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Alice Lloyd College hosted the Opening Convocation of the 2024 spring semester on Tuesday, February 6th with special guest speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Robert J. Darling.

ALC President Jim Stepp welcomed everyone to the Campbell Arts Center and Roop Auditorium. In his opening remarks, President Stepp praised the College’s student workers, faculty, and staff providing examples of how each are essential to the College’s daily operations and success. Our student workers make ALC proud by working in addition to class, sports, and other extracurricular activities. During January’s snow, some student workers even showed up before daylight to shovel snow and salt sidewalks to ensure offices and classes could open. He went on to explain that over 75% of ALC’s faculty have terminal degrees, and the College couldn’t ask for better staff. President Stepp says the commitment of the campus community and their belief in the College makes “ALC a great place to be.”

President Stepp also provided updates on the numerous campus projects in progress. The retaining wall project that began over the summer is only a few weeks from completion, with only one more bridge to be worked on. The addition of the rock wall through campus will protect us from any future flooding. After the project’s conclusion, all campus roads and parking lots will be re-paved and painted. Also in progress are two new townhouses, landscaping, and final touches to the campus chapel. In the near future, the meadow between the Davis Student Center and the June Buchanan School will be turfed like ALC’s athletic field, and the foyer of the Campbell Arts Center will receive work. Over winter break, the men’s dormitories all received upgrades, such as new lighting, and this work will continue during the coming summer break.

President Stepp concluded his welcome by discussing academic affairs, such as FAFSA and ALC’s iPurpose Initiative, before turning the stage over for convocations staff to introduce guest speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Robert J. Darling.

In October 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Darling retired from the United States Marine Corps with just over twenty years of active-duty service. He flew attack helicopters in Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the first Gulf War and in Somalia, Africa, in support of Operation Restore Hope. In June 1998, he was selected to fly as a presidential pilot with Marine Helicopter Squadron One and in October 2000, was handpicked to work for the White House Military Office, Airlift Operations Department. It was in that capacity that Lt. Col. Darling supported the President, Vice President, and National Security Advisor in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) on September 11, 2001. As a public speaker on crisis leadership and decision making, Bob has addressed numerous academic, government, and military organizations to include Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and as a guest lecturer on the subject of Crisis Leadership and Counterterrorism at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Bob is the author of 24 Hours Inside the President’s Bunker, 9/11/01: The White House. He is the President and CEO of Flash Emergency Management, a crisis leadership training and technology company located in Stafford, Virginia.

In his speech, LTC Darling discussed his career and gave his account of the events of September 11th, 2001. He also discussed the talents of this generation of college students and stressed they “are the future of America.” He encouraged the ALC student body to keep doing their best and always “be a part of this team, the Alice Lloyd team,” and said to “be a great follower and do your part.”

Alice Lloyd College will host its next convocation on February 28th. Keep up with ALC’s Latest News and The Campus Voice for information and news about past and future events.