BEREA, Ky. — Riley Homan, of Minster, receieved a Bachelor of Arts degree at the commencement service in May at Berea College, here.
As the commencement speaker, Rep. John R. Lewis, D-Georgia, a civil rights leader, challenged the 2017 graduating class of Berea College to use their education to “find a way to get in the way” of social injustices.
At the commencement ceremony, more than 200 graduating seniors were encouraged by Lewis to honor Berea College’s heritage of equality for all people.
“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you must stand up, speak up and speak out,” Lewis stated. “You have a duty and moral obligation given to you by the visionary founders of this college, who saw the need to build an inclusive interracial, coeducational community in 1855, before the end of slavery and the beginning of the Civil War. We are still struggling against those same enemies of justice today.”
Berea, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor, and service. Supported by Berea’s No-Tuition Promise, Berea College admits only academically promising students with limited economic resources, primarily from Appalachia. All students must work 10 hours or more weekly, earning money for books, room and board.