Spring has arrived at Bethany, and with it, the timeless blessings that accompany this season of hope and regeneration. Although winter prompted extra vigilance this year, and many called for the demise of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, nature has redeemed itself through a mild and lovely spring arrival on campus.
It is one of the busiest periods at Bethany, capped by Honors Day, Alumni Weekend, comps, and Commencement. We pause, barely, for May Term before a deceptively quiet summer of planning for the fall term. Such is life at a nationally ranked small college where schedules never really slow down, given the urgency to keep enrollment strong, fundraising reliable, and students well prepared. The world they will face as career professionals is not leisurely, and so neither can we afford to be in guiding them.
But amid the excitement of spring and the promise of a busy next few months, let me take a moment to offer updates about some very special individuals at Bethany.
We welcome Mollie Cecere to the Bethany family as our Director of Enrollment Management. A 2003 graduate of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., Mollie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. With over ten years of experience working in enrollment management, Mollie has spent the last nine years at Point Park University where she served as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions. Mollie, her husband Joe, and their son reside in Bethel Park, Pa.
In June we’ll be saying thank you and congratulations to a key member of our administrative staff, William “Bill” Kiefer, who is retiring from the College. Bill, a 1971 graduate of Bethany, was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, and has served the College in many capacities. He was on the Bethany College Alumni Association Board of Directors for 10 years, and for six years was a member of the Bethany College Board of Trustees. For the last eight years, he has held the position of Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Bethany College.
Bill earned a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1974. After more than 10 years in private law practice, he joined Weirton Steel, serving as a senior executive for over 20 years. In recognition of his service to his alma mater, Bill will receive the Robert A. Sandercox Award during Alumni Weekend, May 3-5. This unique award was created to honor those who contribute to the heritage and history of Bethany College, in a way compatible to our mission and with beneficial impact on students, faculty, administration, and alumni. Bill will be only the third individual to receive the award since it was established in 1997. We wish him and his wife Maria, also of the Class of 1971, the very best.
The Bethany College 2013 Senior Art Exhibit was on display April 5-14 in the Renner Art Gallery. The show featured the combined works of senior studio art majors Carl Dean Cosentino, Marcus D’Aguiar-Alexander, Brennan Davies, Elizabeth Kletzli, Kayla Smuck and Victoria Spriggs. The exhibit was comprised of various works created during their career at Bethany College, using painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and other media.
We also celebrated the release of a new, Juniper-Prize-winning poetry collection by Assistant Professor of English Dr. Brandon Lamson on April 12 in the Academic Parlour. Dr. Lamson read from his “Starship Tahiti,” his first book of poems. A 2010 graduate of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, he is also the author of a chapbook of poems titled “Houston Gothic,” which was published in 2007. His work is also in a forthcoming analogy to be published this year titled “Poets for Living Waters: An International Response to the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The year’s achievements by Bethany students were celebrated on April 18 during the annual Honors Day Convocation in Commencement Hall. As I reminded them in my welcoming remarks, “leadership and academic excellence are qualities of a thriving and vital liberal arts college—and the tradition of recognizing achievement is not limited to a single award ceremony.” Yet there were some amazing accomplishments recognized during the morning’s ceremonies.
Some of the special award recipients included Katrina Miller for the John R. Taylor Memorial Award in Liberal Arts; Amber Ridings and Shannon Marks for the Pittsburgh Bethany College Club Award as Outstanding Junior Women; Cameron Cooper for the W.F. Kennedy Prize as Outstanding Junior Man; Gabriela Nunez for the Bethany 2000 Prize; and Johnathan Foster for the Francis O. Carfer Prize as the Outstanding Senior.
Library Director Heather Ricciuti received the President’s Staff Excellence Award, and Professor of Finance Anju Ramjee and Assistant Professor of Communications and Media Arts and Chair of the department M.E. Yancosek Gamble were recipients of the President’s Faculty Excellence Award. For highest scholastic standing this year, Alpha Xi Delta won the Bourne Award, with Beta Theta Pi receiving the W. Kirk Woolery Award. Congratulations to the many other students who were honored on this day, some of whom were joined by their families for this special occasion.
So as we enjoy spring and hurry to finish our semester obligations, we are reminded by the achievements of many in our campus community of the rich blessings of Bethany College. We send to you our warmest wishes for a beautiful spring season, along with our appreciation for your year-long support of A Small College of National Distinction.