Greetings from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) by The Rev. Dr. Gerald Lord

Mr. Chair of the Board of Trustees, Members of the Board of Trustees, Mr. President, Members of the Platform Party, Honored Guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen:

It is a privilege for me to bring to you, President Thayne, and to Lebanon Valley College, greetings on this signal occasion from the General Board of Higher Education of The United Methodist Church; from the other 118 United Methodist related schools, colleges, and universities in this country; and from the almost 800 educational institutions in the Methodist tradition around the world.

We profoundly respect this institution’s roots in the United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical United Brethren Churches, and we are proud to claim you now in the United Methodist connection. We are also proud that this institution was founded 147 years ago as a coeducational institution—one of the first in the country—and has served with distinction since then, producing principled leaders for the church, for government, and for society in general: professional athletes, renowned scientists, scholars in many fields including theology, musicians, general officers, bishops, attorneys and judges, members of Congress, and now even the governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Education is in our Methodist DNA. That dates back to our very earliest days. John Wesley himself was proud that he was a “sometime fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford.” He took education very seriously as the key to a fuller, richer life.

The United Methodist Church gives thanks that this noble institution has educated its graduates in the context of a value system that the church holds dear—a value system that seeks to develop whole persons—morally, ethically, intellectually, emotionally, theologically, and physically. And you do this in an environment of academic freedom, intellectual vigor, and spirited but civil debate, all the while inspiring students to commit their lives to love of God, love of neighbor, and service to humankind.

We celebrate with you today this rich and venerable history and at the same time rejoice in the bright future you have in this new administration. We congratulate you for all of this and more. We wish you and this institution well, Dr. Thayne, as you pursue this vital mission. I pledge to you and to this institution the support of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry as we together engage in this important ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Again, congratulations!