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Perry White to serve as 14th president, attend WDC gathering

The thunderstorm passed to the north and Bethel College’s 117th commencement exercises proceeded outdoors in Thresher Stadium for the third year.

Perry D. White, Manitowoc, Wis., will become the 14th president of Bethel College. He and wife, Dalene White, will soon make their move to North Newton with his first day anticipated to be in mid-July.

Before they even arrive on campus, the Whites will attend the Bethel alumni gathering scheduled for 9 p.m. Friday, July 9, at the Western District Conference (WDC) regional Mennonite sessions in Waxahachie, Texas. All alumni and friends of the college are invited to the gathering, at which President White will offer brief remarks and answer questions. The couple will also meet conference goers and attend sessions Saturday morning and afternoon.

“The Bethel Board of Directors is excited and pleased to announce Dr. White’s appointment from a very strong set of outstanding candidates,” said Melvin Goering, Santa Fe, N.M., board chair. “The candidates were evaluated extensively by the board’s Presidential Search Committee and by the campus and wider community, with the assistance of the Mennonite Education Agency staff and board.”

White has a “lifelong commitment to faith-based private college education,” Goering said. He has a bachelor of arts in music education from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, and is currently vice president for external relations and admissions at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc. Before coming to Silver Lake College in 2008, White was vice president for college advancement at Monmouth (Ill.) College.

“Dalene and I are truly honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve Bethel College. During our visit to campus, we were so impressed by the people, programs and unwavering commitment to quality higher education that is deeply rooted in the heritage and values of the Mennonite tradition,” White said. “We look forward to working with the many alumni, friends and colleagues to further the college’s mission, as we seek to prepare graduates for lives of successful service beyond graduation.”

Bethel presents “Check for Charity” to Ohio youth group

Clark Oswald, associate director of admissions, visited Kidron (Ohio) Mennonite Church May 16 to present a check for $1,000 from the college’s exhibit at the Mennonite Youth Convention (MYC) in Columbus, Ohio, last July.

Oswald gave the check to the church’s youth pastor, Thomas Dunn. Dunn let the youth group member who drew the winning ticket, Central Christian High School student Fritz Lehman, choose who would benefit from the funds.

Lehman chose three organizations: Interlink Ministries, based in Apple Creek, Ohio, which provides services to help congregations, other Christian organizations, individuals, long- and short-term independent missionaries and other Christian workers pursue their vision for ministry; JAARS, based in Waxhaw, N.C., a nonprofit organization committed to facilitating Bible translation by giving technical support and resources to Wycliffe Bible Translators, SIL International and related organizations around the world; and Mission Aviation Fellowship, based in Nampa, Idaho.

Oswald presented the check at Harrisonburg Nov. 22, 2009, and is scheduled to be at University Mennonite July 25.

Facilitator trainees discover skills on adventure course

The “elements” are coming together as Bethel’s new Discovery Adventure Course continues to take shape.

June 1-4, a group of a dozen people completed training on the Bethel campus to be adventure course facilitators. “We did soft skills facilitator training, winding up with CPR and first aid,” says Chad Childs, vice president for student life. “This workshop built on the technical skills training we completed with Tom Leahy, and moves into various applications specific to our course and elements.”

In January, Tom Leahy of Leahy & Associates, Lafayette, Colo., was on campus to direct construction of the course and provide technical training -- acquainting potential facilitators with each element, how it was constructed and how it could be used.

In the soft skills training, the facilitators learned “how to facilitate and process the different elements, activities and games,” Childs says. “We [went] through each element to try to gain a good idea of what it’s like to experience them [as both participant and facilitator]. At each one, [our trainer] would tell us: ‘Put on your participant’s hat.’ And then: ‘Put on your facilitator’s hat.’”

Bethel golfers learn and teach life lessons with their game

A highlight for the Bethel golf team, players and coach alike, has nothing to do with low scores, pristine greens or picture-perfect putts.

Instead, it’s the annual service trip to Kids Across America (KAA), a Christian sports camp for inner-city youth on Table Rock Lake in southwestern Missouri. Around 6,300 campers come to KAA each summer from nearly 500 cities across the United States.

