Dear Graduating WILDCATS of 2020,
First, congratulations. I am immensely proud of your resilience in the face of this global pandemic. The grit displayed gives the world a glimpse into the heart of a Wildcat. We are bold. We have an unwavering tenacity and our DNA dictates we finish whatever we start, strong! Under normal circumstances, the college would be preparing for the one-hour sermon in honor of our graduating class of seniors which is formally known as a Baccalaureate service. The final prayer of covering and a word from the God we serve to cap your final chapel visit as an undergraduate, I believe will resonate with clarity as vivid as the beacon light which shines upon us, here on Wiley Avenue.
I can also visualize the pride of your family members who will travel from near, far, and some halfway across the globe. The smiles are broad and warm. The tears of joys are vivid as they watch you process onto the Pemberton Field as a soon-to-be graduate. Wildcats, you came, you saw, and indeed, you conquered. You met friends with whom you will have lifelong friendships with. Some of you met your soul mate while all of you experienced a bond forged by challenges, diversity of thought, and common goals. I can only imagine as you wake up tomorrow morning the gravity of your accomplishment will weight differently. Find solace in knowing that we serve an awesome God. He covered you. He carried you and made provision for you.
Know there is no other place we would rather be than celebrating your accomplishments. As much as we desire to celebrate and cherish you all today and tomorrow, formal graduation has been scheduled for August 1, 2020, at 8 am on the Pemberton Field, here at Wiley College. We believe this new date will be in the best interests of health and safety for our students, faculty, staff, and your families.
Although this is not the graduation day you imagined, your Wiley family shares in this momentous milestone with you. Again, I admire the resilience exercised. You have my commitment that we will do this commencement ceremony the Wiley way in full regalia with double the pomp and circumstance. See you in August, Wildcats. In the meantime, “Go forth inspired, with glorious deeds to do”!
Herman J. Felton, Jr., J.D., Ph.D.