From our beautiful mountaintop campus, we Bethanians see the renewal of possibility as each new academic year becomes a reality. With one of the strongest academic profiles among entering students in our history, we see much promise as we advance through our 174th year as a liberal arts college.
Fall Convocation on September 12 helped to set the tone. During the ceremony in Commencement Hall, Dr. Harald Menz, Professor of World Languages and Cultures and Director of International and Interdisciplinary Studies, received the International Association of College and University Presidents Faculty Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual who works tirelessly to further global understanding inside and outside the classroom. Dr. David R. Black, Interim Provost and Sarah B. Cochran Visiting Executive in Residence, announced that Dr. Menz also received the John R. Taylor Memorial Award in Liberal Arts.
Kathy Shelek-Furbee, Professor of Social Work, Program Director and Chair of the Department of Social Work, accepted the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll award for Bethany’s support of volunteering, service learning and civic engagement. Kathy has been the driving force behind our community service efforts.
Dean of Students Gerald Stebbins announced the recipients of the Anna Ruth Bourne Award, the W. Kirk Woolery Award and the Richard B. Kenney Freshman Leadership Award. The Anna Ruth Bourne Award is given each semester to the women's social group maintaining the highest scholastic standing. This semester’s award went to Alpha Xi Delta. This semester’s W. Kirk Woolery Award, given to the men's social group maintaining the highest scholastic standing, was presented to Phi Kappa Tau.
The Richard B. Kenney Freshman Leadership Award went to sophomore communications major Anne Taylor. It is given annually to a student who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship, leadership and character at Bethany.
The Convocation was capped by a moving address from Paulo Nzambi, senior vice president and COO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation.
Throughout his childhood, Nzambi faced many hardships in his home country of Angola, where a civil war led to the death of millions. After leaving the African nation, Nzambi made his way to the United States, where he is now an accomplished businessman and playwright. His last visit to Bethany was in January, when he spoke during our annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Celebration.
During his address, “What Will You Contribute,” Nzambi challenged our students to consider, “as you embark on these years at Bethany College, what will be your contribution?” “The job that you may find upon leaving this place is work that you have to do…,” he said eloquently. “But it very well may not be the work that you were called to do. Somewhere beyond the day-to-day may lie your contribution – your calling.”
If busy Homecoming 2013, September 27-28, was any indication of activity this fall, the 2013-14 year at Bethany will be packed with excitement.
The weekend began with the 9th annual Hugh “Tiger” Joyce Golf Scramble at Highland Springs Golf Course on Friday and continued with the Communications and Media Arts Department Open House and 2013 Wall of Fame unveiling at Bethany House. This year’s inductees to the Wall of Fame were Don Blashford ’76; George Manahan ’83, and Jeff Lapin ’75, who was also this year’s John Keresty Lectures in Journalism speaker during the annual Communications Week. Past Wall of Fame honorees in attendance included Rick Clancy, Marie DeParis and Evelyn del Cerro.
In Commencement Hall, the annual Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Banquet honored Robin Sayre Pietryk, ’90, volleyball, women’s basketball and softball; Rosanne Scott ’00, women’s basketball; Keith Schubert ’03, men’s basketball and Rachael Schafer ’03, softball. Reunion class receptions were held on the patio area of Mountainside Conference Center, and an artists’ exhibition and reception welcomed guests to the Renner Art Gallery in Bethany House.
Saturday featured many different kinds of celebrations of Bethany’s past, present and future. The Allison’s Run at Cunningham Soccer Complex was well attended as runners and walkers gathered to remember the late Jim Allison, professor of mathematics at Bethany. Match-ups featuring women’s tennis and women’s soccer, tours of the Old Main Tower, the traditional Homecoming Parade, class photos, rededication of Hoag Field—with many Hoag family members in attendance—and our football win against Grove City rounded out a full Saturday of festivities. Last but not least, Bethany’s new marching band, The Stampede, appeared in their new uniforms at Bison Stadium on a spectacularly beautiful Homecoming afternoon.
Two weeks ago, we also hosted the 1963-64 men's basketball team, the only undefeated team in Bison roundball history, for their 50th reunion. Thanks to Joe Kurey ('62), then assistant coach and long-time former Bethany administrator, for assembling the special gathering which included Bard Hickman, Charlie Cross, Rev. Larry Deitch, Jim Uhrig, Jim O'Roark, John Simms, Phil Harrison, Ed Kidd, Tom Lash, Rich Cipullo, Rev. Harry Bolen, Ed Blundon, and Howard Hoffman.
A college campus is an exciting place to be in the fall, none more so than on the beautiful campus of Bethany. We wish for all of you a wonderful autumn season, and hope you’ll keep in touch with a Small College of National Distinction.