For most of the Rev. Maurice Harden’s life, the Rev. Kenneth Monroe of the AME Zion Church has been at his side in times of need – as Harden grew in his faith, when his mother died and when he accepted his call into the ministry which resulted in a doctorate of ministry at age 28.
Wednesday, on the stage of the gymnasium at Clinton College, it was now Bishop Monroe’s time to step aside, turning center stage over to Harden, now South Atlantic Regional vice president for the international ministers and lay association, as well as pastor at New Mount Olivet AME Zion Church in Rock Hill and the college’s campus minister.
Harden, the featured speaker at the school’s 121st fall convocation Wednesday, challenged the students of Clinton College to make the most of their time at the Rock Hill institution.
Once Clinton Junior College, the school shortened its name last year when it started offering two four-year degree programs in addition to five associate degrees.
Clinton College’s enrollment of 186 students is just one student more than last year. What has changed is the ratio of men to women in the student body. Last year, it was 63 percent men to 37 percent women. This year it’s 55 percent men and 45 percent women.
Time, Harden said to the students, is a gift and “if you are not good stewards of this gift, your time is wasted.”
He told students to make every day count, challenging them to experience everything Clinton College has to offer in and out of the classroom.
“There is always something to do – live your college experience,” he said.
Harden also challenged the students to learn. “Every class you skip is a missed opportunity to learn,” he said.
Noting the rise in social unrest throughout the world, Harden said, “It’s evident, we need leaders.
“The leaders of our world are not in Washington, D.C., or in our state capitals. The leaders are on this campus ... young people lead the way for change. The time to lead is right now.
“This is your time to show the world what you are made of.”