At 50, elusive Herman Bubbert still makes his influence felt

Fifty years ago, Bethel had just inaugurated its seventh president (Vernon Neufeld ’49), students, faculty and staff were trying to decide between Nixon and Kennedy for president of the country, and Herman Bubbert first appeared on campus.

Herman Bubbert is a fictitious perennial Bethel student, now known primarily for the campus pranks attributed to him and for giving his name to the college’s annual student film festival, the “Bubbert Awards.”

Herman’s first documented appearance on the Bethel campus seems to have been sometime in 1960. It was part of the “pooka phenomenon,” according to the Diggers Oral History Group, a 1970s Bethel student organization. The pooka phenomenon originated in old Celtic mythology and involves a fictitious character that -- according to a paper the Diggers wrote in 1975 -- is a “wise but mischievous creature” that “appears here and there, now and then.”

“Herman Bubbert” derived from a Herman Goering who lived in Moundridge. At that time, because so many families in Moundridge shared last names, many were given distinguishing nicknames. This particular Goering family’s was “Bubber,” which somehow became “Bubbert.” However, few Bethel students knew who Goering was or made the connection between the two.

Though the specifics of Herman Bubbert’s emergence are unclear, Monte Zerger, a 1966 Bethel graduate and mathematics major, is thought to have had a major hand in Herman’s creation.

“Monte was responsible for everything,” says Arnold Wedel, professor emeritus of mathematics.

“Monte, in the early ’60s, started talking about Herman Bubbert -- it might have even been going on before I knew about it.”

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Richard Rempel recalls that Herman began to be known the year Rempel came to Bethel as a student.

Students gain ministry experience across the country

This summer, four curious Bethel students traveled to four vastly different communities in Texas, California, Iowa and Illinois to explore the pastorate.

Senior Caleb Regehr, Whitewater, participated in the Ministry Inquiry Program (MIP) at San Antonio Mennonite in Texas. A service trip from the previous summer influenced Regehr’s choice of location.

“The Hispanic aspect was the driving force behind where I went,” he says. “The year before, I had gone to Nicaragua and pretty much fallen in love with Hispanic culture, language, food, everything -- I wanted to relive that and become a part of it in some way.” . . .

Naomi Graber, junior from Elkhart, Ind., also witnessed the joys and challenges of diversity and integration. Graber’s MIP experience took place at Community Mennonite Church in Markham, Ill. Graber met the church’s lead pastor, Cyneatha Millsaps, at Bethel in fall 2009, when Millsaps was pastor-in-residence for several days. Graber was fascinated.

“[Cyneatha] came to our New Testament-Paul’s Letters class, so we were asking her about her views on Paul and things like that,” Graber says. “She talked about the vision that she had for the early church revival that’s going on in the broader church and the importance on integration -- the value in an integrated setting and the difficulties.” . . .

For Sarah Pohl, junior from Moundridge, it was also difficult to leave her MIP placement at First Mennonite Church of Reedley, Calif.

“The overall acceptance -- it wowed me,” Pohl says. “I have never felt that much acceptance in one place. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. You felt a part of a family and that was really hard to leave. I’ve never been in a place where it’s been so hard to say goodbye.” . . .

The act of prayer was a highlight for John Miller, senior from Partridge, whose MIP experience took place at Christ Community Church in Des Moines, Iowa.

“Learning that I didn’t and still don’t know how to pray was very significant,” he says. “I had the assumption that if I prayed sincerely and spontaneously then that was what prayer came down to. I think that it does to a degree and that’s significant and incredibly important. But I also think there’s something to be learned from the disciples who said, ‘Jesus, teach us how to pray.’ They didn’t have the assumption that they knew how to pray.” . . .

Volleyball wins 500th conference game

The Bethel volleyball team passed an important milestone in a conference match against McPherson College Oct. 11.

The Threshers won their 500th game in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, in which Bethel has been competing since 1975, when the KCAC began recognizing volleyball as a varsity sport. . . .

In the KCAC’s 35-year history, the Threshers have averaged 14 conference wins a year. As of Oct. 11, Bethel’s record was 500-127 in the KCAC and 943-502 overall, placing the college seventh in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in all-time total wins.

