Midyear Graduates Commence to the Words of Berea’s Founder, John G. Fee

Obadiah Ewing-Roush will address 68 seniors participating in the Mid-Year Recognition Service on Sunday, December 9, at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel.  Ewing-Roush is an actor who, in various settings during the current year, is depicting the person of the Rev. John G. Fee, the Kentucky abolitionist who founded Berea College. He will address the 2012 mid-year graduates with words John G. Fee, himself, might choose.  Ewing-Roush’s program is part of Kentucky Chautauqua, an exclusive presentation of the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc.

Berea College President Lyle D. Roelofs will preside over the service and address the seniors, many of whom are first-generation college graduates.  The service will be streamed live online at http://webapps.berea.edu/stream/myrs12.

Earlier in the day at 10:30 a.m., Ewing-Roush will deliver a sermon as the Rev. John G. Fee at Union Church during the morning worship service on Advent Sunday, the first service held in the newly renovated facility.

Fee, a scholar of strong moral character, dedication, determination, and great faith, believed in a school that would be an advocate of equality and excellence in education for men and women of all races.  His uncompromising faith and courage in preaching against slavery caused Fee much financial hardship and attracted violence from his opponents.  It also attracted the attention of Cassius M. Clay, a wealthy Kentucky landowner and prominent leader in the movement for gradual emancipation, who gave Fee a 10-acre homestead on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains.  Here, Fee established an anti-slavery church and a school on a ridge named “Berea,” after the biblical town whose populace was open-minded and receptive to the gospel (Acts 17:10).

Fee’s vision of a school where men and women, black and white, could learn to together as equals came to fruition when he established Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South.

Ewing-Roush received his Master’s degree in theatre arts from the University of Louisville.  He has portrayed a variety of characters and personas including Polonius in “Hamlet,” Doc O’Conner and Dennis Shepherd in the “Laramie Project,” and Uncle Peck in “How I Learned to Drive.”  He was invited to present a paper at the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston, Salem, N.C., about his exploration of Glenda Dickerson’s Emancipation Theatre techniques in portraying the persecution of college students in Iran.

Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. with support from: Scripps Howard Foundation, Lindsey Wilson College, the Cralle Foundation, the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, People’s Bank & Trust Company of Hazard, the Brown-Forman Corporation, Union College, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, PNC Bank in Lexington, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc.

The Kentucky Humanities Council is a non-profit Kentucky corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is not a state agency, but is a proud partner of Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet.  For information, visit www.kyhumanities.org or call 859-257-5932.

Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Mid-Year Recognition Service, Obadiah Ewing-Roush, Phelps Stokes Chapel

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.