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Couple’s gift will help students keep making music

Jerry and Leann Toews of Goessel love music, and they love Bethel College. So they decided to do something for the benefit of both. On Dec. 18, the Toewses presented Bethel’s instrumental music department with a gift of $35,000.

Both Jerry and Leann are Bethel graduates, Jerry with degrees in music education and industrial arts and Leann with a degree in elementary and secondary education in English, speech and drama. Their daughters, Katrina and Annaken, are also Bethel graduates.

Until he retired in 1996, Jerry taught instrumental music at small schools in grades 5-12, most of the time (1973-96) at Goessel High School. “Instrumental music has been my career,” he says, “so I’m interested in what goes on in instrumental music at Bethel College. I attribute my own successes in instrumental music to the skills I learned at Bethel” from teachers such as J. Harold Moyer, Walter Jost, Jim Faul and David Suderman.

“Since I’ve taught both vocal and instrumental music, I know how much it takes to fund an instrumental music program correctly--to get good quality instruments,” Jerry continues. “Bethel hasn’t had extra money to give to the instrumental music program [including orchestra and jazz]. It’s been amazing what they’ve been able to do with limited funds. We wanted to affirm what’s been done, and to show our support to these two young teachers and their dreams as well as to the fantastic students at Bethel.”

The two teachers to whom he refers are Jim Pisano, who began this fall as the director of the jazz program, and assistant professor of music Richard Tirk, who is in his second year as the head of the instrumental music program, including the Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.

“We are impressed with how well these two seem to work together, their talent, and their rapport with and recruiting of high school students,” Jerry says. “It’s great all they’ve managed to do in a short time.” He points, for example, to “the great strides” the Wind Ensemble has made over the course of just three semesters under Tirk’s direction and to “the professional balance, tone and precision of the jazz groups” after only a semester with Pisano.

Plans for use of the money are not yet finalized, but Pisano and Tirk have discussed some ideas with the Toewses. “We are so thrilled to receive such a generous gift to the instrumental program,” Pisano says. “We [hope] to use the donation to bring in guest artists and to purchase some new instruments that we are in desperate need of. We are really grateful to the Toewses for their support.”

“This gift shows the great support we have from our alumni,” Tirk adds. “Jerry and Leann’s generosity will have an impact on those who have yet to step foot on campus, and their love of Bethel is an inspiration for our current students.”

“We always said we want to give money in our lifetime, so we can see it work and see the rewards,” Leann says. “We think Jim and Richard are doing a good job--we’re very impressed.”

“This is a way for us to say thanks to the college and to support the students and a couple of instructors who are very, very talented,” Jerry says. “Bethel is lucky to have them.”

Bethel named to national service honor roll

Bethel was one of only seven Kansas colleges, and one of only two private liberal arts institutions in the state, to be recognized recently as part of the first-ever President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This new recognition program is designed to increase public awareness of the contributions that college students make within their local communities and across the country through volunteer service.

Besides Bethel, Butler Community College, Fort Hays State University, Independence Community College, Johnson County Community College, the University of Kansas and the University of Saint Mary also made the list. A total of 492 colleges and universities in the United States were recognized.

A year ago, the Corporation for National and Community Service (an independent federal agency charged with fostering an ethic of volunteerism and service in America) and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the creation of the Universities Rebuilding America Partnership. As a result, the Honor Roll program in its first year emphasized the recognition of service activities in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005. The Honor Roll is also meant to identify and promote community service model programs and practices in higher education.

Bethel students, faculty and staff raised more than $11,000 and contributed more than 750 service hours in direct relief for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in addition to scores of hours of local community service through activities such as the Christmas Angel Tree project, leaf raking by members of the Bethel Service Corps, participation in Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the annual campus-wide Service Day in April.

Athletes named to academic All-America teams

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics recently named five Bethel students--two volleyball players and three soccer players--as Daktronics All-America Scholar-Athletes.

