Bridgewater College grads urged to strengthen their core values

bridgewaterAs Bridgewater College’s graduating seniors and their families celebrated on the campus mall Saturday, May 16, Dr. Phillip C. Stone urged the 361 graduates to retain, nurture and strengthen their core values.

Stone, a practicing attorney with the Stone Law Group, is a 1965 graduate of Bridgewater who served as the college’s president from 1994 to 2010. During his tenure, enrollment nearly doubled and the campus underwent major construction and improvement projects. He also proposed the Personal Development Portfolio program and oversaw the establishment of new scholarships, the hiring of top-notch faculty and improvements in technology.

His address, titled “Missing Pieces,” noted that the process of developing one’s life and character is like building a mosaic one piece at a time.

“Our lives constitute a mosaic which will be built over a lifetime,” he said. “At the end of life, there will likely be pieces still missing from our mosaic, things undone, errors made and failures of one sort or another. Missing pieces will not unduly detract from the mosaics of our lives if the missing pieces are not from the core of our mosaic.”

The core, he continued, is made up of fundamental values without which the mosaic can never be truly beautiful and complete. Stone said that integrity, empathy for others, loyalty, accountability and humility are among those most fundamental values, and that if any of those are missing in the core of life’s mosaic, it fails entirely.

“All the pieces surrounding the absent spots cannot compensate for pieces missing from the core,” he said.

Among the 361 students in the Class of 2015, 78 earned bachelor of arts degrees and 242 earned bachelor of science degrees. The college’s president, Dr. David W. Bushman, conferred the degrees at the ceremony.

Eighteen members of the class graduated summa cum laude – the top academic honor which requires students to achieve at least a 3.9 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. Thirty-six graduates earned magna cum laude honors – a 3.7 or better average. Cum laude honors, requiring a 3.4 grade point average, were earned by 54 graduates.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to approximately 1,800 undergraduate students.

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