WILBERFORCE — For the first time in 40 years, Central State University hosted a Baccalaureate Ceremony for the graduating seniors.
Held on April 8, the Baccalaureate ceremony is a Christian-based interdenominational service that celebrates the senior class graduating from a high school or college. Although it is not known why this ceremony was stopped 40 years ago, the 2014 graduating class requested to the ceremony’s return.
The Honorable Marsha Bayless, mayor of Xenia and 1973 CSU alumna; Dr. Leah Gaskin Fitchue, president of Payne Theological Seminary, and Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, president of Central State University were the speakers.
Bayless announced that the Xenia City Council would be voting to approve the 2015 Budget Priority that includes pursuing ways to work with the university to lift up the eastern area of Xenia through various measures including neighborhood development, transportation enhancements and service integration.
“The plan will seek cross-marketing opportunities, specifically with Central State and other area institutions, and create an internship program offering experience to local undergraduates, while utilizing their talents,” Bayless said. “Great strides have already been made (with the partnership) and can be seen on campus with curb painting, filling of potholes and allowing our Xenia youth football team to hold their games right here on campus, to name a few.
Bayless added, “We want to see this neighbor-to-neighbor relationship continue and we know that with the leadership of President Jackson-Hammond, it will happen. I am very happy to be a part of this bridge-building effort and look forward to what is yet to come that will continue to grow the city and grow this institution, my institution, Central State University.”
Fitchue challenged the students to use their skills, gifts and talents to do works for others. Using the university’s tenets, service…protocol…civility, Fitchue defined her “truths” about each tenet for the students.
“Service means that you are being uniquely equipped to make a major difference in the world,” she said. “You were born for greatness. Protocol represents truly learned persons who are expected to value common sense. What you have accomplished, you did not do it by yourself. What you will accomplish, you will not do it by yourself. Practice humility. Civility means to operate with discipline. You are stronger than you were when you entered CSU, but you are not as strong as you are going to be. Life is not about getting over; it is about getting through. This is what success feels like and I always hope you have a hunger for this feeling.”