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Alumni Association Announces Award Recipients For 2014

The Awards Committee of the Bethel College Alumni Association announced this year’s award recipients:

Young Alumnus Award

Palwasha Kakar, Kabul, Afghanistan, majored in Bible and religion and minored in peace studies, graduating in 1999 with a bachelor of arts degree.

Kakar started work Jan. 27 as a senior program staff member in the Religion and Peacemaking Department at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., helping to manage programs in at least five countries.

Most recently, she was the Afghanistan director of Women’s Empowerment and Development Programs for The Asia Foundation, overseeing seven projects and writing proposals that won $30 million in funding. Before that, Kakar managed programs on local governance, civil society, education and gender, and a nationwide small grants program with United Nations Development Programme in Afghanistan. She also has worked with The Gender Studies Institute and the World Bank.

Kakar will receive the Young Alumnus Award during convocation in spring, tentatively scheduled for March 14.

Distinguished Achievement Award

Peter Goering, Silver Spring, Md., majored in natural sciences,graduating in 1977 with a bachelor of arts degree. He is a research toxicologist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At the FDA, his work mostly has been devoted to regulatory research. Two areas of research he’s involved in are nanotechnology/nanotoxicoloy and biomarkers of toxicity. Goering has published more than 70 research articles in peer-review journals; has received national and international recognition for research in toxicology of metals, biomarkers of toxicity and nanotechnology/nanotoxicology; and has established a multi-disciplinary research effort in nanotechnology/nanotoxicology with other scientists.

In 2006, he was elected by his peers the title of "Fellow" in the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, and in 2013, he was chosen to the Society of Toxicology’s four-year presidential chain and will serve as president in 2015-16.

Goering will receive the award during the Alumni Banquet at noon Saturday, June 7.

Outstanding Alumnus Award

Leona Penner, Lincoln, Neb., majored in mathematics and languages (German), graduating in 1966 with a bachelor of arts degree.

Penner retired in May 2012 after teaching mathematics for 46 years. From 1970-2013, she taught an integrated math course specifically designed for gifted and motivated students. The program is called Elements of Mathematics, although in Lincoln, it became known as "Penner Math" because it defined her and she defined it. Penner was honored in 1987, 2006 and 2008 in Washington, D.C., as most influential teacher of a Presidential Scholar Winner with three different students. Other honors include being nominated as Teacher of the Year for Lincoln public schools in 1982, selected as a Nebraska Math Scholar as one of 66 outstanding Nebraska teachers chosen in 1986-88; and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching in 1989.

She will be presented with the alumnus award during the Alumni Banquet at noon Saturday, June 7.

These individuals already know they’ve been selected. More information on them and their respective awards will be distributed through Bethel College Context magazine, at www.bethelks.edu/alumni/alumni-awards/; and the public media.

Changes In Store For Alumni Weekend

They say the only constant is change, and Alumni Weekend at Bethel College is no exception, as this year’s event will see a variety of alterations, including it being moved to June.

"The changes have been percolating for a while, and we observe other colleges have done it this way," said Alumni Relations Director Dave Linscheid ’75, North Newton.

In years past, Alumni Weekend was during graduation weekend in May. However, this year the annual event will be from June 6-8 for alumni of all ages, but primarily for the classes of 1939, 1944, 1949, 1954, 1959 and 1964.

All other classes marking a reunion milestone will celebrate during Fall Fest on Saturday, Oct. 18. These are the classes of 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2004.

"Younger classes have been wanting to meet during Fall Fest rather than Alumni Weekend," Linscheid said. "Having this special weekend on
a date other than commencement weekend frees up time for more activities, and we wanted to have alumni stay on campus. We also wanted to be able to lift up and honor the 50th reunion class in a special way."

Other changes include the event being spread across three days rather than two, Linscheid said.

The overall theme this year is "Back to Bethel!" and various events are using that theme, such as "Back to The Inn," which is an optional early opportunity to eat on Friday at Mojo’s in Schultz Student Center.

"Back then, the snack bar was called the College Inn or simply The Inn," Linscheid said. "Now students and the community love to go to Mojo’s Coffee Bar for coffee, cold drinks, sandwiches and snacks."