KAA golf instruction takes place at the Payne Stewart Memorial Golf Complex, funded through gifts of Payne Stewart’s family and other professional golfers to honor the 1991 and 1999 U.S. Open champion and Missouri native, who died in a plane crash in 1999.

Golf is a sport that builds on character qualities KAA seeks to instill in its campers, Coach Gregg Dick says. During their time at KAA, every child has a chance to participate in the programs at the golf facility -- either as a “specialty” (choosing golf as an activity to concentrate on during the week, spending a couple hours each morning on the sport) or as a brief introduction during an afternoon or evening.

Five players and Dick spent June 10-14 at KAA. Two players -- senior Justin Regehr and sophomore Abram Rodenberg, both from Halstead -- went to KAA for the first time. Cameron Voth, junior from Goessel, and Jordan Esau, junior from Hutchinson, were on their second service trip. For Zach Frey, senior from Goessel, it was the fourth year in a row at KAA.

Flickner named KCAC Athletic Director of the Year

Bethel athletic director Diane Flickner has been named the 2009-10 Athletic Director of the Year in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC).

KCAC Commissioner Scott Crawford made the announcement June 16. Flickner will be honored at the next KCAC Sport Management Conference, August 10 at Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina.

One of the most notable of Flickner’s accomplishments this past year was her volunteer work as chair of the Sport Regulations Initiative (SRI), an extensive review of contest limitations, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)/KCAC rules compliance, and redefinition of the KCAC’s future as a continuing member of the NAIA.

“Diane has been instrumental in our move forward as a conference in the last several years,” said Andy Lambert, athletic director at Sterling College. “I have been extremely blessed by her leadership.”

John Sheriff, Bethel’s interim president, noted, “Diane Flickner is first and foremost an educator who believes excellence is always possible. In the classroom, on the court and as department chair and athletic director, she has set a very high standard of performance. She sets the tone and philosophy for athletics at Bethel College, and I am glad she is being recognized for her leadership once again by the KCAC.”

With this recognition at the conference level, Flickner will now be nominated by the KCAC as NAIA National Athletic Director of the Year. These nominations are due July 1.

“Mennonite Life” returns in online form

Once again, “Mennonite Life” has risen from the dead.

Since 1946, when Bethel College began publishing the journal, “Mennonite Life” has been devoted to exploring and developing Mennonite experience. Its intended audience is scholars and academics as well as a wider literate readership interested in Mennonite matters.

From 1946-99, “Mennonite Life” was published in paper form. Starting with the March 2000 issue, it became a free, online-only journal. Over the decades of its existence, “Mennonite Life” has undergone many transitions in leadership, delivery format and frequency of publication. Some transitions, including the most recent one, have been “near-death experiences,” said Mark Jantzen, associate professor of history.

Since the decision to suspend publication of “Mennonite Life” with the Fall 2008 issue, Brad Born, vice president for academic affairs, and a diverse group of faculty have held wide-ranging discussions about the journal’s future.

“We finally decided to continue with the online version,” said Jantzen, “but to move to an annual issue format and to engage a broader circle of faculty and staff as an editorial and advisory council in order to solicit content from a wider network of contacts. We will also be more intentional about including student writing and essay material available on campus and from other venues. We are especially pleased that the work of the annual ‘Mennonite Bibliography’ can continue in ‘Mennonite Life’.”

Kauffman Museum to host exhibition of “Memory Jewelry”

Kauffman Museum’s next special exhibition, “Beloved: Artwork by Kristin Diener,” will feature handcrafted personal adornment and whimsical rolling toys. It will be open to the public July 17- Aug. 22.

Bethel alumni and the broader community are invited to a grand opening celebration Friday, July 16, from 7-8:30 p.m. The artist will offer remarks at 7:30 p.m.

“Many pieces refer directly to my Amish and Mennonite heritage, some incorporating family objects,” Diener says.

Saturday, July 17, from 2-4 p.m., Diener will host the “Bimbamboom Ring Mini-Workshop.” In just 10 minutes each participant and Diener will craft a ring. Learn metalworking techniques to shape and polish your ring while the artist wields the propane torch and nippers!

The $10 workshop fee covers admission to the museum. Participants must be five years of age or older. Enrollment is limited, including first-come-first-served for choice of time.

For more information on the exhibition or ring making workshop, contact Rachel Pannabecker at (316) 283-1612 or via e-mail.