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Bethel names Barry C. Bartel 13th president

The Bethel College Board of Directors voted unanimously May 2 in support of the Presidential Search Committee’s recommendation of alumnus Barry C. Bartel ’84, Lakewood, Colo., as the 13th president in Bethel’s 119-year history. The appointment ends a year-long search process, the goal of which was to recruit a long-term president with proven leadership abilities.

The search committee was drawn to Barry’s servant leadership style, the analytical and communication skills honed in his legal career, his desire to listen and learn and his interest in higher education, said committee chair Danielle Goering. The committee was also impressed with his cross-cultural awareness/aptitude, developed through living in Bolivia and Haiti, and his obvious passion for Bethel’s rich heritage as well as its future.

Barry graduated from Bethel summa cum laude in 1984 with a triple major in mathematics (computer science emphasis), peace studies and Bible and religion. He received a prestigious Thresher Award in Bible and religion.

Following graduation, Barry and his wife, Brenda (Isaak) Bartel ’84, served for three years as rural community development project coordinators for Mennonite Central Committee in Haiti. Upon their return to the United States, Barry entered law school at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Ore., where he was editor-in-chief of the law review, graduating in 1991. After Barry had clerked for Oregon Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Unis for two years, the family (including son Jordan and daughter Leah) moved to Denver, where Barry began his law practice.

By 1998, Brenda and Barry’s passion for the church led them to accept a five-year leadership assignment with Mennonite Central Committee in Bolivia, directing a multinational staff of 70. As co-director, Barry became adept at program planning, implementation and evaluation; team building, training and visioning; and personnel selection, orientation, policy development and supervision.

Upon completion of their MCC service term in 2003, the Bartel family returned to Denver where Barry resumed his legal career with Holland & Hart LLP. Currently an associate attorney, Barry focuses on complex commercial litigation involving natural resources.

“Bethel’s founders were visionaries when they established the first Mennonite college in North America,” Barry said. “Bethel’s leadership, faculty, staff, students and alumni continue to demonstrate that true excellence combines achievement and character, innovation and discipline. I am excited to help carry that vision forward.”

Barry will prepare for the role of president by serving as president-elect, beginning June 1, until his formal inauguration on Sunday, Oct. 8, during Fall Festival weekend. John K. Sheriff will continue as interim president until that time.

Kansas Colleges come together to worship rather than compete

Around 250 students from seven area colleges crowded into Bubbert’s, the Bethel snack shop, the evening of April 20 for Crossroads, a special contemporary worship event held at Bethel but planned by people from several colleges.

At the initiative of Max Wedel, Bethel freshman from Tucson, Ariz., and campus pastor Amy Barker, Haury Hall resident director Deanna Wisdom worked with a team of students to advertise the event, order T-shirts and arrange catering by Druber’s Donuts and Moka’s coffee shop. Students from Tabor College and Central Christian College helped Amy form the content of the program.

In addition, students from Kansas Wesleyan University, students from Hesston, McPherson and Sterling Colleges attended Crossroads. Students from Bethany College in Lindsborg were invited but had too many schedule conflicts that evening.

“What’s so strong about Crossroads is that it’s bigger than [Bethel], so it doesn’t depend on us and it isn’t confined or defined by us,” Amy said. “All the small Kansas colleges are in similar situations. We can’t each offer every type of worship style to suit all our students. So coming together like this meets the spiritual needs of some students on all our campuses. And the students really liked meeting people from other campuses who enjoy worshipping God in a similar way. Many of them have already said they can’t wait until the next Crossroads.

“I think what surprised them all, and what they kept talking about, was how cool it was to be together and experience unity in their Christian faith instead of competition or rivalry. It gave them a spiritual boost they had never experienced in college. “Crossroads is one of the most amazing things to happen at Bethel since I’ve been here.”

The next Crossroads is May 6 at Sterling College, and Tabor has scheduled the first Crossroads of the fall semester for Sept. 6.

Chemistry major receives regional award

Daniel Unruh, senior chemistry major from Peabody, received an Outstanding Senior Award from the Wichita Section of the American Chemical Society on April 25 at an awards banquet held at the Sternberg Museum at Fort Hays State University. Unruh was selected on the basis of excellent research and academic work done during his four years at Bethel. He was one of only five seniors majoring in chemistry to receive the award this year.

