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Zakahi leads with a speech for Founder’s Day Convocation

Bradley honored Lydia Moss Bradley with the annual Founder’s Day Convocation in Dingeldine Music Center on Oct. 1.

Because University President Stephen Standifird was unable to attend this year’s Founder’s Day Convocation due to a medical emergency, Provost Walter Zakahi stepped in to deliver the Founder’s Day address.

Beginning with a simple gesture to honor those that “had been part of the mission of advancing the university,” Zakahi called on members of the board of trustees, faculty and all staff members to stand and be acknowledged.

Zakahi and Student Body President Erin Bousek kicked-off Homecoming weekend with remarks on Lydia Moss Bradley’s success story.

“To say she was ahead of her time is an understatement,” Zakahi said. “She was light years ahead of her time and amazingly resourceful.”

They not only touched on Lydia’s incredible achievements, but emphasized on how her story can continuously inspire everyone in the Bradley community.

Zakahi mentioned the saying “crisis builds character” in reference to Lydia’s perseverance, and even tied this into present day struggles, such as COVID-19.

“Watching you all navigate the pandemic and emerge as you have, has shown me you also carry that resilient trait, just as our founder did,” Zakahi said.

Reminding students to continue in their pursuit of excellence through these trying times, Bousek declared, “You are important, you are necessary.”

Several faculty members were honored with awards at the annual ceremony. Devin Murphy was awarded the Samuel Rothberg Professional Excellence Award, the latest accolade for the New York Times best-selling author and associate professor of English.

Centurion Inductees included alumna Laura J. Kelly, Governor of the State of Kansas, and David P. Bozeman.

David Fahrenkamp delivered an emotional acceptance speech when presented this year’s Lydia Moss Bradley Award. As a lawyer and distinguished alumnus, he thanked Bradley for everything it did for him and gave a special shout-out to his daughter, who graduated from the university in 2005.

This year’s award winners left the stage to applause from the audience while the tune of “Hail, Red and White” played.

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