Coaches in the Bethel volleyball program have been Barb Anderson Graber, 1973-77, a 2006 Bethel College Athletic Hall of Fame inductee (a record of 102-37 overall, 54-11 KCAC); current Bethel Athletic Director Diane Sanders Flickner, 1978-88 (402-145 overall, 169-21 KCAC); Elizabeth Young Jarnigan, 1989-93 (84-103 overall, 50-36 KCAC); Bev Mayer ’88, 1994-2005 (252-162 overall, 161-43 KCAC); and Chad Schilling ’96, 2006-present (87-45 overall, 57-15 conference).

“What a great accomplishment for the Bethel College volleyball program,” Schilling said. “This adds to the rich tradition of winning that has been established by previous teams and coaches and continued by the 2010 team. It is indeed an honor to not only be a part of this milestone but also a part of Bethel College volleyball.”

After singing with Hege, concert choir looks forward to KMEA opener

After a recent concert with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra (WSO), the Bethel College Concert Choir has great expectations for the rest of the 2010-11 year.

The concert, which took place Oct. 16-17 at Century II Concert Hall in Wichita, featured a performance of Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 2 in C minor, ‘Resurrection’.” The Concert Choir joined the orchestra, the WSO Chorus and the Friends University Singing Quakers.

The concert was the first of the season under the direction of new WSO music director and conductor Daniel Hege, a 1987 Bethel graduate. . . .

The Concert Choir will return to the stage at Century II next semester to perform the opening concert of the Kansas Music Educators Association convention on Friday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. This is considered the main concert of the convention.

“On that Friday evening, all Kansas music educators and students come to the main auditorium at Century II,” Eash said. “We are normally asked to perform in the Mary Jane Teal Theater, which seats 600 -- this one seats about 2,000.

“Usually it’s bigger schools like Kansas State, the University of Kansas or WSU that perform at this concert, and this year the Concert Choir was invited,” Eash said. “It’s a great honor.”

The Concert Choir was chosen through a blind audition in which judges listen to unmarked CDs sent in by anyone interested in performing at KMEA. . . .

Kauffman Museum’s fall fund-raiser features music and art

Kauffman Museum invites the Bethel community to its 24th annual Living Endowment Dinner on Friday, Nov. 12. The gala evening begins with dinner among the museum exhibits followed by a program “Uncommonly Classical,” featuring the Harder family: Tom ’80, Lois and their daughters Hillary, Madeline and Anna.

Diners will enjoy a preview of the upcoming special exhibition “KANSAS: Kids At Northridge Sharing Art and Story,” featuring work from the museum’s neighborhood elementary school.

“KANSAS” was organized as a collaborative project between Bethel’s expressive arts class taught by LaDonna Unruh Voth ’86, Gail Pryce ’83, Denetta Denno ’90 and Brian Postier, plus Northridge students and Kauffman Museum staff.

For more information or to purchase tickets ($125 per guest) call Kauffman Museum at (316) 283-1612 or contact Andi Schmidt Andres via e-mail. The reservation deadline is Friday, Nov. 5.

Information still available about trip to Greece and Rome

The alumni office continues to distribute information about the trip to Greece and Italy in June 2011, hosted by Bethel alumnus and pastor Weldon Martens ’77, Henderson, Neb. “Footsteps of Paul” is an activity of the Alumni Association. The trip for alumni and friends of the college is offered in cooperation with MTS Travel, Ephrata, Pa.

A brochure and registration form can be downloaded online in PDF format using Adobe Reader. Printed copies are also available from the Bethel alumni office by calling (316) 284-5251 or e-mailing. Early registration is encouraged.

The tour is an opportunity to travel together, learn and have fun at locations recorded in the Bible in Acts 17-18. The itinerary includes visits to Athens, Corinth, Delphi, Meteora, Thessaloniki, Kavala, Philippi and Veria, plus a three-night Mediterranean cruise to the islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Crete and Santorini. The trip will conclude with three days in Rome, including a free day for participants to explore the city on their own.