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Class to teach research methods, explore Wichita’s black history

Bethel students will have a chance this spring to help give the gift of history to Wichita’s Black community.

Under the supervision of Wichita social scientist Galyn Vesey, an adjunct instructor at the college, students will contribute to the Research on Black Wichita (ROBW) project, which Vesey directs, by collecting data through document searches and other research methods. The specific time period in question is 1945-58.

“An underlying theme here is that history is socially interrelated by both people and ideas,” Vesey says. “We feel differently about ourselves when we find out how and why things happen, or why they may not. We take action, or we don’t, based on our knowledge of history.”

The period from 1945-58 was “the segregation era” in Wichita and there is little documentation on Wichita’s Black community at that time, Vesey says. ROBW has a goal of bringing to life the areas in the city where most Black businesses and organizations thrived, which will require going through boxes of documents from archives, cemeteries and possibly even the Hutchinson salt mines, where municipal records are stored….

The course “Black Wichita: 1945-1958” is designed as a collaborative-inquiry seminar for undergraduate students and is also aimed at members of the community interested in historical research.

Football player and Bethel named “Champions of Character”

A Bethel football player received the 2008 Dr. Ted Kessinger Champion of Character Award from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference even as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) named the college a Champions of Character institution for the eighth straight year.

Omar Hasan, a senior chemistry major from Halstead, who played in the offensive linemen position for the Threshers and currently serves as student body president, was named the fifth recipient of the Kessinger award, which honors the legendary football coach who retired from Bethany College, Lindsborg, in 2004 as one of the most successful coaches in NAIA history. In his 28 years at Bethany, Kessinger never had a losing season.

Hasan was the fifth winner of the award, established upon Kessinger’s retirement and meant to honor what he considered his most important responsibility: to instill moral values and character into his players.

Two new awards reinforce values of Bethel’s nursing program

Strong belief in the values that Bethel College teaches its nursing graduates has motivated two new awards specifically for nursing students.

The Doris and Menno Schmidt Award for Excellence in Nursing has been established by a couple now living in Hutchinson….

The Schmidts established this award for excellence in nursing because Doris has been in many job situations where compassion, self-motivation, dedication and leadership were necessary and of great value, and because of their recognition that as the population increases -- especially the number of older people -- the need for nurses with these values will also increase….

An anonymous donor has established an endowed service scholarship to go to Bethel students working in the health-care facility at Kidron Bethel in North Newton.

The donor has observed “the intellectual abilities, steadiness and compassion” of Bethel student nurses and would like to encourage more to work at Kidron Bethel in order to gain experience in elder and Alzheimer’s care. A Kidron Bethel resident’s IRA is funding the scholarship, possible because the money goes to charity and is not counted as income….

All former students and friends invited to alumni night Jan. 24

Alumni and friends of Bethel of all ages are invited to the college’s third annual Alumni Night at the women’s and men’s basketball games against Sterling College, Saturday, Jan. 24, in Thresher Gymnasium. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., members of the Alumni Council will offer giveaways at the door. They will also conduct a drawing for prizes at halftime of the men’s varsity game.

The varsity women play at 5 p.m. and the varsity men at 7 p.m. Women’s and men’s junior varsity games precede the two varsity games, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.

Anyone who completed 24 credit hours or more at Bethel is an alumnus of the college, whether they graduated or not. Spouses and family members are also invited.

Meet the Alumni Council hosts, sign up for prizes, cheer the Threshers to victory and have fun with others at Alumni Night 2009!

Two special events at Kauffman Museum in January

Kauffman Museum has scheduled two special events in January:

Sunday, Jan. 25, from 1:30-4:30 p.m., expert collectors John Torline and Keven Hiebert will appraise American Indian items brought in by the public. The event is free to Kauffman Museum members or included with the $4 regular price of admission for the general public.

Torline and Hiebert served as guest curators of the exhibit “Pathways of Tradition: Native American Footwear, 1860-1930,” currently on display at the museum. Appraisal Day will be the closing-day activity of the four-month-long show, which features Sioux artifacts collected by museum founder Charles J. Kauffman, originally of Marion, S.D.

