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Graduates begin journey with ’pro-visions’ packed

The 100 members of Bethel’ Class of 2012 enter an unknown future with hope and faith in a God who loves them and the strong backing of a community that has nurtured them.

The college’s 119th commencement took place Sunday, May 20, beginning with baccalaureate in the morning at Bethel College Mennonite Church.

"At the end of the day, we’re family," said Ryan Goertzen, Goessel, one of four students giving reflections at the service. "We can count on each other."

Ritual and music, poetry, prayers and Scripture readings reinforced the baccalaureate theme expressed in a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Make the most of yourself for that is all there is of you." ....

During commencement in Thresher Stadium that afternoon, administrators and faculty formed two columns for the graduates to pass between for both the processional and recessional, to symbolize the care college leaders provided the graduates during their time as students and the blessing wished for them as they enter the world as Bethel alumni.

Rick McNary, Potwin, father of graduate Andrew McNary and founder and CEO of Numana, Inc., recalled a time when his young son was sick and begged him to "Hold me closer, Dad." As he gave the invocation, McNary asked God to "Hold [the graduates] close, Father. Please hold them close."

Commencement speaker Susan Schultz Huxman, president of the youngest Mennonite college in North America, Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario, brought greetings and congratulations to Bethel, the oldest Mennonite college in the continent.

She noted that, despite their age differences, the two institutions are "connected by heritage, mission, shared values - and even shared alumni."

Huxman, a 1982 Bethel graduate, is also the mother of 2012 graduate Julia Huxman, as well as the daughter of Carolyn and former Bethel College President Harold Schultz. She urged students to savor special memories of the past and to keep their stories alive.

Hindsight, Huxman said, is "the ability to see what has come before you" and is one of three ways of seeing that graduates should pack in their "pro-visions" for life. Like water is to the fish that swim in it, these three ways are "hidden in plain sight."

For the complete news story, go here.

Awards given on ’common ground’ in final two convocations of school year

As part of the emphasis on "common ground" - the theme infused into the General Education curriculum - Bethel College’s annual awards convocations were arranged differently this year.

In the past, one has focused on academic excellence and the other on athletic achievement. This year, the two final convocations of the year, held May 7 and 11, had some of both.

Brad Born, vice president for academic affairs, opened the May 7 convocation by noting the "change from the past practice of separating academic and athletic awards." Integrating the awards, he said, illustrated a celebration of "excellence in academics, in athletics and in service and modeling character."

The first of the special awards was a new one that the family of Seth Dunn established following his death. Dunn, of Fresno, Calif., was killed in a skateboarding accident Aug. 1, 2011. He would have been a graduating senior.

Dale Schrag ’69, campus pastor, noted that the award stipulates that "primary consideration will be given to a senior who identifies areas of needed change on campus, challenges others and takes action that makes a difference in accordance with the stated ideals and values of the Bethel community."

He presented the award to Naomi Graber, senior from Elkhart, Ind.

For more of this story, go here.

Grant will help community garden continue to grow

As Sand Creek Community Gardens (SCCG) on campus continues to develop and evolve, a recently announced grant award of $4,506 will help in that process.

SCCG received the funds through the Kansas Community Gardens Project, a joint initiative of the Kansas Health Foundation and Kansas State University Research and Extension. SCCG is one of only 24 community garden efforts in the state to receive funding in the project’s inaugural year.

Grant recipients were selected through a competitive application process that drew interest from organizations and gardens across the state. The Kansas Community Gardens Project is a three-year initiative. The 2012 recipients are the first of what will eventually be more than 60 gardens in the program.

SCCG is now in its third year, located at the corner of 24th Street and Goerz Avenue, just south of the Warkentin Court residence hall on campus. There are 32 garden plots and about 60 gardeners (individuals; families, including children; and students).

With money from memorial funds administered by Bethel College and Bethel College Mennonite Church, a grant from the City of North Newton and individual donations, and through mostly volunteer labor, the gardens area includes a watering system; perennial vegetable, herb and flower beds; a composting and mulch storage structure; and a garden equipment shed with a sheltered meeting area.

By the time the 2013 growing season begins, the gardens - including the shed, which was built so that it could be moved - will have been relocated just north of Memorial Grove at the trailhead of Sand Creek Trail, with vehicle access from K-15 onto 29th Street.

The new gardens area is in what has been fertile farm land, leased to a local farmer and sown in alfalfa over the last number of years.

Although the change was originally sparked by long-range plans for the Bethel campus, SCCG coordinator Duane Friesen ’62, Bethel professor emeritus of Bible and religion and a North Newton resident, says "the move will give us an opportunity to improve the gardens based on what we learned at the [first] site."

For more of this story, go here.

