Fall Convocation Returns to Piedmont


Piedmont College freshman and faculty packed the Chapel this morning, Sep. 3, 2019, for Fall Convocation, which is put on annually by the administration in conjunction with the Office of the Campus Minister. This service recognizes the achievements of the freshman class and officially welcomes them to campus. 

Prior to the service, faculty were backed up through Daniel Hall, dressed in their regalia and awaiting the Gonfalon to make its official entrance, queuing the begining the annual Fall Convocation. The service invited the wise words of students, faculty, and guest speaker, Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson. 

President James F. Mellichamp welcomed the largest freshman class in Piedmont history, which is comprised of the largest percentage of residential students and student athletes to date. He then went on to remember the vast loss the Piedmont Community has faced in the first three weeks of the 2019-2020 school year including retired professor, Franklin Edge, Ph.D, recent alumni, Jacob Passmore, and freshman Anna Whitlock, who was remembered later in the service. 

The opening litany invited students and faculty alike to come together on a journey of “self-discovery and education.” Associate Vice President, Cindy Peterson, then recognized the Class of 2023 and their accomplishments and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dan Silber, recognized the numerous scholars throughout the institution. 

The scripture of the Good Samaritan, read by Virginia Cleveland, a graduate student, welcomed the message titled “Looking for Loopholes”. Powell Jackson encouraged the class of 2023 to broaden their idea of who their neighbors are. Powell Jackson grew up in a predominantly black community in Washington DC, which she drew on when she contemplated who her neighbors are.

“Today Jesus might say our neighbor is a Syrian, or a Mexican, or a trans person, or a Muslim or even a Jew,” said Powell Jackson.  “Our idea of a neighbor is too small…. Our neighbors are the very people we are told to be afraid of and to look down on.” 

Following the message, Joseph Dennis, Ph.D., Department Chair of Mass Communications, remembered Anna Whitlock and welcomed her family, who was in attendance. Whitlock was a freshman Mass Communications major who passed away on Aug. 16, 2019 as the result of a car accident. 

“At Piedmont, we develop strong bonds with one another,” said Dennis. “Her Professor said it was very evident her love of God shaped her interactions with others… Although her time with us was short, I get the feeling we will never forget her.”

In addition to speakers, music from the Piedmont Singers and a charge to the Class of 2023 by Student Government Association President, Leslie Lopez, the Mass Communications department video recorded, photographed, and reported on the service which will be available online at the piedmontroar.com as it is completed.

In her statements during the service, Peterson said, “On behalf of the Office of Admissions, I present to you the class of 2023… Confident they will represent the institution well, both as students, and as alumni.”