“Dan has an impressive history of undergraduate research during his time at Bethel,” said Richard Zerger, professor of chemistry. “The summer after his freshman year he worked with [associate professor of chemistry] Gary Histand on developing on-line access to instrumentation using LabVIEW. The summer after his sophomore year he participated in an undergraduate research program in computational chemistry at Iowa State University funded by the National Science Foundation. This past summer he did undergraduate research at Notre Dame and that work formed the basis of his senior seminar, ‘The Alteration of Becquerelite to Studtite in the Presence of H2O2’”.

This fall Dan will begin graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind., working in the same research group as last summer.

Business program to require internship or research

Bethel’s business program has recently been revised to require students to complete either a supervised and graded internship or a research project during their senior year, according to Sharon Eicher, associate professor of business and economics.

Internships can take place during classes or during the summer between the junior and senior years. They replace other courses and help students to be more competitive when they enter the job market or apply to graduate school. Students may also complete an internship during their junior year if they choose to do two.

The Department of Business and Economics is currently building a database of opportunities for student internships, and invites alumni to submit information by completing and mailing to the department the form found at www.bethelks.edu/academics/business/interncontactform.pdf. All varieties of internships are being considered.

Alumni and commencement activities 2006

Plan now to attend Alumni Weekend, May 19-20. The Classes of 1931, 1936, 1941, 1946, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966 and 1971 are invited to special meals and coffees. If you have not received an invitation and are a member of one of these classes, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at alumni@bethelks.edu.

All alumni and friends of the college are invited to the annual Alumni Banquet at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, in Memorial Hall. The banquet will feature the student musicians, honor this year’s alumni award recipients Richard Littlebear ’83, Leonard Wiebe ’57 and Joan Banman Wiebe ’57, and recognize this spring’s reunion classes and graduating class. Cost of the buffet meal is $16 per person. To make reservations contact Thresher Bookstore at (316) 284-5205.

As part of the graduation activities of the weekend, baccalaureate will take place at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 21, at Bethel College Mennonite Church, and commencement at 2:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall, at which 102 graduating seniors will be honored.

Dr. Galyn Vesey, Wichita, special consultant to the president, will speak at commencement. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs with a Ph.D. in social sciences, taught at Syracuse and at Utica (N.Y.) College, and retired in 2004 from teaching at Alabama A&M University, Huntsville.

Bethel interim president John Sheriff said that, in his role of consultant, “Dr. Vesey is conducting a policy and program analysis aimed at improving the educational experiences of all students enrolled at Bethel College.”

He is working with an advisory committee of faculty, staff, students and alumni, with the mission of “conceptualizing and developing a framework for capitalizing on both college and community resources, in ways that will enrich the educational, cultural and social experiences of students, faculty, staff and community volunteers.”

Play golf this spring and support Bethel

The Golf Committee of the Alumni Council will host its annual spring tournament on Saturday, June 10, at Eagle Bend Golf Course, Lawrence. Activities begin at 11 a.m. All golfers are welcome.

The tournament is a fund-raiser for Bethel through the Alumni Association. Gift receipts are sent for the amount above the cost of goods and services received. Cost is $70 (includes lunch, green fee, cart and donation).

To register contact the alumni office at (316) 284-5251 or alumni@bethelks.edu. The registration deadline is Wednesday, May 31.

Academy of performing arts announces summer opportunities

The Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts offers an extensive program of educational opportunities this summer.

For the very young there is Twinkle Bugs--one class of music and movement for children ages birth to two years old with caregivers, and a second class for children 3-5 years old. Also offered are Kindermusik camps, held at the academy at 123 East Broadway, Newton.

Private music lessons on most instruments, piano and guitar are offered June 5-July 30, plus a special camp for Suzuki string players called Suzuki to Go. Students from Newton and the greater Wichita metropolitan area will rehearse for three days, then perform at several venues in Newton and Wichita.

Summer classes in ballet, modern, jazz, tap and Irish dance are offered June 12-July 21, including the following:

  • a Summer Dance Workshop for students age seven through adult, June 19-24.
  • Young Dancer Camp: Destination Imagination, for children ages 2 1/2 to 6 years old, June 26-30.
  • Take the Lead, a new ballroom dancing class for teens.
  • Creative Movement for Families, an intergenerational experience.

In addition, art classes are offered by the Monart School of Art. For more information about the summer program, contact academy director Don Kehrberg, (316) 283-4902, bcapa@sbcglobal.net.