The inauguration of President Douglas Searcy will be held on Friday, April 15. Before the inauguration, however, Barton is hosting a number of activities that week for students, staff, and the community to participate in.

“It is an opportunity for us to celebrate and share the fine work that’s being done throughout the college community.  I’m especially pleased to talk about student learning at Barton — internships, research, and the strong mentoring relationships between our faculty and students,” said Searcy.

The Searcy family
The Searcy family

Provost Gary Daynes said the first event before the inauguration will be Day of Scholarship on Tuesday, April 12. It is a day where there are no classes. Students and faculty members will present research projects.

Barton College graduates also will explain how research at Barton helped them succeed after graduation. Daynes said the event will take place throughout the day.

At noon students will talk about their research projects, from 2-3 p.m. Undergrad students whose projects were selected as outstanding will be presented from 3-4. Faculty members will display their research from 4-5 p.m.

The next event will be a compus-wide picnic held on Thursday, April 14. It starts at 4:30 p.m. and will include Barton faculty, staff and students.

Daynes said remarks will be made and ice cream served. He said it is an opportunity for the campus community to spend time with the Searcy family.

Friday, April 15, will be the day of the actual inauguration, or the installation ceremony at 2 p.m.

Daynes said if weather is good, the ceremony will be held outside on the Parrish Plaza. Some 800 to 1,000 faculty, staff, students, friends of the college, and the community will be attending the ceremony.

Searcy will speak about the college’s new strategic plan. Daynes said that in the evening there will be a celebration, which is for the broader community and is a ticketed event.

Afterwards, on Saturday, April 16, the college will hold a Day of Leadership.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done this, so it’s pretty exciting,” said Daynes.

He said the it will begin with an opening from Wilson County Sherriff Calvin Woodard about leadership. There will be a series of presentations by students and faculties.

Daynes said a big part of President Searcy’s wife Beth’s career has focused on women and she will be speaking at lunch, followed by more presentations in the afternoon.

To bring the week to a conclusion, Daynes said a worship service will be held on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Daynes said he is excited about the role of students in all this.

“A lot of inaugurations are about other people, but this one has a lot of students involved. Searcy purposefully did that to spend time with students,” said Daynes.

He said the student learning and student involvement in this event is very important.

Daynes said it’s a historic occasion, adding that the campus has been around since 1902 and only 11 times before have there been inaugurations.

“Everyone should feel excited and honored to participate because it’s really exciting. I’m excited about the role, and focus on students and student learning. I’m excited about the inauguration and Searcy’s remarks that are kicking off the beginning with a new strategic plan for the college.

“I like the way it plans to deepen the academic and student experience, talks about what goes on outside of the classroom, helps the college grow, and makes sure we are financially well. I think it is particularly meaningful and there is a lot of stuff that’s going to be fun.”

Daynes said he hopes the students will love the campus picnic and doesn’t expect anyone to be bored.

“This will put Barton in the best light and remind everyone of all the things that make this place special,” said Daynes.

Searcy said he is looking forward to the inauguration and that it will be a great day for Barton College. On revealing his new plan for Barton, Searcy said, “There’s a new energy and excitement in the campus community combined with a robust strategic plan that has been created by participation from all across the college including faculty, staff and student perspectives.  The ideas are innovative and will strengthen the student experience and guide our steps for the coming years.

“I am looking forward to sharing how we plan to grow and enhance the college. Student learning is a top priority. I am so pleased that everything that we do, inside and outside of the classroom, revolves around the success of our students.

The strategic plan represents a call to be bold for Barton. There is a theme of boldness running through all of our work at the college and we will continue to take intentional, strategic steps to ensure the advancement of our mission into the days ahead,” said Searcy.

By: Kimberly Olivera