By MARIA VANEGAS and ELEANOR FORESTER
The Bicentennial year signifies a time of reflection at Maryville College as we look back on our history and look forward to our future. The Keepers of the Covenant is a committee on campus comprised of faculty, staff, and students tasked with fostering the concept of the covenant.
The Keepers are a group devoted to weaving scholarship, respect, and integrity into the fabric of the Maryville College community. During this Bicentennial year, the Keepers of the Covenant are also reflecting back on their own beginnings and subsequent history at the College.
The Maryville College Covenant was established in 1990 and then modified a few years later. The development of the Covenant was brought about by students, faculty, and staff alike, with feedback and revisions from the College taken into account.
Ten years later, the Keepers Committee convened for the first time, and Dr. Susan Ambler was chosen to be the first committee chair. Dr. Ambler was a professor of sociology at MC for 25 years and was essential to the formation of the Keepers.
Part of the Keepers’ responsibility was to mindfully develop a guide for the Maryville College community to be reminded of the promise they made to the school. The Keepers sought a way to keep the new Covenant at the forefront of the minds that meander the Maryville campus.
It was decided that a stone would symbolize the everlasting importance of the three tenants: scholarship, respect, and integrity. As Dr. Ambler shares, the Covenant Stone as we know it today was placed in a spot central to campus and presents passersby with a literal “solid foundation” to ground them.
The Covenant Stone was taken from a regional quarry and introduced to Maryville College in 2001, and has been an indicator of growth and moral rectitude ever since. Over the years, other initiatives of the Keepers presented themselves.
For example, in order to recognize and reward those who embodied the three tenants in their everyday lives, the Keepers of the Covenant came up with the Spirit of the Covenant Award in 2002. The goal was to highlight the members of the Maryville College community who strive to make life better for the people around them, not simply for personal gain or promotion, but for the good of the campus!
The award is given to a handful of individuals every year during the Leadership Awards. This year’s Spirit of the Covenant Awards, awarded to students, faculty, and staff, will be presented at the Leadership Awards on April 8 at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Center.
The Keepers of the Covenant hope to see you there, so that we may all celebrate in this evolving legacy of our school.