The "Back to ..." theme is being used to evoke memories, Linscheid said.

Also new this year is an opportunity for alumni to stay in Voth Hall, Bethel’s newest residence hall, since the event no longer is at the end of the school year. Registration and payment are required in advance. Transportation from Schultz Student Center, where alumni will check in, is provided by the Alumni Council.

Another new opportunity will be "Back to serve." In keeping with Bethel’s long tradition of service, it will allow alumni the chance to
help presidential spouse Dalene White with simple projects on campus.

There also will be a new way to open the weekend, with an ice cream social, from 7-9 p.m. Friday on the Goerz House lawn (or in the cafeteria in case of rain).

"This official opening event of Alumni Weekend is free, courtesy of the Alumni Association," Linscheid said.

Also different from years past will be the opportunity for alumni to sit in on a couple of lectures on Saturday. These lectures have a
"Back to class" theme and will be given by emeritus professors John Sheriff and Robert W. Regier ’52.

The class of 1964 will have their "Golden Thresher" class photo taken at 11:45 a.m. Saturday on the steps of the Ad Building. This also is new.

The Alumni Banquet , a longtime event, still will be on that Saturday, but the time has changed from evening to noon. All alumni and friends of the college are invited to the public event. There will be a special recognition of the "Golden Thresher" class of 1964 and presentation of 2014 alumni awards to Leona Penner ’66, Lincoln, Neb., and Peter Goering ’77, Silver Spring, Md. This spring’s reunion classes will sit together and be recognized.

The award recipients then will be honored during a reception from 2-3 p.m. in the cafeteria in the Schultz Student Center.

The "Back in choir" event also is new and will be from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday in the Ad Building Chapel. Any alumni are welcome to rehearse for Sunday’s service with Marles Preheim ’55, professor emeritus of music. Dinner on Saturday is at a new time -- 6 p.m. Heritage classes, those of 1939, 1944 and 1949, will eat together, while members of the other three classes will dine at separate locations.

From 10-11 a.m. Sunday, there’s another new event, "Back to chapel," which is in the Ad Building.

"This event will include music by the alumni choir, hymn sing and Heritage Roll of Honor memorial service," Linscheid said.

In the past, Bethel’s Development Office has put this memorial service on but not during Alumni Weekend.

Registration forms will be sent to all alumni with letters also going to those in the honored classes.

For more information, contact the Alumni Relations Office at 316-284-5251, email alumni@bethelks.edu or visit our website.

Emeritus Professor Haury Built Foundation Of Excellence

Ada Mae (Gressinger) Haury, Bethel College’s first professor to be named emeritus faculty, died Jan. 13 in Newton. She was 94.

She was born in Halstead and graduated from Halstead High School as the valedictorian of her class. She was a 1941 graduate of Bethel, where she was a member of the Golden A.

Haury was part of a group of alumni who had lived together in one of the residence halls who started a round-robin letter after graduation that lasted more than 60 years.

During and just following World War II, Haury taught English, drama and forensics and coached state championship debate teams at Fowler, Halstead and Russell.

Several of Haury’s debate students in the Russell High School class of 1947 went on to illustrious careers in law, television production and politics, including one known nationally, Arlen Specter, formerly the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee (Specter died in 2012).

Specter and several of his classmates used to make regular trips to Newton to visit their former teacher, whom they held in high esteem.

For more of this article, visit <www.bethelks.edu/news-events/news/post/4950/>.

Alumni Donate More Than 50 Cameras To Art Department

The art department received almost 50 cameras after David Long, professor of art, put out a request asking anyone having a 35mm film camera they weren’t using to donate it to the beginning photography class for students to use.

“I have to admit it was a bit overwhelming,” Long said. “The response from alumni was incredible, and the generosity of the many donors was humbling. I received almost 50 cameras and enough equipment to fill an entire floor-to-ceiling cabinet. While I was able to account for most of the equipment, there were several cameras dropped off at the college without any identification of who brought them.”

If you’d like a donation receipt, contact Long at dlong@bethelks.edu or call him at 316-284-5223.

