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Faculty Contact Gets Student Research Position With Princeton Sociologist

One advantage of a small college: faculty know their students, which can lead to some great contacts, as Bethel student Shayne Runnion discovered this fall.

Runnion, a junior social work major from Phillipsburg, is serving as a research assistant for Robert Wuthnow, professor of sociology at Princeton University and a nationally recognized scholar and author on social and cultural changes in communities.

Wuthnow is also a personal friend of Allison McFarland, professor of business and economics. Both of them grew up - as did Runnion - in rural/small-town Kansas. However, McFarland’s friendship with Wuthnow developed through his wife, Sara Wuthnow.

McFarland and Sara Wuthnow were both raised in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America and attended the denomination’s Geneva College in western Pennsylvania. They were teaching colleagues at Eastern College (now University), where McFarland had one of the Wuthnows’ daughters as a student.

Robert Wuthnow, says McFarland, "is still a Kansas kid, even though he has spent his entire career at Princeton. He loves the Midwest."

A prolific author, Wuthnow has written widely on social change in a variety of contexts. His most recent book, however, focuses squarely on the Midwest. "Remaking the Heartland: Middle America since the 1950s" came out in 2010.

And Wuthnow’s next research project, in which Runnion is involved, is part of "the National Study of Farm Families in the Twenty-First Century," Runnion says, "the purpose of which is to learn from current farm families how farm life is changing, what values are of special importance to farm families, and how farm families are thinking about the challenges and opportunities they are currently facing."

For more of this story, click here.

Common Ground now on Facebook and Google+

Bethel’s one-of-a-kind shared educational experience, Common Ground, is now on Facebook and Google+.

"Like us, follow us, join us in Bethel’s unique liberal arts program," said Nathan Bartel, assistant professor of literary studies and convocation coordinator. Convocation is a key component of Common Ground, along with the introductory course, College Issues Colloquy; a cross-cultural learning experience; peace, justice and conflict studies courses; classes that integrate faith with life; and the URICA (Undergraduate Research, Internships and Creative Activity) project, an independent study that tops off students’ academic experience at Bethel.

For additional information on Common Ground, click here.

In Gratitude for Help, Doctor Leaves Legacy of Generosity

Henry Gunther Schmitt never forgot the life-saving help he and his family got from Mennonites in war-time - and more than 70 years later, he left a legacy of generosity to Mennonite institutions, including Bethel College.

Schmitt, of San Bernardino, Calif., died Aug. 2, 2010. He remembered Bethel and other schools, as well as charitable organizations, in his will.

Schmitt was born in Java, Indonesia, in 1931. During World War II, his father and grandfather were taken prisoner and subsequently lost their lives. The rest of the family escaped and received help from various Mennonite church agencies.

Schmitt came to the United States as a young man and put himself through medical school. During his career, he worked in pharmacology, internal medicine and radiology.

He never forgot his experiences during the war, and he gave generously of his resources to others as a way of saying "thank you" to those who had helped his family.

Estate gifts are important to ensure a college’s future viability, noted President Perry White. "The mid-six-figure gift which Bethel has received from Dr. Schmitt’s estates will be of significant help in funding improvements to the campus," he said.

For the complete news story, click here.

Freshman Goalkeeper Earns All-American Honors

Bethel has its first All-American women’s soccer player in well over a decade.

On Dec. 5, 2011, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced the 2011 women’s soccer All-America honors. Freshman goalkeeper Madison Wiles of Hutchinson was named to the honorable mention team.

Wiles, a 2011 graduate of Hutchinson High School, is the first Bethel women’s soccer player to earn that honor since Athletic Hall of Fame member Jennifer Stipp Sevier in 1998.

For the complete news story, click here.

Bethel Launches New Sports Website

Bethel has launched a new athletics website.

According to a posting by the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC), the new site gives the college the ability to stream scores, provide more content, archive data and stories and engage the public with various tools such as social media and polls.

"The improved site is much more news-oriented," said Chad Schilling, sports information director and head volleyball coach at the college. "Alumni should check it often for up-to-date information about what’s happening in BC athletics."

Bethel joins six other schools in the KCAC and a number in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics who used the Web application SIDhelp to update their Web presence. A new Web platform makes distributing and receiving information easier and faster due to the ability of administrators to access the site and upload content remotely as well as locally.

