Inauguration Ties Symbolism, Celebration

March 29, 2004

As the college’s first new president of the 21st century, President Pamela Fox’s inauguration ceremony will marry ancient symbolism and a look at the future of the college. It will stress respect for history and for ingenuity.

April 2 — exactly a year since her formal introduction to the college — Dr. Fox will add her fingerprint to the college’s inaugural history.

Mary Baldwin President Dr. Pamela FoxThe last time Mary Baldwin held an inauguration was 18 years ago for Dr. Cynthia Haldenby Tyson. Dr. Tyson plans to join three other past presidents — Dr. Samuel R. Spencer Jr., Dr. William Watkins Kelley, and Dr. Virginia Lester — at Friday’s ceremony.

“Inaugurations are an important tradition for Mary Baldwin University, in part because they are infrequent,” Dr. Fox says. “Presidents here have demonstrated long tenures of commitment to the college. It is a critical time for the college and the community to come together to reinforce our mission.”

In keeping with inaugural tradition, Dr. Fox will welcome greetings from local dignitaries and college groups, and the ceremony will include performances by the Mary Baldwin Choir and the Anointed Voices of Praise student gospel group.

But Dr. Fox has undeniably etched her signature on the event.

The West African adinkra symbol of a chain link is the inauguration theme and the foundation of her official address.

“The chain reminds us of our strength as a diverse community that connects the past, present and future,” President Fox says. “We have such respect for tradition and a responsibility to keep our identity while still being innovative. The symbol emphasizes how respect for the individual, or the link, creates a solid community, the chain.”

Fox also infused the celebration with her passion for music. A concert of world music incorporating dancing, drums, a piano, and a saxophone follows the ceremony. She hinted that her speech will also be “in musical form,” akin to the four-movement “Symphony of Synergy” she wrote — in words, not musical notes — as a farewell to the School of Fine Arts at Miami University.

The event will be further personalized by a student dinner featuring international cuisine and costumes and an exhibition of aboriginal art.

Although the ceremony itself is invitation only, the concert and many other events are open to the public. For more about the inauguration, visit https://go.marybaldwin.edu/inauguration/index.asp .