‘Ties That Bind’

New BC Head Impresses Faculty, Students

Posted: February 6, 2013

Jessie Houff (left), 21, a senior at Bridgewater College, meets the school’s president-elect, David Bushman, and his wife, Suzanne, during a special convocation on Tuesday at Nininger Hall. (Photos by Nikki Fox / DN-R)
Kevin Morris, 19, a sophomore at Bridgewater College, sports a paper bow tie while meeting President-elect David Bushman and his wife, Suzanne. Students and faculty put on the ties in a tribute to the two men on campus known for wearing them: interim President Roy Ferguson and Bushman.
David Bushman, Bridgewater College president-elect, speaks during a special convocation at the school’s Nininger Hall on Tuesday morning.
BRIDGEWATER — Hundreds of students and faculty filtering into Nininger Hall’s gym Tuesday morning at Bridgewater College were all making the same borrowed fashion statement.

Whether wearing sweatshirts, blouses, dress shirts or T-shirts, most people’s outfits were accented with an oversized green and white striped burgundy paper bow tie — a tribute to the two notable men on campus known for wearing them: interim President Roy Ferguson and President-elect David Bushman.

“Very nice,” Ferguson said with a smile as he stepped to the podium during a morning convocation introducing Bushman to the campus community. “Thank you, I appreciate that.”

The woman behind the idea, administrative assistant Gloria Bachman, said accessorizing was a fun way to honor Ferguson on a job well-done and welcome Bushman — who said his neckwear collection consists solely of the knotted ties — to campus.

“It made me feel very welcome,” Bushman said, adding jokingly that it may have been his choice in neckwear that landed him the presidency. “It’s the tie that binds.”

Bushman, dean of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., was chosen on Jan. 17 to succeed George Cornelius as BC’s ninth president. He will oversee Bridgewater College’s $34.6 million budget and its 1,750-member student body when he takes over as president on June 1.

“For those called to academic leadership, there’s no greater honor than to be entrusted with the presidency of an academic community like Bridgewater,” Bushman said during a 15-minute speech Tuesday. “I am in equal measure honored and humbled by this opportunity, and I’m fully aware of the responsibility and obligation that comes with it to serve well and honorably and with humility.”

During his speech, Bushman talked about his reasons for wanting to come to Bridgewater, citing the college’s “mission, history, who you are today and your future,” as key areas that piqued his interest. He emphasized his appreciation for and the importance of the college’s strong liberal arts educational mission that focuses on educating students’ minds, bodies and spirits.

“We do more than simply train students for a job well-done, we form them for a life well-lived,” Bushman said, pointing to the importance of service learning, internships, foreign study, undergraduate research, residence life and athletics.

“When an academic community like BC is at its best it’s intentional and explicit about the interconnectedness, not just amongst academic programs, but also that of academics and students’ lives outside the classroom.”

Jeff Pierson, professor of communication studies, said he was inspired by Bushman’s speech about the college’s mission.

“I was especially appreciative of the way he talked about [the curricular and co-curricular] balance,” Pierson said. “I thought it was a very nice and welcoming presentation by him.”

Members of the college community who came to see Bushman speak agreed on several points. The incoming president had a warm personality, they said, and he seemed to grasp Bridgewater’s tradition.

“It’s nice to have people that are really excited to come to campus,” said Jessie Houff, 21, a senior at Bridgewater College.

Senior Josh Law, 21, echoed that sentiment: “It’s nice to see that he’s really passionate about the college. He seems personable and genuinely excited to be here.”

As Teshome Molalenge, BC’s director of sustainability, stood in line waiting to meet Bushman following the event, he said he was confident of what the new president will bring to campus.

“It feels like he fits into the college mission,” Molalenge said. “I think he will do an exceptional job here on campus. Personality plays a big role in [being a president].”

Sophomore Amy Reagan pointed out another one of Bushman’s traits that will serve him well in his presidency.

“I thought he had a good sense of humor, which is a good quality for a college president to have,” she said.

Contact Emily Sharrer at 574-6286 or esharrer@dnronline.com

NDN Video News