Can it be possible? The fleeting season of summer has left us, and here we are again. A new academic year, the 174th of Bethany College, is underway, and the campus is filled with all of the promise and excitement that comes with the cooler temperatures of September.
Again this year, we welcome incoming students who are among the best prepared in Bethany’s history. Although enrollment trends here and at many colleges continue to be impacted by uncertainty generated by the economy and national politics, the students Bethany attracts are committed to success. Our graduation rate is in the top 28%, against a national average of just 40.1%. Also significant is that Bethany is among the top ten colleges in the nation lauded by U.S News and World Report for the number of alumni who attend graduate schools within a year of earning their baccalaureate degrees. These are substantial benchmarks of achievement by our students, and a testament to the academic quality and devoted faculty of our College.
Among our annual traditions as we begin the academic year is welcoming recently appointed faculty members to Bethany. They include:
- Dr. Kathleen M. Hill, Assistant Professor of Education;
- Dr. Zachary K. Marshall, Assistant Professor of Music & Director of the Bethany College Choir;
- Dr. Mark Petersen, Assistant Professor of Political Science, and
- Dr. James Yoo, Assistant Professor of Economics.
The College has 13 endowed faculty positions. Congratulations to new endowed appointees:
- Dr. Anju Ramjee, appointed as the new John F. & Evelyn Casey Steen Professorship in Business;
- Dr. Joseph Walsh, appointed as the new Matthew Quay Ammon Professor of Mathematics;
- Dr. Lisa Reilly, appointed as the new Goulding-Woolery Professor in Chemistry;
- Travis G. Straub, the Renner Visiting Scholar in English, and
- Dr. David Black, the Sarah B. Cochran Visiting Executive in Residence.
Dr. Black is also serving as Provost while the College conducts a search for the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs. He retired this past spring after 16 years as President of Eastern University and Palmer Theological Seminary in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.
I am also pleased to announce the appointment of Eileen Greaf as Vice President for Finance. Eileen has had an extensive career in financial management at Youngstown State University in Ohio where she held several posts including Director of Internal Audit, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships, Assistant to the Vice President for Operations and Planning, and, most recently, Executive Director of Financial Services. We welcome her to our senior management team.
And Bethany’s new marching band, “The Stampede,” will take the field at Bison Stadium this fall. Directed by Matt White, the band promises to be an exciting addition to football weekends at Bethany.
Senior Vice President Sven de Jong and I visited alumni and friends from coast to coast over the summer. This annual tradition enables us to reconnect with Bethanians in major cities throughout America. Special thanks for this summer’s gatherings go to the following hosts:
- Washington, DC, area, hosted by Dr. Arthur B. Keys, Jr. ’67 of International Relief & Development, and catered by Scott Sunshine ’79;
- Pittsburgh, hosted by Greg ‘81 & Ellen (Trebilcock) ’81 Jordan, at Reed Smith;
- San Francisco, hosted by Steve Ruben ’70 & Ken Bado ’77, at The Ruben Law Firm;
- Moorpark, CA, Dean ’74 & Suzanne (Abbott) ’75 Lesiak, in their home;
- Baltimore, hosted by George ’78 & Patricia Davis, at Gertrude’s at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
A new Bethany tradition is “Thirsty Thursday” gatherings for young alumni in selected cities including Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Visit our Bethany College homepage for upcoming alumni events near you. If you would like to host a Bethany alumni and friends event, please let us know!
Many of our alumni and friends around the nation actively sponsor Bethany students for internships, or otherwise assist in their career development. We are very grateful to donors who established the Cooey Davis Experiential Fellowship for business and economics students. The program provides “real-world” career preparation for the global economy. Three students benefited from the Fellowship over the summer: Amber Ridings, Peter Franklin, and Cameron Cooper.
Communications and Media Arts students completed a record number of internships during the past two years, gaining experience in such diverse settings as Booz Allen Hamilton, the Voice of America, International Relief & Development, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, regional media affiliates, and many more. We congratulate all Bethany students who have completed internships in various disciplines.
Finally, let me offer a quick update on our campaign, “Transformation Now!” This multi-year funding program, which supports our long-range strategic plan, has reached the $45 million mark in gifts and commitments. Among the impressive statistics emerging from this national campaign are the following:
- The campaign has received gifts from over 3,200 donors;
- Thirty-eight percent of Bethany alumni have contributed;
- Over 2,450 donors increased their gifts;
- One hundred percent of the Board of Trustees and Alumni Council, and a substantial percentage of Bethany faculty and staff, have contributed.
We thank all who have supported Bethany College thus far through this campaign. Please remember as well to make your annual gift through The Bethany Fund, which supports numerous campus programs and initiatives that keep Bethany competitive. Every gift to The Bethany Fund, which also increases the campaign’s record of total support, is welcomed and valued. We appreciate this special expression of confidence in our mission and overall direction as a national liberal arts college.
In my 2013 State-of-the-College Address live on the Bethany Broadcasting Network, I outlined our recent successes and renewed opportunities. If you missed the address, you can find it archived on our website, www.bethanywv.edu.
Annie and I wish everyone the very best for the new academic year. I hope you will visit the College during Homecoming, September 27-28, and Alumni Weekend, May 3-4, 2014, or whenever your schedule permits. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus—the beautiful and historic setting of A Small College of National Distinction.