by Daniel Chamberlain
Editor’s Note: On November 8, 2015, over 120 Upland College and Messiah College alumni gathered in Rancho Cucamonga, California, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of Upland College. Several alumni participated in the evening’s program, including Daniel Chamberlain (’53) who gave the main address (condensed version below). For more about the event, see the blog post by Jon Stuckey, director of development at Messiah College.
Daniel Chamberlain addresses the gathering
I was just 16 when I left my missionary parents and family in Jamaica to become a freshman at Upland College. I traveled first to Miami by plane where I boarded a bus for the overland trip to California. I carried only my trombone and a very small suitcase which fit easily under the seat of the airplane and then of the bus I took to California….That inauspicious start was for me the beginning of four exciting and life-shaping years at Upland. I had many challenging classes; I played intercollegiate athletics; I was able to develop leadership skills; I had the joy of participating in intercollegiate debate.
Today I speak for all Upland alumni in expressing gratitude to Messiah College for perpetuating the name and the legacy of Upland College for the past half century by having the Alumni Association bear both the Upland and Messiah College names. Just over fifty years ago I announced the creation of the Messiah/Upland Alumni Association. The Messiah College Alumni Association traces its origin to 1919, when my father-in-law, Benjamin Musser Books, urged the formation of such an organization and became its first secretary. A year later he became a member of the founding faculty of Beulah College, and in 1922 he organized and became the first president of the twelve member Beulah College Alumni Association which in 1949 became the Upland College Alumni Association. Forty years later in 1962, I was elected president of the Association and thus became, so far as I know, the only person in Upland’s history to have served as class president, student body president, acting president of the college and president of the alumni association. Those multiple ties between Upland and Messiah were further strengthened in 1968 when I began an eight-year tenure as the Academic Dean of Messiah College. A generation later we forged additional bonds when four of our children became Messiah College alumni.
For the past fifty years Messiah College and its Alumni Association have provided many valuable services to Upland College alumni. Upland alumni have been invited to participate in Messiah College alumni activities. In addition, special events have been planned and implemented for Upland alumni, and alumni have made many valuable contributions to Messiah College, including serving as faculty members, administrators, and trustees for Messiah College.
Upland College served students from its founding in 1920 until its merger with Messiah College in 1965. Forty-five years is a relatively short lifespan for an educational institution, but the significance of a college should be measured by more than its chronological duration. Upland College can be justifiably proud of innovative programs such as midyear seminars and the interdisciplinary team-taught general education program. Upland took full advantage of its size to integrate faith with both life and learning and to stimulate campus-wide communication through weekly faculty seminars and daily all-school conversation periods. Upland was also a leader in founding the Council for the Advancement of Small Colleges which eventually developed into the highly influential and important Council for Independent Colleges and Universities.
Alumni sing the Messiah College alma mater
Organizations are best judged by their effectiveness in achieving their stated purposes. “A vision for service” was more than a slogan for Upland alumni; it was a way of life. We learned by precept and example that any abilities we possessed were gifts from God, and good stewardship demanded their development and their deployment to serve God and others. That combination of love for God, love of learning, and devotion to service is captured in the Messiah College alma mater which uses the same tune as did the Upland alma mater. From this day forward, alumni from both Upland and Messiah will join in singing this singular anthem which it was my honor to compose.
Hail Messiah College hail, honored alma mater.
Truth from God and truth from man
Taught with faith and ardor.
For thy lessons, love and counsel
Sturdy sons and loyal daughters
Join to sing our praise to thee,
Alma Mater, hail to thee!
Our devotion strong and true
Cause us to remember
Wooded hills and urban halls
Ties we ne’er will sever.
Send us forth to serve with courage,
Strong in body, mind and spirit,
Christ to serve and to honor thee.
Alma mater, hail to thee!