Alumni Afternoon at Basketball Jan. 14

On Saturday afternoon, Jan. 14, head to Thresher Gym for Alumni Afternoon at the basketball games. The varsity women’s and men’s teams play University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively (a change from the time announced earlier).

Members of the Alumni Council will offer giveaways at the door as well as prizes at halftime of the men’s game. Spouses, family members and other Bethel supporters are invited to participate in the festivities.

Come meet council hosts, sign up for prizes, cheer the Threshers to victory and have fun with others that afternoon!

Museum to Host Two Events in January

Sunday, Jan. 22, is the last day for visitors to view the photographic exhibition "...the eyes of a stranger: Indian images and experiences by Cookie Wiebe" at Kauffman Museum. The museum will host a closing-day open house from 1:30-4:30 p.m. to celebrate the life and art of Wiebe, who died Oct. 31. Her husband, David, will share remarks at 3:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Click here for more information about the exhibit and Mary "Cookie" Wiebe’s photography.

On Saturday, Jan. 28, from 1:30-4:30 p.m., Kauffman Museum will host its 15th annual Celebrate Kansas Day! event. This year’s theme, "Kansas: A Wealth of Resources," will be reflected in the craft activities for children and demonstrations for visitors of all ages.

Renowned local artist Paul Friesen will give a presentation on using local clay in ceramics. Bethel professor Gary Histand will do chemistry experiments, some involving elements found in Kansas. Ken Rodgers, a music professor at Hesston College, will lead a sing-a-long and play family-oriented songs on the 261-year-old Teschemacher-Deknatel-van der Smissen organ, a Kansas museum treasure.

Kansas Day will again include traditional, popular activities such as wagon rides, a bake sale, kettle corn and a flea market. The free event is open to everyone. For more information, contact Andi Schmidt Andres.

BCWA Says Goodbye to Long-Standing Event

"After careful review of participation at recent WEB Day events and our mission, the Bethel College Women’s Association Council announces that WEB Day is being discontinued in its present format," reports BCWA vice president Donna Becker.

"BCWA expresses deep appreciation to the attendees and presenters who participated in these occasions, which were educational, enriching and entertaining. The BCWA leadership council is planning a different type of event that will continue to bring people to campus to ’develop, promote and intensify the interest in the wellbeing of the Bethel College community.’ Please watch for announcements this spring."

BCWA began hosting WEB events in 1971.

Celebrate Bethel’s 125th with a Gift to Phonathon 2012

This year, volunteer callers will invite alumni to celebrate Bethel’s 125th anniversary by giving to Phonathon 2012, the annual Alumni Association fund-raising project held each February.

Phonathon materials will be mailed soon. This year’s flier features a timeline and photographs that celebrate unique components - academic, social, cultural - of Bethel’s history, organized according to the five 25-year segments of its existence.

Alumni may use a response envelope to make a commitment or send a donation, may e-mail their response to alumni@bethelks.edu, or may give to the phonathon online. Volunteers will make telephone calls to those who have not responded by Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Choir to Tour Central U.S. in March

The Bethel Concert Choir, under the direction of William Eash, professor of music, will see western mountains, northern plains and central prairies when they loop throughout the central United States March 16-25 on the college’s annual choir tour.

Mark your calendar now if you live or plan to be in any of the following areas that week. The choir will give an evening concert in Denver Friday, March 16; sing during worship at Henderson, Neb., and in Freeman, S.D., Sunday, March 18; perform at Freeman Academy and in Mountain Lake, Minn., Monday, March 19; give a concert in Minneapolis Tuesday, March 20; sing at Iowa Mennonite School, Kalona, and near Parnell, Iowa, Thursday, March 22; sing in Kansas City Friday, March 23, and Topeka, Saturday, March 24; and participate in worship in Topeka before returning to campus to give the traditional home concert Sunday, March 25.

See future issues of "Thresher E-View" for details. Local alumni and friends should watch the mail for invitations to the concerts and related events.

Mark Your Calendar for Fall Festival 2012

Bethel’s 125th Anniversary Committee is planning special events for this year’s Fall Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 13. The Fall Fest programming will be the culmination of five years of celebratory activities leading to the college’s 125th anniversary this year.

Taste of Newton will take place Thursday, Oct. 11. Other programs and events will occur Friday, Oct. 12, and Sunday, Oct. 14.