Wilmington College holds inauguration of President Bates


Ceremony officially inaugurates Trevor Bates

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]



At his inauguration Friday afternoon are Wilmington College President Dr. Trevor Bates, middle, with his wife Kassandra and Richard Sidwell, Board of Trustees Chairperson.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Wilmington College President Trevor Bates and his wife, Kassandra, share a knowing look at the inauguration.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Wilmington College’s formal inauguration of President Trevor Bates on Friday afternoon.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Brandi James, of the Wilmington College Class of 2018, sings a stirring rendition of “Rise Up” as the college’s newest president wipes a tear.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Wilmington College Board of Trustees Chair Richard Sidwell places the presidential medallion around President Trevor Bates’ neck as First Lady Kassandra Bates looks on during the formal investiture.


John Hamilton | News Journal

WILMINGTON — Wilmington College celebrated the inauguration Friday afternoon of Dr. Trevor M. Bates as its 19th president.

In his talk, titled “Together We RISE”, Bates announced the start of the public phase of the Together We Rise $45 million fundraising campaign. Perhaps the loudest applause of an event punctuated with hands clapping came when he said to date, the college has raised approximately 89 percent of the goal, or $40 million.

The campaign started with an extraordinarily successful “quiet phase” two years ago.

The fundraising campaign is focused on investing in the students, faculty and staff of Wilmington College, investing in the college’s living and learning environments (capital improvements), and investing in a sustainable future “so that 250 years from now this great institution will be standing even stronger,” Bates told the audience.

In 2021 the college saw a significant increase in the number of new donors and individual donors to the college, “and we need your help to make sure we continue to rise,” said Bates, who started his WC presidency in January 2021 after serving as chief academic officer at Mercy College of Ohio.

He pointed to a quotation, and stated it twice, about why teams or organizations exist: Teams exist because there is a challenge or opportunity that is too big for one person to handle alone.

Bates followed that up saying Wilmington College is a team “and together we will rise to address growing needs and expectations and demographic of our students.”

He added the college’s student body is reasonably diverse in a variety of ways, and the college is committed to actively partnering with its students to help meet their needs.

Concerning faculty and staff, Bates said, “Together, we rise to support the needs of our faculty and staff. Our faculty and staff make a difference in the lives of our students and we are committed to improve compensation, to promote a positive working environment, and to support their needs as their roles change as our students’ needs change.”

Shortly afterward, he said, “We want to take care of our faculty and staff, again by improving compensation. This is one of our highest priorities.”

By twice mentioning a commitment and desire to improve faculty and staff compensation, Bates in his inaugural speech spoke of a concern raised last fall by a students-led group named Students for Action and Solidarity. The student group advocated for better compensation for faculty and staff, among other things.

During his presidential address, Bates stated, “We will develop new academic programs while revitalizing and infusing energy into our existing programs that our students love.”

As part of the inaugural program, Douglas Woodmansee, clerk of the Wilmington Yearly Meeting (Quakers) Wilmington College Committee and an Emeritus Professor of Biology, was among those from the college’s various constituencies or partners who delivered greetings.

Woodmansee noted that a Quaker testimony is equality, and that being guided by the testimonies “causes one to walk through the world in a particular manner — a manner that leaves no room for racism. Today we celebrate that Wilmington College is living into the Quaker equality testimony.” Woodmansee was referring to the fact Bates is the 152-year-old college’s first African-American president.

As a former WC professor, Woodmansee said those who comprise the college or otherwise support the college “will find our way forward by keeping our eye on what Wilmington College is all about, which in my view is helping students grow into the best version of themselves as they can be. If we put students first, [then] budgets, work loads, schedules, modes of instruction and all the rest can be properly prioritized.”

And speaking as a resident of the city of Wilmington, Woodmansee said he believes Bates can be a valuable resource to the city. “I hope that he and our city’s leaders can work together to move our community forward.”

The father of Bates, Tyrone Bates Sr., was one of three people to offer reflections during the program. And Tamish Bates, a sister of Trevor Bates, sang “Grace” accompanied by background vocals.

There also was a stirring vocal performance from Brandi James, a WC Class of 2018 graduate, who sang “Rise Up”.

After the inaugural program ended, former Wilmington College First Lady Chris Burns-DiBiasio (1995-2011) said the event was moving.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0332.jpgJohn Hamilton | News Journal

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0361.jpgJohn Hamilton | News Journal

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0368.jpgJohn Hamilton | News Journal

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0419.jpgJohn Hamilton | News Journal

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0434.jpgJohn Hamilton | News Journal

At his inauguration Friday afternoon are Wilmington College President Dr. Trevor Bates, middle, with his wife Kassandra and Richard Sidwell, Board of Trustees Chairperson.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0454.jpgAt his inauguration Friday afternoon are Wilmington College President Dr. Trevor Bates, middle, with his wife Kassandra and Richard Sidwell, Board of Trustees Chairperson. John Hamilton | News Journal

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0487-1.jpgJohn Hamilton | News Journal

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0500.jpgJohn Hamilton | News Journal

Wilmington College President Trevor Bates and his wife, Kassandra, share a knowing look at the inauguration.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0504.jpgWilmington College President Trevor Bates and his wife, Kassandra, share a knowing look at the inauguration. John Hamilton | News Journal

Wilmington College’s formal inauguration of President Trevor Bates on Friday afternoon.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0521.jpgWilmington College’s formal inauguration of President Trevor Bates on Friday afternoon. John Hamilton | News Journal

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0522.jpgJohn Hamilton | News Journal

Brandi James, of the Wilmington College Class of 2018, sings a stirring rendition of “Rise Up” as the college’s newest president wipes a tear.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_DSC_0560.jpgBrandi James, of the Wilmington College Class of 2018, sings a stirring rendition of “Rise Up” as the college’s newest president wipes a tear. John Hamilton | News Journal

Wilmington College Board of Trustees Chair Richard Sidwell places the presidential medallion around President Trevor Bates’ neck as First Lady Kassandra Bates looks on during the formal investiture.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_Investiture.jpgWilmington College Board of Trustees Chair Richard Sidwell places the presidential medallion around President Trevor Bates’ neck as First Lady Kassandra Bates looks on during the formal investiture. John Hamilton | News Journal
Ceremony officially inaugurates Trevor Bates

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]