Families and graduates celebrate 114th commencement

Commencement at Bethel traditionally places high emphasis on family.

As in the past several years, members of each graduate’s family were invited to stand and be recognized when he or she walked across the Memorial Hall stage to receive the diploma. On May 20, at Bethel’s 114th Commencement, the auditorium was packed with everyone from the 121 graduates’ own small children to younger siblings to proud, camera-carrying parents to uncles, aunts and grandparents.

Another long-standing tradition is that of having parents of graduating seniors offer the opening and closing prayers for the Commencement ceremony. Vern Rempel, pastor of First Mennonite Church in Denver, gave the invocation. His son, Jess, graduated with a degree in art. Jelena Maksimovic came all the way from Belgrade, Serbia, to offer the benediction and watch her son, Djordje Maricic, earn degrees in communication studies and German.

This year, the “family affair” extended into the class of 2007 in the form of four faculty/staff-child pairs: Paul Lewis, professor of psychology, and his daughter, Emma; Jon Piper, professor of biology, and his son, Josh; Chuck Regier, curator of exhibits at Kauffman Museum, and his son, Abe; and Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, professor of social work, and her daughter, Tina. Emma and Tina are following in parental footsteps so far, earning degrees in psychology and social work, respectively. Josh’s degree is in music and Abe’s in chemistry.

Commencement speaker E. LaVerne Epp, Lawrence, Bethel’s president from 2002-05, gave a warm, intimate address in which he recalled some of his favorite moments with the class of 2007, including a “trick-or-treat in reverse” Halloween prank and regular pizza nights in one of the mods.

New arrival joins nursing department’s family of simulators

As Bethel was welcoming returning alumni as well as families of graduating seniors for the annual Alumni and Commencement Weekend, another new arrival made its debut in the nursing department.

Gregg Schroeder, director of Bethel’s nursing program, introduced visitors to SimBaby®, the newest computerized mannequin. The simulator has all the characteristics of a six-month-old female baby.

“SimBaby® has full monitoring capabilities to give our students the experience of working with an infant in [the Intensive Care Unit],” Schroeder said. “They can do an EKG, take vital signs, start an IV, do assessments of [typical] head issues or code it like on ‘ER.’ SimBaby® has breath, heart and bowel sounds. It can turn cyanotic — the blue tinge around the mouth that indicates a low oxygen level. It cries, coos, coughs and has all kinds of vocalizations. The only thing it won’t do is try to crawl out of its crib.”

Schroeder reported that visitors, who were taking the walking tour of campus that is a part of annual Alumni Weekend activities, were “impressed that we’re able to have this kind of technology to work with our students. Many were overwhelmed with the technology and where it has gone--what we’re able to do with our students right here on campus.”

SimBaby® joins the Bethel nursing department’s family of computerized simulators intended to cover a wide variety of medical scenarios. These include SimMan® as well as Noelle, a birthing simulator, with the accompanying PreemieBaby®.

Only a handful of baccalaureate level nursing programs in the state of Kansas have this kind of computer technology to train junior-level nursing students beginning clinical rotations.

SimBaby’s® purchase was enabled by a $20,000 grant from the K.T. Wiedemann Foundation, along with several individual donor gifts, said Sondra Bandy Koontz, Bethel’s vice president for advancement.

Thresher javelin thrower wins national title

The Bethel track and field team had a couple of shining moments at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Championships, May 24-26 at Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University, when two of its javelin throwers placed in the top six.

Jeff Buller, junior from Inman won the title of national champion in the javelin event by throwing 216-03, breaking his own previous school record and beating out the second-place throw by more than seven feet. Buller placed third in the event at NAIA in 2006 and fifth in 2005.

David Daugharthy, freshman from Iola, placed sixth nationally by throwing his personal best, 197-05. Both athletes earned All-American Honors with their finishes. Bethel’s track team is led by head coach Tracy Tuttle and assistant coaches Cory Ferralez and Travis Graber.

Nearly 300 member institutions throughout the United States and Canada make up the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Visit the NAIA Web site at www.naia.org for complete records from the meet.

For more Thresher spring sports news go to www.bethelthreshers.com and see the box at top right.

Bethel to host gathering and open road concert at Mennonite Convention

Participants in the Mennonite Church USA convention in San Jose, Calif., July 2-7, are invited to two events of special interest.

Alumni and friends will gather on Tuesday, July 3, at 9 p.m. in Ballroom A4 for refreshments and visiting immediately following a “Meet Your Education Leaders” reception in the Ballroom Concourse nearby. The informal Bethel gathering will feature music by the popular Bethel men’s vocal group, Open Road, and remarks by President Barry Bartel.

Open Road will give a concert on Wednesday, July 4, from 10-11 p.m. in the Coffee House area in the adult convention venue. Members of the ensemble who will be singing are Andrew Findley from Burlington; Daniel Graber from Freeman, S.D.; Ben Kliewer from Buhler; Aaron Linscheid from North Newton; Austin McCabe-Juhnke from North Newton; Caley Ortman from Freeman, S.D.; Josh Powell from Basehor; and Greg Shelly from Lenexa.

Those attending are also invited to stop by the Bethel booth in the Mennonite Education Area in the exhibit hall during the week.

Call for alumni award nominations

The Bethel College Alumni Association Awards Committee invites alumni to submit nominations for the annual alumni awards: Young Alumnus, Outstanding Alumnus and Distinguished Achievement. Awards have been given to Bethel graduates annually since 1960.

The Young Alumnus Award recognizes character and citizenship, achievement or service rendered, honor and recognition received; the recipient should be 39 years or under. The Outstanding Alumnus Award is given on the basis of character and citizenship, service to church/community or college, or other outstanding achievements, honors and recognition. The Distinguished Achievement Award acknowledges character and citizenship, achievement in a chosen profession or vocation, and work of benefit to humanity.

The committee welcomes a broad range of nominees who reflect Bethel’s many programs and college experiences as well as achievement or service in a variety of areas. Send names with accompanying comments and/or documentation about the nominee to Awards Committee, c/o Office of Alumni Relations, Bethel College, 300 East 27th Street, North Newton, KS 67117, alumni@bethelks.edu.