“This has been a wonderful event, and I want you to know how touched I’ve been by your generous support of the Art Department and Bethel College,” Long said. “I thank you, and I’m sure my students thank you as spring semester approaches, and I loan out much of the equipment you have so freely given.”

Kauffman Museum Director Search Now Open

Kauffman Museum is accepting applications for director/curator (open to alternate configurations) who is interdisciplinary, hands-on and entrepreneurial.

The person hired will lead a resourceful professional staff, committed board of directors and a robust corps of volunteers at the Bethel College-affiliated museum that presents the Mennonite immigrant story in the context of the land and people of the central Great Plains.

Nonprofit or teaching experience is preferred. The start date is negotiable -- June 2014-June 2015.

Current director Rachel Pannabecker ’80, North Newton, is transitioning into retirement.

Details and application information are available at www.bethelks.edu/Kauffman.

Students Cross Cultures By Going Into Prison

January interterm at Bethel College is often the time when students opt for a cross-cultural experience -- in Costa Rica, Mexico, Europe or Israel/Palestine, for example.

In interterm 2014, 10 Bethel students went to prison.

This school year, John McCabe-Juhnke ’78, North Newton, professor of communication arts, transitioned out of his long-time role as director of forensics and became director of theater.

“I’m very aware that students are wondering what it means for me to be in this role,” McCabe-Juhnke says.

“Doing theater in prison has been a passion of mine for a dozen years.” So as he tried to figure out “the best configuration for performance opportunities,” he decided to try to work that passion into a class offering. “Interterm is a good time to take advantage of for an intensive project,” he says.

The result was the Prison Theater Pilot Project, in which “we’ve been collaborating with a group of prison inmates on a theatrical production at Hutchinson Correctional Facility. This program is offered under the auspices Offender Victim Ministries [based in Newton],” McCabe-Juhnke says.

He’s calling the production “Inside Story.” It combines dramatic monologues from a project called MyAmerica from Center Stage in Baltimore, interviews from Dave Isay’s StoryCorps and journal entries from students and inmates into a documentary-style presentation that explores issues of cultural, community and individual identity as they are expressed in the stories people tell about their lives.

After presenting “Inside Story” twice at HCF, the Bethel students will give two performances in Krehbiel Auditorium -- at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, with the students taking some of the roles played by inmates. One dollar from every ticket sold will be donated to Offender Victim Ministries for its Prison Arts Program. Tickets are available at the Bethel College Bookstore or at the door, subject to availability.

For more information, visit our website.

Valentine’s Dinners To Raise Funds For Kauffman Museum

Each February, Kauffman Museum offers Valentine’s fundraising dinners. This year, the dinners will be in Newton’s old post office. The building has had extensive renovation by current owner Stephen Johnson ’69, Newton, primary attorney with CornerStone Law offices, which now occupy the building.

Each meal will offer a special musical prelude and dinner music with a meal catered by Waters Edge Restaurant of Hesston. The schedule is as follows:

  • 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, jazz with Bethel College instructor of music Joel Linscheid ’08, North Newton; and Ian Gingrich-Gaylord ’03, Newton
  • 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, bluegrass-folk with the Book of Jebb featuring Bethany Schrag ’05, Newton; Ben Regier ’03, Newton; Eric Schrag ’98, Hillsboro; and Landon Bartel ’13, Newton
  • 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, The Rosewood Winds featuring Valerie Klaassen’78, Whitewater, clarinet; Amanda Friesen, flute; and Kristin Kliewer, oboe
  • 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, classical string quartet with current and recent Bethel College students including Rachel Unruh ’13, Newton; Erin Regier; Andrew Voth ’13, North Newton; and Grace Bradfield
  • 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, Sunflower Trio with Kenneth Rodgers (piano); Matthew Schloneger (tenor); and Rebecca Schloneger (violin)

Out-of-town Valentine opportunities include:

  • Two nights in Santa Fe, N.M., at La Casita: a B&B Valentine Weekend at the home of Melvin ’61 and Lorene Goering ’62 (dates to be determined)
  • Menno Valentino: Mennonite Courtship Stories hosted by Kimberly Schmidt ’84, Doris Bartel ’84 and Su Flickinger ’83, Hyattsville, Md. (date to be determined)

Suggested minimum donation per person is $45. For information or reservations, contact Andi Schmidt Andres at asa@bethelks.edu or 316-283-1612.

