William Jewell College observed commencement ceremonies May 3 on the college campus in Liberty. Bill Snyder, a member of the William Jewell College class of 1962 and retired head football coach at Kansas State University, offered the commencement address. The graduating class of more than 300 students observed the campus tradition of the last walk around the quad.
Edward E. Whitacre Jr., chairman emeritus of AT&T, Inc., delivered the Gary Dickinson Lecture in Business Enterprise at William Jewell April 2. Whitacre is chairman emeritus of AT&T Inc., the largest communications company in America and the world. Based in San Antonio, Texas, AT&T is a leading worldwide provider of wireless, broadband, business communications and other services, including directory publishing and advertising services. Whitacre served as chairman and CEO of the company from 1990 until retiring in June of 2007. In that time, he led then-SBC Communications on a
disciplined growth strategy and through a series of industry-changing mergers and acquisitions, including the 2005 acquisition of AT&T Corp., after which the company adopted the name AT&T Inc.
“A Circle of Grandmothers,” an epic theatrical tale exploring the reasons humans fight, was given a world premiere production at William Jewell College’s Peters Theater in April. The original play by Kim Bradford Harris, professor of theatre and director of the William Jewell College Theatre, grew out of a 2004 sabbatical trip that took Harris to Reykjavík, Iceland. The trip allowed the director and playwright an opportunity for in-depth study of the Icelandic Sagas, the heroic accounts of the country’s heritage passed down from generation to generation and eventually recorded in texts written between the 12th and 13th centuries.
For Harris, the Icelandic Sagas offered a way to pursue his lifelong interest in basic human conflict. “From the time I was a child, I’ve never understood why people fight and go to war,” Harris said. “It’s such a huge question, and the Icelandic Sagas provide a microcosm for studying those issues.”
What emerged from Harris’s study was a cycle of five interconnected plays brought to life under his direction by a cast of 23 actors playing multiple roles. “It is massive,” said Harris, a graduate of Carson-Newman College and Southern Illinois University who joined the William Jewell faculty in 1979. “It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.”
The physically demanding play involved numerous sequences of stage combat, including the use of heavy broadswords. Jewell students Dacus Bowles and Philip Meece served as fight directors for the production.
Nathan Wyman, associate professor of communication, transformed Peters Theater into an environment that allowed for total immersion into the world of the play. Student costume designer Amanda Brasher created costumes from natural materials that reflected the look and feel of the time period and the physical setting.
William Jewell College showcased student research initiatives and creative activities during the eighth annual David Nelson Duke Undergraduate Colloquium on the Liberty campus April 17. Regular classes were suspended for the day in order to involve all students in the celebration. “Celebrating the Life of the Mind: A Day of Undergraduate Scholarship and Creativity” involves students presenting their scholarly works to faculty, staff and the community at large through oral presentations, performing and visual arts, public speaking and readings of creative writing. The colloquium allows students from all academic disciplines to receive recognition for their unique ideas and studies. Topics were reflective of the full breadth and depth of the liberal arts and sciences.
William Jewell College hosted the joint bi-annual meeting of the Missouri and Missouri Valley Branches of the American Society for Microbiology and Midwest Microbiology Educators March 14 and 15 on the campus in Liberty. Undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty scholars were invited to showcase their research findings in concurrent scientific sessions. Awards were presented to the best undergraduate and graduate student presentations. The American Society for Microbiology is the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world.
A record number of seniors – over forty percent of the class – made a pledge to give financially to the college after graduation. Senior team leaders Christina Pryor, Courtney Noll, Ally Fry, Andy Pitts and Adriane Burr present Dr. Sallee with the Class of 2008’s “Senior Promise” to Jewell over the next 5 years.