BUCKHANNON, West Virginia –  The West Virginia Wesleyan College Class of 2023 joined the Orange Line Saturday during the 132nd Commencement Ceremony that celebrated their perseverance and resilience.

President James Moore encouraged graduates to continue to pursue truth and knowledge, learn from mistakes, but find joy in the journey.

“You are about to embark on a journey – the next chapter of your life; a journey of unknown possibilities,” Moore said.  “Find the joy in as many things as you possibly can. Never miss an opportunity to celebrate a win for yourselves, for your friends and family. Learn from your failures as you have during your time here. Remember what you have learned. There is a great big world out there that needs you. It is a world that is waiting for you. Never lose the joy.”

Caroline Rapking ’79, outgoing chair of the board of trustees, led the trustees during the Covid-19 pandemic that sent the Class of 2023 (and all students) home in mid-March 2020. Rapking spoke of the class’s adaption to online Zoom and Google Meet for classes and clubs and the return to on-campus life in Spring 2021 with Covid-19 protocols in place.

“After months of separation, the Community had to adjust to being together in person after so many months of a lot more solitary existence,” Rapking said. “I know that as students you were happy to be back, and you began to stitch your Community and the Wesleyan Community back together. Resilience, collaboration, and creativity were at the forefront.”

The Class of 2023 continued to be resilient throughout their College experiences.

“You persisted, you adapted, and you will now take these life experiences as you move forward, and may even, someday, be grateful for them,” Rapking said.

Rapking received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during the ceremony.

Caroline Fulks ‘23, president of the Senior Class, presented Dr. Tamara Bailey, professor of history and international studies, with the Outstanding Faculty award voted on by the class.

Fulks asked her fellow graduates to remember their tight-knit connections made at the College.

“Wesleyan has given us the tools to make this memory and it is our job now to keep them alive,” she said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me this life-changing experience. Wesleyan will forever be my Home Among the Hills.”

Tara Steed ’87, president of the Alumni Council, said, “You have a lifelong bond to your Home Among the Hills. You may leave this place, but this place will never leave you.”

She encouraged the graduates to wear the title of alumni as a badge of honor and to find ways to give back to the College.

“We are the Orange Line,” she said. “Congratulations.”

West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a private, four-year residential liberal arts and sciences college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A tradition of excellence for more than 130 years, West Virginia Wesleyan is home to 14 Fulbright Scholars. The Princeton Review ranked Wesleyan one of its 2023 Best Colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States. U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 Best College Rankings designated Wesleyan seventh in Best Value – Regional Universities (South). WVWC offers students more than 40 majors and 40 minors; graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, creative writing, and nursing; 22 NCAA Division II athletic programs; multiple performing arts groups; and more than 70 organizations. Founded in 1890, the College is closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church and abides by the Wesley doctrine that emphasizes service to others. For more information, visit wvwc.edu.