Daniel Dupee, chairman of the board of the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), in his keynote address at the 129th Convocation on Sept. 11, opening the 2019-2020 school year, said “CCO works with 140 campuses and Williamson is my favorite.”
In his inspiring speech, he told the students, “I am going to tell you three C words — craft, capacity, and character. Williamson teaches excellence and encourages you to make things your best and to do something exceptional. It takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery of a craft or skill and you are on the path to achieving this.
“Capacity, meaning power, means you have gotten good at something. Having something people want or a skill gives you power. Here at Williamson you are getting good at something. Isaiah Williamson had capacity and he used it to serve others.
“Character is who you are when no one is looking. You should have the highest character you are capable of having.”
He then said that he has four F words to share — failure, faith, forgiveness, and finish. “Failure happens if you don’t live up to your standards of character. We need faith because we are human with the capacity to fail. We need someone who sees and knows everything and is powerful. We all have hope and need someone who is bigger than us. From God through Jesus Christ, we have been forgiven. You men of Williamson haven’t been enrolled here to start, but to finish. Remember, you don’t run this race alone. It’s a team race. Run the race well, hard, and with the help of other people. Have a great year.”
At the conclusion of his remarks, President Michael Rounds presented him with a Williamson keepsake wooden box with a rendering of Rowan Hall on the lid.
Before giving his remarks, Rounds asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of 9-11 and mentioned that Todd Zachary, senior vice president and chief of staff, was inside the Pentagon that day. He also said that on that day, he decided he was going to go to Afghanistan.
He went on to say he’s glad to be at Williamson and honored to be the 13th president. “You students are blessed with talented faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping you succeed. You are getting the best education in the country and what sets you apart are our core values. Never forget that.”
In his welcoming remarks, Samuel Wrightson, dean of education, said “Seniors, this is your last year and your toughest year. You are the leaders of the student body and will fill the role of leadership. Juniors, you know how to be successful as students. Build on that. Freshmen, hang in there. College freshmen all across the country are being told to hang in there. Ask for help if you need it. We all want you to be successful.”
Two former faculty members were honored with faculty emeritus status, a special title that honors retired instructors who have distinguished themselves with long and dedicated service to Williamson.
Wrightson presented John Beaudry, the recently retired director of power plant technology, with the status of faculty emeritus and a plaque. Beaudry served from 1989-2017.
Thomas Wisneski, vice president of research and assessment, announced that the late Ken Nelson, Williamson’s carpentry instructor from 1997-2016, achieved the status of faculty emeritus and presented a plaque to Pat Nelson, Ken’s wife.
Also taking part in Convocation were Rev. Mark Specht 7W7, who gave the invocation and benediction; Peter Bowersox, director of student engagement, who gave the responsorial psalm and led the pledge of allegiance; Christopher Thomas 2W0, senior class president, who gave the scripture reading; and the Artisans singing the alma mater.
Convocation began with a light breakfast in the Rowan Hall dining room and the guests watching the student lineup on the lineup pad.