of Stuarts Draft, Virginia; Joe Newton of Bluefield, Virginia; Gary Chenault of Williamsburg, Virginia; Richard Matthews of Warrenton, Virginia; Ronald Faris of Marion, Virginia; Barry Crotty of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Jacob Sprouse of Mansfield, Ohio. Not pictured: Russell Leonard of Elberon, Virginia.
Dozens of alumni and friends returned to watch the former BC students be inducted into the prestigious group, created in 2009 to honor and preserve the legacy of alumni from the Golden Anniversary era. Since then, about 120 Golden graduates have been inducted into the society, including 14 this year from the class of 1963.
“This is such a special occasion,” said Mark Hipes, director of alumni relations, “and you (Golden Graduates) are such a special group to Bluefield College. The memories you have, the stories you share -- you are the foundation of Bluefield College.”
The Golden Grads from the class of 1963 on campus this year to be inducted into the select society included Gary Chenault of Williamsburg, Virginia; C. Blair Barnes Collins of Clermont, Florida; Barry Crotty of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Ronald Faris of Marion, Virginia; Janet Barnes Goodman of Midlothian, Virginia; Russell Leonard of Elberon, Virginia; Richard Matthews of Warrenton, Virginia; Joe Newton of Bluefield, Virginia; Stephen Renalds of Stuarts Draft, Virginia; Jane Jennings Rivers of Christiansburg, Virginia; Jacob Sprouse of Mansfield, Ohio; Judith Shearer Sprouse of Mansfield, Ohio; Charles Wood of Woodstock,Virginia; and Doris Hunt Wood of Woodstock, Virginia.
“I came back this year to see if I could see the guys I used to run with and the girl I used to date,” said Matthews. “It’s been great. I’m having a wonderful time. I’ve been really impressed with how the school has gone all out for us.”
In addition to dinner, music, testimonies and individual recognition, the Golden Graduates event featured the presentation of a gold medallion, engraved with the Golden Graduates Society insignia, to each 1963 grad. They also received a BC lapel pin, imprinted with the college seal, and a souvenir memory book with images and information comparing Bluefield College then (1963) and now (2013).
“Even after 50 years, we have at least one very important thing in common,” said Wully Rojas, a current BC student who spoke to the Golden Grads as part of the program. “We both entrusted Bluefield College for our higher education.”
Rojas shared a testimony about her journey to Bluefield, including the “miracle” scholarship she received as a result of generous donations from alumni thatenabled her to attend Bluefield College.
“Bluefield is everything I ever wanted, ever dreamed of in a college,” said Rojas. “It offered me new friends that I now consider family, professors that I consider life mentors, and a path for me to fulfill my passion of majoring in elementary education. Words cannot express how thankful, how grateful I am for the blessing of a full ride to realize my college degree. Because of donors like you, students like me have the opportunity to live out their passion. I am honored to stand before you tonight to show you just one example of how the BC Scholarship Fund can change someone’s life. Because of your love for Bluefield College, one day I will have the opportunity to sit in your seat, a proud Golden Graduate of this institution.”
President David Olive and Vice President for Advancement Ruth Blankenship conducted the induction ceremony. Both also spoke about the changes on campus since 1963,including new buildings and new athletic and academic programs. But, the core values, they said, remain constant even today. That, Leonard said, he’s thankful for.
“Bluefield College was very encouraging to me,” said Leonard. “All the professors were good to me. It is truly a special place.”
More Homecoming 2013 Coverage