Phillies broadcaster and former MLB player Ben Davis officially opened the 2018-19 school year during the 128th Convocation on Sept. 12.
Addressing the entire student body, Davis said “Not many young men get the opportunity to be here; take advantage of it. When you graduate you will have no debt, you will have a skill, and employers will want you. Graduates of a traditional college have debt and can’t find a job.”
Davis, who grew up in Aston and played baseball in youth leagues on Williamson’s baseball field, said “Take what you learned here with you, your skills and the core vales. They will make you stronger as a man and you will have a great life.”
He pointed out that many supported the school so they could receive their education and after they graduate they, too, should give back.
He closed saying, “When you become men in the real world, always say yes, please, and no thank you.”
An alumnus of Malvern Preparatory School, Davis distinguished himself as a great baseball player and was once called the greatest high school baseball player to ever come out of the area.
He was the second overall pick in Major League Baseball’s amateur draft by the San Diego Padres in 1995 and continued to play seven seasons in the majors, also with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox. He went from catcher to pitcher for the final three seasons of his professional career, from 2008 to 2010, with single-A Sarasota in the Cincinnati Reds organization and the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League.
He transitioned from player to broadcaster and is now in his third season as part of the Phillies broadcast team. He previously spent four years as an in-studio baseball analyst for Comcast SportsNet Philly and made occasional appearances on 94.1 WIP’s morning show.
At the conclusion of his remarks, President Michael Rounds presented him with a Williamson keepsake box with a rendering of Rowan Hall on the lid.
Rounds, who is beginning his sixth year at Williamson, told the students “You are getting the best trade education in the country. Your three-year education, anchored by our core values and leadership development, are what set Williamson apart. You should thank your teachers and the staff who are dedicated to giving you a great education.”
Samuel Wrightson, dean of education, in his welcoming remarks told the students what their year would be like. “Seniors, you will stretch your leadership wings and get ready for the real world. Juniors, you will bask in the knowledge gained in your freshman year and get your GPAs up. Freshmen, welcome to college, ask for help when you need it.”
He added, “You are our purpose. You make the college. You are the life blood of Williamson.”
Two former faculty members were honored with the designation of faculty emeritus, a special title that honors retired instructors who have distinguished themselves with long and dedicated service to Williamson.
Wrightson presented a faculty emeritus plaque to the late Carmen Martella, director of machine tool technology from 1986 to 2017. “His students revered him for his knowledge, experience, and teaching. He was overjoyed when told the Alumni Association was making him an honorary member.” He then presented a plaque to Martella’s son, also named Carmen.
Thomas Wisneski, vice president of institutional research and assessment, presented a plaque to Russell Harvey 5W0, who taught drafting from 1979 to 2015. Wisneski said, “Russ represents each of our core values and in service, he shines. He mentored so many students. His life is of loving and serving others.”
Convocation also included an invocation and benediction from Rev. Mark Specht 7W7; responsorial psalm and leading of the pledge of allegiance from Peter Bowersox, director of student engagement; a scripture reading by Peter Gaglio, president of the Class of 1W9, and the singing of the Alma Mater by the Artisans.
Guests, who included trustees, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff, started the morning with breakfast in the newly expanded dining room and then observed the student lineup and raising of the flag in front of Rowan Hall before joining the students in the Clara Schrenk Memorial Chapel for the Convocation.