Saturday, Jan. 31, from 1:30-4:30 p.m., the museum will focus on the cultural diversity of immigrants to the state at its 12th annual Celebrate Kansas Day! The event is supported by a community development grant from the City of North Newton, a bake sale and flea market organized by friends of the museum, and a silent auction, which this year includes a wall hanging of a sandhill crane by quilt artist Ethel Ewert Abrahams ’67, North Newton.

Celebrate Kansas Day! -- an afternoon of entertainment, demonstrations and make-it-and-take-it crafts for children -- is held the last Saturday of January each year. It is free and open to the public. To donate home baked goods or vintage items for the flea market, contact Andi Schmidt Andres or Rachel Pannabecker at the museum, (316) 283-1612, asa@bethelks.edu, rpannabe@bethelks.edu

30th annual phonathon will support Bethel College Fund

Every February for the past three decades, Bethel alumni have connected with friends and other former students by telephone and raised money for the college through the annual Alumni Association phonathon. Former director of church and alumni relations Ed R. Stucky ’42, Moundridge, organized the first phonathon, which was held in February 1980.

This year, Alumni Council and Young Alumni Committee members, staff and volunteers will call from Feb. 3-21. In light of current U.S. economic uncertainties, donations to the Bethel College Fund (general fund) will be especially appreciated.

Phonathon materials will be mailed soon. This year’s flier features appreciative quotes from current students, including Mayeken Kehr, a junior from Goshen, Ind.

“Just the other day I was chatting with my mom about my experience at Bethel,” Maya says. “The story of how I became a ‘Thresher’ is somewhat of a whirlwind, but I believe that, in some respects, it was divinely guided.

“I truly believe that my gifts have been recognized, encouraged and developed on an intensely personal, caring and supportive level in many ways that they probably wouldn’t have been at a larger or different type of university. I have been able to play soccer and tennis, participate in chapel committee, write for the school newspaper, enjoy the Spanish language through Spanish club, assist with activities through the Student Alumni Association, and simply be a witness to the deep level of thought and conscientiousness of students, professors, administration and staff at Bethel.

“Not just the size but the values of this institution provide an environment that promotes learning at a very high level,” Maya concludes. “For me, my decision to come to Bethel couldn’t have been more right.”

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. 23.

Bethel seeks public comment for accreditation process

Bethel College, currently in the midst of its periodic accreditation process, will undergo a comprehensive evaluation visit Feb. 16-18 by a team representing The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The public is being invited to submit comments regarding the college.

Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs. Written, signed comments must be received by Jan. 16. HLC cannot guarantee that comments received after the due date will be considered. Comments should include the name, address and telephone number of the person providing them and will not be treated as confidential.

Please note that individuals with a specific dispute or grievance with an institution should request the separate Policy on Complaints document from the HLC office at the address given below. HLC cannot settle disputes between institutions and individuals. Complaints will not be considered third party comment.

Submissions are to be mailed to Public Comment on Bethel College, The Higher Learning Commission, 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602.

Alumni invited to reunions and annual awards banquet in May

Mark your calendar now for Alumni Weekend activities, Friday-Saturday, May 22-23.

As part of the weekend’s events, the Classes of 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964 and 1969 will hold special reunion luncheons at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 23. Class members who are interested in hosting their gatherings are asked to contact the alumni office at (316) 284-5251 or alumni@bethelks.edu.

Bethel staff will host a luncheon for the “Heritage Classes” of 1934, 1939 and 1944. The weekend also features other activities open to all alumni, including the annual Alumni Banquet and presentation of alumni awards at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 23.

More information will be sent to all reunion class members in spring.

Each May, classes celebrating their 40th, 45th, 50th, 55th, 60th, 65th, 70th and 75th anniversaries gather for special reunion luncheons the Saturday of Alumni Weekend. Those celebrating their 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th reunions are invited to gatherings the Saturday of Fall Festival.