Sunday, March 21, 2010

It is Inauguration Week At Coker College

Dr. Robert Wyatt, the 16th president of Coker College, which was founded in 1908, will be officially inaugurated on Friday, March 26, 2010. The college has planned a week of activities to celebrate what we discuss as the community of learning that pervades the ethos of this college located in Hartsville, SC, in the northeast corner of the State.

When Dr. Wyatt began thinking about the inauguration he was focused on how the event could highlight all that is Coker. He hoped to make the inauguration just one of many highlights of a week that would draw attention to the achievements of students, staff and faculty. It appears that all is ready to achieve this vision.

It is a fact that some of the activities are getting in the way of regular classes. In my speech classes I am asking the students to take advantage of the week's activities to become more familiar with a variety of speaking goals that will be illustrated by a variety of speaking styles.

This week is, I think, a concrete example of epideictic discourse. We have a variety of ceremonies that will be part of the major ceremony, the Inauguration and the students should have no trouble analyzing some of the major elements that compose effective epideictic discourse.

Students in the public speaking courses have been given assignments and/or extra credit opportunities to pay particular attention to academic talks. These they will be able to do as students present results of their research projects (on Monday)or faculty members read papers, hold panels or demonstrations of some of their areas of expertise and interest (on Wednesday). The entire Coker College community has the opportunity on Thursday evening to hear Jessica Jackley,the co-founder of KIVA, a micro loan enterprise, discuss the real difference KIVA is making around the world. And, of course, there will be the inauguration speech by Dr. Wyatt that will be built around the theme of these inauguration events, "Redefining Ready."

We expect a great many visitors this week, and even the bosses of the college, The Coker Board of Trustees, who are having their regular meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. In addition, the Coker College Board of Visitors will also be on campus this week. There is a Performing Arts Showcase scheduled for Wednesday evening that will be packed with talented performers -- students and faculty.

For the students, this is a unique opportunity because when things are going smoothly and the Coker community is focused on its mission these presidential inauguration events are few and well spaced. Dr. Daniels was with Coker for 22 years, Dr. Dawson for seven years and we are hoping Dr. Wyatt is intent on a long-term Coker presidency.

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