MC welcomes Bogart as 11th president
By Wes Wade (email@example.com)
Maryville College has officially welcomed its 11th president.
Dr. William T. Bogart was inaugurated as the institution’s latest president — only the 11th since the college’s founding in 1819 — Saturday in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre in the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus.
Bogart assumed the position last July, having served eight years as dean of academic affairs at York College of Pennsylvania.
“It is a privilege to take my place today as part of Maryville College,” Bogart said in his address. “As Dr. Gibson said in October 1993, in his address the last time we celebrated an inauguration, ‘I give thanks, acknowledging readily that this is certainly not my personal event, but one of the significant rituals in the life of the college.’”
Bogart was welcomed by a quintet donned in burgundy kilts with bagpipes and a snare drum that opened the ceremony with a traditional Scottish marching tune as faculty members walked the aisles and filled the auditorium.
Students clad in burgundy T-shirts with “I (Heart) Bogart” splashed across the front applauded and cheered when Bogart took the stage to accept the college’s Medal of Office, an honorary symbol inscribed with the official college seal and engraved with each president’s name on the back.
Dr. Gerald W. Gibson, president emeritus and the college’s 10th president, was the first in a ceremonial line of 10 faculty members who delivered a welcoming address to Bogart before passing the medal down the line until it was finally bestowed upon the latest president.
“As president emeritus it is my honor to represent the past 10 presidents of Maryville College in the installation of Dr. William T. Bogart as the college’s 11th president,” Gibson said.
In his address, Bogart explored the issue of uncertainty and how it pertains to the college’s philosophy in its preparation of students for a world that can be quite daunting upon graduation.
“Maryville College has always been more than just an academic setting,” he said. “Our students engage in a wide range of extracurricular and service activities as they find their vocation, not only in their profession, but also in the ways that they connect with others.
“Our Faith and Learning Statement articulates this vital purpose: ‘The goal of a Maryville education is not simply the adoption of a particular stance or worldview, but rather the search for truth, wherever it may be found, and the ability to recognize and take seriously life’s basic questions of faith, meaning and value.’ Let us study to develop knowledge and wisdom so that we can go forth prepared for a world of risk and uncertainty.”
Students for Bogart
If the “I (Heart) Bogart” shirts are any indication as to the student body reception of the new president, Bogart should feel right at home.
Sarah Davies, a senior in business, said a handful of groups on campus provided the funds needed to produce the apparel.
“We wanted to show Dr. Bogart that we love him and we’re excited that he’s our president,” she said. “We wanted a big student presence, and we decided the shirts would be a good way to make that happen.”
And yet another part of that presence came in the form of an improv “flash mob” dance routine where about 30 students, faculty — even small children of faculty — bum-rushed the front area of Pearsons Dining Hall about 30 minutes into an outdoor lunch setting.
The group lined up four or five rows deep in a pre-choreographed dance routine reminiscent of the music video to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
(But the song they grooved to was “Free Your Mind” by the R&B group En Vogue.)
It was an idea sparked in part by something Crystal Colter, associate professor of psychology, had her social psychology class studying.
“We talk a lot about the power of the situation,” Colter said. “We end up talking about a lot of social phenomena that are bad, like race prejudice and cults and peer pressure ... and this seemed like a good opportunity to show the positive power that a group can have by having the students engage and celebrate this wonderful new president they already adore ... to engage in this historic moment in the life of the college.”