New playground equipment honors parents, recalls memories

About 44 years ago, Berneil Rupp Mueller ’62 was a young mother finishing up her degree at Bethel and being the parent to two small daughters while her husband, Ted ’58, continued teaching in Hutchinson.

“I had an apartment on campus,” Berneil remembers, “and two little girls, ages 2 and 4.” She would take the girls to play on the playground equipment in the small “valley” on the west side of the campus where Kidron Kottage also sits.

“My younger daughter, who fell off her chair at every meal, would climb to the top of the slide and dance and prance around,” Berneil says. Those were the days when there was no protective “cage” at the top of a slide. “I’ve been worrying about that slide for 44 years.”

This fall, Berneil and her family got the chance to finally do something about that. Using memorial gifts for her mother, Linda Balzer Rupp ’32, who died in December 2004, and additional gifts from the family, Berneil had some of the old equipment removed and new play structures, including a spiral slide, installed. The area also honors Berneil’s father, Weldon “Bun” Rupp. The Rupps lived in the Moundridge area for many years. Bun Rupp died in 1986.

Linda and Bun Rupp were great supporters of Bethel athletics. The circular grassy area in front of the library contains two bronze plaques honoring them for their dedication to and enthusiasm for sports at Bethel.

Another reason Berneil was interested in using the site for a memorial is because, she says, “the area is dear to me. The fireplace in Kidron Kottage was given in memory of my brother Bill, who died of tetanus in 1949 at age 10.

“We’ve been noticing more and more, since we came back to live in North Newton [from Grinnell, Iowa, in 1999], what a lovely spot that is, with the little valley,” Berneil continues. “This fall, we’ve had two family gatherings there. We had an informal inauguration for the playground equipment in October with two great-nieces, then 3, and a great-nephew, 10. We enjoyed that so much that our family had a Thanksgiving gathering there a few weeks later.

“We ate and sat around at Kidron Kottage, warmed by the fireplace, without the distraction of TV or phones, and it was so peaceful and beautiful.

“I’d like more people to discover this spot,” she concludes. “It seems to me that there’s been more activity there this fall--I’ve seen young families and even college students playing there.”

Young alumni to gather Jan. 28

Young alumni in the Kansas City area are invited to gather on Saturday, Jan. 28, in Leavenworth. The Young Alumni Committee and local alumnus Matt Watkins ’99, Overland Park, will host the event, which begins at 5 p.m. at Applebee’s, 2912 South 4th Street, Leavenworth. Afterward, the group will attend the Thresher basketball games against the University of Saint Mary.

Similar events in Newton and Leavenworth over the past few years have provided an opportunity for young alumni to connect with Bethel friends in the area and support Thresher sports teams.

The Young Alumni Committee represents alumni between the ages of approximately 22-32, who attended or graduated from Bethel within the past 10 years. Members of the committee are Crystal Enz ’04, Kara Stucky Janzen ’03 and Jerol Schrag ’02 from Newton; Kenton Nickel ’05 from Goessel; Matt Pankratz ’97 from Wichita; Katie Best Stucky ’04 from Buhler; and Krista Voth ’98 from North Newton.

Other young alumni interested in joining the fun in Leavenworth are welcome to attend, as well. Contact kristavoth@hotmail.com for details.

Celebrate kansas and quilts at Kauffman Museum

Kauffman Museum invites Bethel alumni and friends to Celebrate Kansas Day! on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Activities include Conrad Snider ’84, Newton, demonstrating pottery making; Marie Voth ’65 and Martha Voth ’65, North Newton, teaching wheat weaving to children; and Dave Kreider ’82, North Newton, hewing logs the old-fashioned way.

This year’s Celebrate Kansas Day! also features a Plains Indian-style tepee, Irish dancing by the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts, and a bake sale and flea market hosted by friends of the museum. Admission to Celebrate Kansas Day! is free for all ages.

Currently at Kauffman Museum, 18 quilts made between 1840 and 1950 are displayed in “The Gift of Quilting: Mennonite Quilts from the Kauffman Museum Collections.” Guest curator is Bethel senior Karrie Peterson, a history and social science major from Pella, Iowa. Karrie organized the quilts to represent techniques, new traditions and the interaction among people through giving and receiving quilts. Julie Miller ’05, Inman, Kan., designed the exhibit logo. “The Gift of Quilting” is on exhibit to Jan. 27, closed for Celebrate Kansas Day! weekend, and open again Jan. 31 to Mar. 5.

Regular admission to the museum is $3 for adults, $1.50 for children ages 6-16, and free for children younger than age 6.

Calling all alumni: Phonathon 2006

Alumni Council members, alumni office staff and volunteers will call alumni Feb. 7-25 to invite them to give to Phonathon 2006. This year’s phonathon will focus on Bethel’s Current Fund. Donors may also support other Bethel projects if they wish.

The Current Fund supports a variety of student-centered programs and activities, among them:

  • scholarships
  • campus ministries
  • science equipment
  • choir experiences
  • theater and opera productions
  • undergraduate research
  • instrumental ensembles
  • library books and other resources
  • ministry inquiry opportunities
  • wellness center equipment
  • cross-cultural learning
  • student organizations
  • classroom computers
  • the observatory
  • the campus health center
  • convocation speakers
  • intramural activities
  • athletic uniforms and equipment
  • organ maintenance
  • student recruitment
  • campus landscaping
  • the Christmas gala for students
  • upkeep and improvement of facilities
  • salaries of faculty and staff

Phonathon information will be mailed soon. Alumni may use a response envelope to make a commitment or send a donation, may e-mail their response to alumni@bethelks.edu, or may give to the phonathon online. Volunteers will make telephone calls to those who have not responded by Friday, Jan. 27.

Share your recent news with others

The Bethel College alumni and communications offices invite alumni to e-mail recent personal information of interest to others to be printed in the “Class Notes” section of Bethel’s magazine, “Context,” which is sent to alumni and friends of the college three times a year.

Items may include a recent marriage, new job, birth of a child, awards received, professional or academic accomplishments, promotions, graduate degree earned, publications, volunteer work, retirement, etc.

E-mail information to alumni@bethelks.edu with “Class Notes” in the subject line. Please include your complete name, mailing address and Bethel class year, and indicate your preferred e-mail address for receiving “Thresher E-View,” especially if different from that being used to send “Class Notes” information. Thank you.