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Commencement speaker challenges graduates to “cultivate caring”

Bethel’s commencement speaker, Mark McCormick, tackled what seems to be the looming issue for the class of 2009 in the United States: the economy.

But the career journalist deliberately gave his address a title -- “The Caring Economy” -- that could be read several ways, and treated the topic with a twist that seemed to resonate with his audience.

McCormick was speaking to the 116th graduating class, with ceremonies taking place for the second year in a row outdoors in Thresher Stadium Sunday afternoon, May 24. The second-year tradition of a peal of bells from the electronic carillon atop Memorial Hall marked the much older tradition of the graduates’ march around the Green, led by the commencement speaker, administrators and faculty.

As the procession entered the stadium, Director of Church Relations Dale Schrag ’69, as he did last year, rang the bell that has marked the “opening of school” since the mid-1970s and which the 119 graduates would have heard right before the first convocation of the school year when they arrived at Bethel as freshmen or new transfers. There was also a new ritual added to commencement: touching a threshing stone, the same one freshmen touch as they are welcomed to campus at the first convocation.

13 Bethel athletes compete at nationals

Two groups of Bethel athletes capped extraordinary spring seasons by qualifying for national competition.

The women’s tennis team won the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) tournament May 2, which qualified them for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) tennis championship in Mobile, Ala., May 12-16.

At spring track and field meets, seven athletes qualified to compete at the NAIA national tournament in Edwardsville, Ill., May 21-23. Bethel coach Tracy Tuttle was named KCAC Coach of the Year.

Six Threshers competed at tennis nationals: Rachael Bachman, sophomore from Emporia; Allison Kaster, sophomore from Wichita; Maya Kehr, junior from Goshen, Ind.; Katie Malotte, freshman from Marysville; Paige McKinney, senior from Newton; and Katie Robertson, senior from Lawrence. Freshman Julia Huxman from Wichita and senior Abby Miller from Elkhart, Ind., were also on the team, coached by former Bethel player Lonnie Isaac ’93.

It was the first time that the Bethel women’s team had qualified for nationals in more than 10 years. Although the opportunity was rewarding, the play was short-lived. The Threshers fell to Brenau University, Augusta, Ga., 9-0 in the opening round.

At track and field nationals, Garrett Hiebert, sophomore from Goessel, placed fourth and earned all-American honors in the javelin with a throw of 215-3. Andrew McNary, freshman from Potwin, finished seventh in his 400-meter hurdles semifinal heat with a time of 54.18. David Daugharthy, junior from Iola, placed 17th in the javelin. Annette Gingerich, sophomore from Parnell, Iowa, finished 25th in the women’s 10,000-meter run. Tyler Schroeder, junior from Goessel, placed eighth in his flight with a throw of 50-5.5 in the shot put. Kristen Schrag, senior from Moundridge, finished seventh in her 800-meter run semifinal heat with a personal record of 2:15.35.

Last call for golfers to benefit athletic department

Teams and individuals can still sign up to play in the Thresher Golf Open scheduled for next Sunday, June 7, at the Sand Creek Station golf course, Newton. The 18-hole four-person scramble for men and women starts at 1 p.m. and will benefit the Athletic Department. The last day to register is Thursday, June 4.

Booster club names hall of fame class of 2009

The Bethel College Athletic Booster Club has named the following athletes to its Hall of Fame Class of 2009, to be inducted during Fall Festival, Saturday, Oct. 3:

Mark S. Ediger, Mission, who played basketball at Bethel 1994-1998, led the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) in scoring with 24.9 points per game. As a senior, he was top five in scoring in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), was named first-team and also KCAC Player of the Year, and was a first-team NAIA All-American. Ediger was also an NAIA All-American his junior year -- the first All-American in the history of the Bethel men’s basketball program -- and was a four-time All-KCAC selection and KCAC Freshman of the Year.

The 1993-1994 men’s tennis team was the most dominant team in the history of the KCAC -- male or female. Jared Ward, Derek Dummermuth, Victor Gil, Wayne Hodgson, Chris Mitchell, Vance VanPelt and Troy Brodhagen were guided in their success by Assistant Coach Grant Scott and Head Coach Marty Ward. Not only did they win every conference dual meet and tournament match, they did so with only the loss of one set on the final day of the KCAC tournament. At nationals in Tulsa, Okla., they finished 17th, the only top-20 finish by a men’s tennis team in Bethel history.

