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Bethel’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration draws international attention

Local, national and international media reported on Bethel’s special Jan. 18 anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at the college 50 years ago.

The three primary Wichita television news stations -- KAKE, KSN and KWCH -- plus others covered the 1 p.m. premiere playing of the rediscovered recording of King’s speech. Cameras focused on an attentive overflow crowd in Krehbiel Auditorium. Later, the KSN satellite truck beamed a live evening news report from in front of Memorial Hall, where King had spoken Jan. 21, 1960.

National Public Radio affiliate KMUW, Wichita, produced a story that not only played locally, but was picked up nationally and broadcast on Morning Edition that Monday, which was the national King holiday. Print and audio versions of the KMUW story are posted on the NPR Web site.

Other media ran print and audio coverage, as well, including De Stad Nijkerk in The Netherlands.

Hundreds of people came to campus to listen to the recording; hear alumni share their experiences as audience members at King’s lecture at Bethel, as Civil Rights activists and as exchange students at Spelman College, Atlanta; dedicate a plaque in Memorial Hall; hear jazz and view an art exhibit; and hear King colleague Vincent Harding speak in the evening.

A CD and transcript of King’s talk are in the Mennonite Library and Archives on campus, where they may be used for research purposes. The college is working with the King Estate to enable Web site visitors to listen to the speech and view the transcript online.

New class addresses personal finance for students, community members

Responding to national data that show a lack of basic financial knowledge among college-age students, the Bethel business department has developed a new course.

Allison J. McFarland, professor of management and marketing, explains that the course, Personal Financial Literacy, is being offered as part of the Management and Marketing Special Topics course rotation. “The Business and Economics Department offers many courses that prepare students to assume leadership positions in business and industry,” she says. “This is the first course we have included in the schedule that focuses on personal financial management.”

Explaining why the department added this course to its offerings, McFarland points to research done by Charles Schwab & Co. indicating that only 34 percent of parents have taught their teens how to balance a checkbook. Just 29 percent have explained how credit card fees and interest work.

The market turmoil and credit crisis of 2008 underscored the critical need for improved financial literacy in the United States,” McFarland continues. “While there are many causes of the economic problems facing the country, it is undeniable that a lack of financial literacy is a contributing factor. Far too many Americans entered into home and other loan agreements that they didn’t understand and ultimately could not afford.”

Kaufman named to naia all-decade team

Jason Dannelly, the “Sports Guru” for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, has announced his NAIA All-Decade Team, including a former Bethel player and assistant coach.

The All-Decade Team comprises the best small college football players in the NAIA from 2000-2009. Defensive back Brandon Kaufman, Moundridge, graduated from Bethel in 2008 and served as an assistant football coach for the Threshers’ 2009 season.

Dannelly picked the team based on his All-American lists starting in 2002 as well as from NAIA Coaches’ All-America Teams since 2000.

Kaufman, who played for the Threshers from 2004-07, was named to the All-Decade Team in a “defensive at large” position, due to “the exceptionally deep talent” he demonstrated on the field.

“It’s a daunting task to try to narrow down the best players over the last 10 years into a single list,” Dannelly said. “There have been so many great players though the years that some of the best in the NAIA didn’t even make the list. I think that is a testament to the great players the NAIA has produced in the last 10 seasons.”

D.C. Wedel, Bethel’s sixth president, dies at 101

On Jan. 13, Bethel College lost a man who bridged most of the college’s history.

David C. “D.C.” Wedel, 101, Bethel’s sixth president, died just two months shy of his 102nd birthday, at Bethesda Home in Goessel.

Wedel once reminisced that he had “shaken the hand of every Bethel president but the first one” (Cornelius H. Wedel, no relation). D.C. Wedel served as Bethel president from 1952-59.

Wedel also recalled being among those who carried the bricks that the mason used to build the walls of Science Hall (now called Old Science Hall). Completed in 1925, the year Wedel graduated from Bethel Academy, Old Science is the second oldest building on campus after the original structure, the Administration Building.

Wedel, originally from Goessel, graduated from Bethel in 1933. From 1936-46, he served as pastor of First Mennonite Church in Halstead, before then Bethel president Edmund G. Kaufman invited him to come to the college as acting dean while the current dean took a sabbatical.

Kauffman Museum and the Carriage Factory Art Gallery downtown will co-host a special exhibition of Paraguayan art Feb. 27 through May 23. The exhibit is titled “Images of Paraguay: Contemporary, Ethnographic and Folk Art from the Heart of South America.”

Guest curator Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen ’63, Newton, selected art for the exhibit from public and private collections. The goal was to explore and illustrate the diversity of Paraguay’s people and the depth and challenges of the country’s history.

The exhibit at Kauffman Museum will focus on ethnographic and folk art ranging from Ayoreo feather body ornaments to fine lacework introduced during the colonial period. Contemporary works, many of which feature images of political protest and social injustice, will be on display at the Carriage Factory Art Gallery, whose director is Joe Loganbill ’80, Newton.

A grand opening event and public programs are being planned. For more information, contact museum director Rachel Pannabecker, (316) 283-1612 or via e-mail.

Grandparents’ names sought for 27th annual visit day

Bethel’s ever-popular Grandparents Day is scheduled for Friday, April 23. Last year 137 guests -- a record number -- attended the annual event.

Members of the Student Alumni Association (SAA) plan and host Grandparents Day. Morning activities include time to visit with students over coffee and rolls, attend classes and convocation, enjoy a talent show and eat lunch with students. Additional optional activities are offered in the afternoon.

So that all grandparents of current students might receive an invitation, parents as well as grandparents are asked to e-mail the following to Dave Linscheid by Feb. 19:

  1. name of current Bethel student,
  2. name(s) and address(es) of the student’s grandparent(s) and great-grandparent(s) who would appreciate receiving invitations.

If needed, family may also e-mail a request that grandparents NOT receive an invitation due to health or travel concerns (they may be on the invitation list from the past).

For more information, contact SAA advisor and director of alumni relations Dave Linscheid, (316) 284-5252, e-mail. Thank you.

Alumni invited to reunions and awards banquet in May

Mark your calendar now for Alumni Weekend activities, Friday-Saturday, May 21-22.

As part of the weekend’s events, the Classes of 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965 and 1970 will hold special reunion luncheons at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 22. Bethel staff will host a luncheon for the “Heritage Classes” of 1935, 1940 and 1945. The weekend also features other activities open to all alumni, including the annual Alumni Banquet and presentation of alumni awards at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 22.

More information will be sent to all reunion class members in spring. When finalized, the entire Alumni Weekend schedule will be posted on the Alumni Weekend Web page.

Each May, classes celebrating their 40th, 45th, 50th, 55th, 60th, 65th, 70th and 75th anniversaries gather for special reunion luncheons the Saturday of Alumni Weekend. Those celebrating their 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th reunions are invited to gatherings on Fall Festival Saturday.