Bethany Trimble, a senior psychology major from Clyde, received the honor for the second straight year. She is a four-year letter winner and three-year starter for the Thresher volleyball team who was selected as a first team all-conference performer for her efforts this past season.

Heather Palmateer, a junior from Topeka, is a one-year letter winner and starter for the Thresher volleyball team. She is majoring in business administration.

Men’s soccer team member Braden Hiebner, a senior history major from Hampton, Neb., was a three-year letter winner for the Threshers.

Women’s soccer team member Robin Montano, a senior from Newton, is a two-year letter winner and starter. She will graduate with a degree in English and secondary education.

Jessica Yocum, a senior psychology major from Sedgwick, is a three-year letter winner and starter for the women’s soccer team.

To be considered for this honor, a student must be at least a junior, must have attended the institution a minimum of one full term, must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 and must be a member of his/her respective varsity program.

Young alumni to gather on January 13

Bethel young alumni, their spouses and friends are invited to gather on Saturday, Jan. 13, in Wichita. The Young Alumni Committee will host the event, which begins at 5 p.m. at River City Brewing Co., a restaurant located at 150 N. Mosley St. in Old Town. Afterward, the group will attend the Thresher basketball games against Friends University on the Friends campus.

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 Gaeddert ’04, Ray Garcia ’04 and Jerol Schrag ’02 from Newton; Kenton Nickel ’05 from North Newton; and Matt Pankratz ’97 and Krista Voth ’98 from Wichita.

Other young alumni interested in joining the fun in Wichita are welcome to attend as well. Please RSVP to Krista Voth at (316) 214-0225 or kristavoth@hotmail.com--preferably by Thursday, Jan. 11--so the committee knows how many people to plan on.

Web workshops offer varied learning experiences

Welcome to Education at Bethel (WEB) will again offer a variety of workshops on the Bethel campus on Saturday, Jan. 20. Men and women alike are encouraged to attend.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. with an opening gathering at 8:30 a.m. Two workshops may be taken, with the second one ending at 12:30 p.m. The workshops offered are:

-- “Introduction to Buying and Selling on eBay” by Kristine Tossie

-- “Bead a Bracelet” by 2005 Bethel graduate Julie Miller

-- “Finding Your Way to a Healthier You” by Susan Jackson

-- “Container Gardening” by Andy Rizza

Between the workshops is a brunch from 10:15-11 a.m. (cost included in the registration fee).

Registration cost is $20 with an additional fee of $7 for the “Bead a Bracelet” workshop. Registration forms may be picked up at Thresher Bookstore and are due by Monday, Jan. 8.

WEB is sponsored by the Bethel College Women’s Association. For more information contact Susan Bartel at (316) 283-5632 or asbartel@juno.com.

Celebrate Kansas Day!

Kauffman Museum will host its 10th annual Celebrate Kansas Day! on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Up to 800 people attend each year for free make-it-and-take-it crafts, demonstrations like blacksmithing and log hewing, entertainment, a bake sale, a flea market and wagon rides. A highlight this year will be the auction of a schoolhouse quilt made in part by museum campers at “A Stitch in Time” quilting camp held in July 2006.

All events are held in the museum or on the museum grounds. Bethel students and many alumni join in the fun by volunteering to lead activities or help. For more information contact Andi Schmidt Andres at asa@bethelks.edu or (316) 283-1612.

Phonathon 2007 offers opportunity to support Bethel’s strengths

Alumni Council members, staff and volunteers will call alumni Feb. 6-22 to invite them to support Bethel through the college’s 28th annual phonathon. Donors may give to the Current Fund or a Bethel project of their choice.

Phonathon information, which will be mailed soon, tells stories to illustrate Bethel’s four core strengths: (1) academic excellence, (2) opportunities for participation, (3) intentional, caring community, and (4) faith-based values.

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 at www.bethelks.edu/gift. Volunteers will make telephone calls to those who have not responded by Friday, Jan. 26.