Bethel to host gathering at Mennonite Convention

Participants in the Mennonite Church USA convention in Columbus, Ohio, June 30-July 5, are invited to a gathering for Bethel alumni and friends of the college Thursday, July 2, at 9:30 p.m. in Room E 150 of the convention center. The informal gathering will feature music by Bethel’s popular student praise band, Lost in Lights, and remarks by President Barry Bartel.

Members of Lost in Lights are Andrew Findley ’09 from Coffeyville, senior Jesse Goertzen from Goessel, junior Graham Unruh from Newton, Michael Unruh ’09 from Peabody and Max Wedel ’09 from Tucson, Ariz.

Those attending are also invited to stop by the Bethel booth in the Mennonite Education Area in the Exhibit Hall E during the week. Presidents of the Mennonite higher education institutions will be available in the MEA area Wednesday, July 1, from 4-6 p.m. to visit with alumni and friends.

Still room in museum day camps

There’s still room in several Uncle Carl’s Camps at Kauffman Museum this summer. Museum staff invite you to spread the word among family and friends in middle school and high school (students ages 12-18) about the following:

“Discover Natural Kansas!” will be taught by Travis Krehbiel ’92 from July 7-10. Campers ages 12-14 will explore natural habitats such as the prairie, woodlands and streams near the museum and look for inhabitants. On the last day of camp there will be an all-day field trip to Kanopolis State Park to see ancient petroglyphs and evidence of stampeding bison.

During “Writers of the Prairie” July 13-17, junior and senior high students will meet with Karen Kreider Yoder, a consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project and professor of literacy at Touro University, Vallejo, Calif. Campers will explore writing interests, learn more about the craft of writing, plus read poetry and short memoirs from great writers of the prairie states while using museum artifacts and the prairie as inspiration for their own writing. The camp will provide in-depth instruction, flexibility in assignments and opportunities to share with peers. (On July 14 and 16, Kreider Yoder will also lead two afternoon sessions for adults interested in great writers of the plains and creating their own prairie pieces or memoirs. The cost for museum members attending an adult class is $12 per session.)

There are also a few spaces left in art camp for children age 9-12 with LaDonna Unruh Voth ’86. “Manipulating Media for an Artist’s Vision” will be held June 8-12 from 9-11:30 a.m.

The cost for Uncle Carl’s Camps is $60 for museum members and $75 for non-members. The fee includes a T-shirt. Contact Andi Schmidt Andres at asa@bethelks.edu or 316-283-1612 for more information or to register.

Alumni stories and lecture to commemorate Dr. King’s visit 50 years ago

Mark your calendar for a special event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking at Bethel as part of the Memorial Hall Lecture Series.

Dr. Vincent Harding, professor emeritus at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, will speak in Memorial Hall on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 (Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday). Dr. Harding worked alongside Dr. King and has been on the Bethel campus numerous times. A plaque honoring Dr. King’s Jan. 21, 1960, visit to Bethel will be placed in Memorial Hall that evening.

As part of the observance, the college is interested in identifying alumni who (1) heard Dr. King speak in Memorial Hall that night, (2) worked in the South with the civil rights movement, (3) participated in civil rights or anti-war marches with Dr. King, or (4) participated in the Bethel College/Spelman College exchange program. Please contact Sondra Koontz at (316) 284-5349 or skoontz@bethelks.edu with your name and story.

From 1959-64, the college cooperated with Spelman College, a historic Black liberal arts college for women located in Atlanta, in a student exchange program. The selection of students was by faculty committees at each school.

Dr. Harding’s lecture and placement of the plaque is one of a series of special events leading up to Bethel’s 125th anniversary in 2012.

Verdant campus trail and grove beckon

Among the attractive physical features of the Bethel campus are Sand Creek Trail and Memorial Grove. Both are especially lush this spring, after abundant rain and mild spring temperatures.

Sand Creek Trail begins near Voth Hall, then extends east along Kidron Creek, north beside Sand Creek, west to follow Highway K-15 and back to the starting point. The trail hosts varied plants, animals and birds and provides an excellent opportunity to walk, bird-watch or exercise in a restful environment.

The newest feature of the trail is Arbor Lane, established in 2006 through the planting of 54 trees of 18 species ranging from varieties indigenous to Northeast Asia to the Central Plains of the U.S. Each tree is labeled with its common and Latin names.

Memorial Grove, established north of Voth Hall in 2003, is a garden with seating around a fire pit for small group gatherings, meditation or worship. Memorial Walkway with some 90 bricks honors individuals from the college and the North Newton community. The grove can be reserved for use by calling Shirley Dietzel at Thresher Bookstore, (316) 284-5202.