December 22, 2019
Former Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy quoted Mother Teresa as she urged Mars Hill University graduates to “find their own Calcutta.” Bellamy, who now heads the community and economic development office for Madison County, was the keynote speaker for the university’s December commencement ceremony on Friday, December 20, 2019.
Bellamy quoted from a letter that Mother Teresa wrote in response to a woman who asked how she would help with Mother Teresa’s work. The nun responded that, rather than come to India to work alongside her, the questioner should look within her own community for opportunities to be of service—to “find her own Calcutta.” Bellamy urged the graduates to follow that sentiment as they leave behind their university days and move into the next stages of their lives.
“I’m not asking you to devote your lives to service like Mother Teresa,” Bellamy said. “However, I’m asking you to give some of your time to an important cause within your community.” She also encouraged the graduates to spend time with their families; to become mentors; and to vote and be involved in the political process, especially on the local level.
Other speakers on the program were Addison Harris of Candler, North Carolina, representing the traditional undergraduate students, and Kelsey Redicke of Marshall, North Carolina, representing the university’s graduates from the Adult and Graduate Studies program. Luke Rathbone of Swannanoa, North Carolina, performed special music on the marimba. And Gabrielle Interdonato of Mooresville, North Carolina, delivered the invocation.
Sixty-one undergraduates and four master’s-level students received degrees at the commencement ceremony. The university presented bachelor’s degrees in arts, fine arts, music, science, nursing, and social work, along with the Master of Education.
Mars Hill University holds two graduation ceremonies each year: one in May for graduates who complete their degrees in the spring semester, and one in December for graduates who complete degree requirements over the summer or fall terms.