It’s been a summer of camps, conferences, and our campaign as Bethany prepares for its 175th year. As part of our strategic plan, the College campus has become a year-round facility. No sooner does the last graduating senior cross the Commencement stage in May than we go into summer mode, welcoming visitors of all ages to our mountaintop campus.
We also take Bethany College on the road, with a number of alumni and friends gatherings scheduled around the country during the summer.
This year, Bethany hosted a diverse group of visitors. In addition to boys’ and girls’ soccer camps and high school bands from Ohio and Pennsylvania, there were cheerleading and volleyball clinics and a return visit by the Beast of the East baseball tournament. We welcomed several church groups and again hosted the annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) Awards ceremonies, webstreamed by Bethany’s Communications and Media Arts Program and the Bethany Broadcasting Network. Special guests in July included students from The Neighborhood Academy, the Pittsburgh-based college-preparation program for students in grades 8 through 12.
Last but not least, the returning president of West Virginia University, Dr. E. Gordon Gee, stopped by my office in June for a discussion between West Virginia’s oldest and largest higher-education institutions. In welcoming President Gee back to the Mountain State, we discussed possible areas of collaboration between Bethany and WVU, and recalled his receiving an honorary doctorate from our College.
The Bethany summer “Road Show” saw gatherings of Bethany alumni and friends held or scheduled in Columbus, Wheeling, Dallas, Houston, and Pittsburgh, offering us a chance to update guests on the past year’s progress and our plans for the coming academic term. These are opportunities that I especially cherish as we see our College through the eyes of Bethanians across the generations. Be sure to check our College website soon for upcoming events that may be held near you, including the popular “Thirsty Thursday” events held in various cities. And don’t forget to mark your calendar for Homecoming 2014, October 10-11.
In the fifth year of our campaign, “Transformation Now!” , Bethany celebrated a milestone this summer. We reached the $47 million mark in gifts and pledges. With a $52 million, Phase One goal for campus improvements, the endowment, and current operations, the campaign has supported the early phases of Bethany’s master plan, “Bethany 2020.”
As we communicated to Bethanians over the summer, during these most difficult economic times, our alumni and friends have remained true to Bethany College. While we have historic and excellent facilities, and many loyal contributors, our College’s future depends on the ability to grow and serve the students of tomorrow.
One hundred percent of the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Council, and approximately one third of the College’s alumni, have contributed to the campaign. Thirty-eight percent of Bethany alumni, numerous friends and employees, too, have been counted as contributors. The endowment has grown to $53 million during the campaign – the best among private colleges in the state. Eighteen new endowed funds for scholarships and other program support have been established, and funding has been received for such initiatives as the student service-learning center. Numerous campus facilities, from Bison Stadium to Cochran Hall to the popular Bethany Beanery coffee shop and eatery, have received additions, renovations, or upgrades.
All in all, it’s been another very productive summer. We thank all for participating in our summer camp and conference programs, for visiting the campus and strolling along our historic pathways, and for making a financial commitment to Bethany’s future through our ongoing campaign. Please visit often, here or at an event in your area, because you’re always invited to stay engaged with A Small College of National Distinction.