Cross-Cultural Learning Teaches Students Gratitude

The first thing Bethel College nursing students who traveled to Haiti before Christmas received was culture shock.

But what they brought home was gratitude.

Six seniors in the nursing program, their professor, Geri Tyrell ’07, and a seventh Bethel student, sophomore Erin Regier, Newton, traveled to Hinche, Haiti, Dec. 10-18, immediately after fall semester final exams.

Regier is involved in an education initiative in Hinche that Bethel, HOPE International Development Agency-USA and Don Fast ’68 of Newton-based HUDDLE Inc., an education consulting business, are cooperating in. She had planned to go there at fall break, in October, but couldn’t get her paperwork completed in time.

Tyrell has taken several groups of nursing students to Haiti but she hadn’t intended to do it in December 2013 because she and Doug Siemens ’84, associate professor of education, are taking a group there in January.

“These students approached me,” she said, adding their commitment to taking the trip convinced her to agree to lead the extra one.

For all the nursing students, it was their first trip out of the country for anything other than a vacation. They had heard stories from Tyrell, instructor Laura Prahm ’12 and other students who’d been to Hôpital Ste. Therese in Hinche, where Bethel graduate Wildy Mulatre ’94 is a health-care administrator.

“We expected them not to have the resources we do or to use the practices we’ve learned,” said Naura Harlow, Park City.

“But it was worse than we expected,” said Scott Musgrave, McPherson.

For more information, visit our website.

Mennonite Military Services Exemption eBook Published

The book “The Military Service Exemption of the Mennonites of Provincial Prussia” by Wilhelm Mannhardt was just released as a Kindle ebook. It was published by Bethel College on Jan. 8 and is about 450 pages long.

In the mid-1800s, Mennonites in the Vistula Delta region requested Mannhardt to write an extended explanation of the Mennonite position on their centuries-old exemption from military service.

“He argued that the tradition of military service exception was based on religious conviction, not on political or material expediency, and that it had a long history going back to the 16th century,” according to amazon.com. “His book was the first, and for many decades, the only history of the Vistula Mennonites and is foundation for European Mennonite historiography. This English translation by Anthony Epp and Abraham Friesen makes it available, after 150 years, to a wider audience.”

Goosen to Reprise Program On Bethel Bell History

Those who missed Levi Goossen’s presentation on the Bethel College bell at Fall Festival last October will get a second chance.

Goossen ’59, a Newton attorney, will give the next Friends of the MLA program at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Administration Building chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

The Mennonite Library and Archives (MLA) at Bethel sponsors these periodic presentations on topics related to Mennonite history and thought.

Goossen will talk about “the history of the bell and its connection to northwest Kansas and the landmark Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation case, as well as to the Mennonite church and Bethel College.”

The story of the Bethel bell began in 1900 in Thomas County in western Kansas, in the Prairie Bell country school.

The children of the only black family in Thomas County attended the Prairie Bell School, and one of them later presented pivotal testimony in the case of Oliver Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka.

“Her testimony was critical in showing that integration works, as it had in Oakley,” Goossen said. “When Prairie Bell School closed, the family had moved to Oakley, where the school was integrated and they were welcome.”

Brown v. Board of Education went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which, in May 1954, ruled racial segregation in the public schools illegal.

After the Prairie Bell School closed, Goossen’s father, Frank Goossen, bought the bell at auction and gave it to the Mennonite church in Mingo. When that church built a new sanctuary, there was no place for the bell.

“It was auctioned again,” Goossen said, “and again my father was the successful bidder. Then a few years later, he gave it to Bethel College. So the bell was twice bought at auction by my father and twice given away.

“I trace the history of the bell from 1900 through the time in the late 1960s when it rang [on campus] once for each of 38,000 American lives lost in the Vietnam War. Then it was taken to Washington, D.C., and was rung on the Mall during anti-war demonstrations there.”

For more information on the Feb. 25 program, call the MLA at 316-284-5360.