As Wesleyan College’s Class of 2010 graduates prepare to go forward with their lives following today’s commencement ceremony, the seniors took a moment Friday to reflect upon the school’s past.
In what has been an annual rite for the college, members of the senior class, their families and school faculty gathered on Friday evening at the historic marker on College Street that marks the site where the college was first founded in 1836.
Debbie Smith, vice president of institutional advancement for Wesleyan and a 1976 graduate herself, described life for a typical Wesleyan attendee back in the 19th century to those in attendance.
“It’s a way to commemorate our old history,” Smith said before the marker ceremony.
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The state originally proposed that Wesleyan be a two-year college, said Bill Hurdle, the school’s chaplain. But the citizens of Macon insisted that “they wanted a four-year college (for women) or nothing at all.”
The school, originally called the Georgia Female College, changed its name to Wesleyan Female College in 1843 and finally Wesleyan College in 1919.
As was tradition back since the college was founded, the students, families and parents Friday marched from the marker ceremony down to the Mulberry Street United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate service.
Smith noted that many of the graduates of this year’s class will be going on to graduate school in a variety of fields, at universities such as Duke, Yale, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, Texas and others.
Kelly Scott, a senior from Tennessee and Peachtree City who is majoring in Spanish and theater, said it was a bittersweet day.
“I’m sad and I’m happy,” said Scott, who will work on her Master of Arts Administration at Indiana University. “It’s sad to be leaving everyone, but it’s good that it’s done.”
Lauren Elser, a political science major from Augusta, said the weekend was a time for reflection.
“It’s about moving forward and remembering all the good times we had,” she said.
Her mother, Rosemary Chandler, said the time has flown by since Elser started at Wesleyan.
“Oh my gosh, my last child is graduating,” she said. “I can’t believe it’s been four years.”
Wesleyan will hold commencement ceremonies for 99 seniors this morning at 10 a.m. at Porter Auditorium. Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and co-founder of HandsOn Network, will be the guest speaker.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.