BCWA lecture to focus on boys’ achievement gap

The Bethel College Women’s Association will sponsor its ninth annual faculty lecture Thursday, June 7, at 7 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center. Bethel assistant professor of education Doug Siemens ’84 will speak on "Boys’ Achievement Gap: Framing a New Discussion of Gender and Education."

On April 27, Siemens successfully defended his dissertation for a doctorate in educational leadership from Wichita State University. The title of his work was "Boys’ Achievement Gap and the Ethic of Care: A Participatory Action Research Study."

The abstract for the dissertation reads, "Achievement of boys in school is falling behind girls nationally and internationally. Fewer boys are enrolling in honors and advanced placement classes and fewer of them are going on to college. In fact, when compared to girls, boys earn lower grades, are suspended and expelled more often and more of them drop out. Research is inconclusive on attempts to correct the problem through use of single-sex schools or recruitment of more male teachers."

BCWA will hold a short business meeting prior to the lecture. Refreshments will be served following the presentation. Admission is free and open to the public.

Fall Fest to feature 125th anniversary, other special programming

This year marks Bethel’s 125th anniversary, and the Fall Festival planning committee, 125th Anniversary Committee and Alumni Association Council are planning special events for Fall Fest weekend. In addition, departments are also planning some activities that are new or different.

Special or new activities include the following:

Thursday, Oct. 11

  • 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. "Threshing Stone: Mennonite Artifact and Icon" exhibition at Kauffman Museum (open same hours Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday)

Friday, Oct. 12

  • 6-8 p.m. Reception for artists whose works will be on display in the Fine Arts Center gallery: current art professors David Long and Rachel Epp Buller ’96 and former art faculty members Gail Lutsch, Merrill Krabill, Bob Regier ’52 and Paul Friesen
  • 7-9 p.m. Bethel College Athletic Booster Club and Hall of Fame banquet in the cafeteria
  • 7:30 p.m. Musical "The Secret Garden" in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center (also Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.)

Saturday, Oct. 13

  • 9 a.m. Dedication of the Academic Center in the Tent on the Green
  • 9:30-10:30 a.m. Reception in the Academic Center, with open house until noon
  • 9:30-11:30 a.m. Keith Sprunger, professor emeritus of history and author of the college’s new history, will sign copies of the book in the student center.
  • 9:45-10:30 a.m. 125th-anniversary program in the Tent on the Green, featuring the Newton Community Children’s Choir, reading of the Kansas House resolution, and other words of recognition and celebration
  • 1-2:30 p.m. Performance by Reunion Gospel Choir in Memorial Hall
  • 1-2 p.m. Sprunger will speak on the topic "Voices and Sources of Bethel History 1887-2012" in the Administration Building chapel
  • 3-6 p.m. - African-American Alumni Association reunion reception in the Academic Center atrium, celebrating the 10th anniversary of AAAA charter

Alumni who graduated or associated with the classes of 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2002 will hold reunions on Saturday.

Many other activities are being planned, as well: food, academic booths, arts and crafts, music, children’s activities, a Schweitzer dialect program, the women’s association tent, sports. Some traditional Fall Fest activities will occur at different times and places this year.

Check here in summer for a complete Fall Festival schedule.

Kauffman Museum seeks loans of artifacts, documents and photos

Kauffman Museum invites alumni and friends of the college and the museum to loan the following items to enhance summer and fall exhibition projects:

  • documents and photographs related to immigration and naturalization, to display in "Americans by Choice: The Story of Immigration and Citizenship in Kansas," a traveling exhibition commissioned by the U.S District Court for the District of Kansas. "Americans by Choice" will be on display at Kauffman Museum July 14-Sept. 2.
  • artifacts with threshing stone motifs (from fine art to mass-manufactured memorabilia) to display with "Threshing Stone: Mennonite Artifact and Icon," a special exhibition at the museum Sept. 29-Jan. 20.
  • T-shirts with Bethel College links (such as for intramurals, residence halls, clubs and special events) to display in campus mini-exhibits throughout the 125th anniversary year.

For more information or to offer artifacts to display, contact museum director Rachel Pannabecker ’80.

Give at the end of Bethel’s fiscal year

Bethel’s fiscal year ends June 30, and the college invites alumni and friends to contribute unrestricted donations of any amount by the end of the month.

Unrestricted gifts - those not designated for a specific program or cause - go to the Bethel College Fund, which provides necessary support for scholarships, student ministries, faculty development, campus landscaping, technology upgrades and much more. More than $1 million in donations is needed for Bethel’s annual budget each year.

Gifts to the fund also help Bethel respond to various unexpected needs and opportunities as they arise.

Donate today by going here. Or, mail a gift no later than June 30 to Development Office, Bethel College, 300 East 27th Street, North Newton, KS 67117. Thank you.