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As Bethel’s 2012 nursing graduates marked another passage recently from undergraduate study to professional life, they had even more reason to celebrate.

Twenty graduates took part in the nurse pinning ceremony Saturday, May 19, just about 24 hours before these same students would join 80 more class members to receive their Bethel diplomas.

And as the nursing graduates now prepare for their next challenge -- the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses) -- they can take pride and some comfort in an award Bethel’s nursing program received.

Phyllis Miller, director of Bethel’s Department of Nursing, announced recently that the Kansas State Board of Nursing had presented a certificate of excellence to Bethel College May 7, in recognition of an NCLEX-RN pass rate above the national average for first-time takers in 2011.

That same week, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing notified the department that it had provided sufficient data to show significant progress -- including improved and sustained pass rates -- since 2009, when the commission had expressed concerns. CCNE is the accrediting body for Bethel’s nursing program.

Shade receives statewide honor from bandmaster group

The newest member of Bethel’s music department has been honored by his bandmaster peers. Timothy Shade, assistant professor of music and director of instrumental music and music education, will receive the 2012 Outstanding Young Bandmaster award as part of the annual convention of the Kansas Bandmasters Association (KBA). The KBA and Phi Beta Mu, an international bandmasters fraternity, present the award each year to a young director who has taught for fewer than seven years. Shade has taught at Bethel since 2008. He directs the Bethel College Chamber Orchestra and the Bethel College Wind Ensemble and teaches private instruction in low brass.

Singers invited to be part of Gospel Choir at Fall Fest

Bethel’s Gospel Choir sang to packed houses in Krehbiel Auditorium and Memorial Hall in the 1980s and 1990s. In celebration of the college’s 125th anniversary, Roz Royster McCommon ’93, Tonganoxie, and Greg Hinex ’97, Kansas City, are planning a Gospel Choir reunion concert at Fall Festival. The sixth annual Fall Fest hymn sing will be incorporated into the program.

The event will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in Memorial Hall. All former Gospel Choir members as well as any other former or current Bethel students interested in singing are welcome to participate. The planners have attempted to notify all Gospel Choir alumni; anyone who has not been reached should e-mail bcgcreunion@gmail.com or contact the alumni office at 316-284-5252.

A Facebook page includes songs for participants to acquaint themselves with in advance (search for "Bethel College Gospel Choir Reunion"). Rehearsals will be held in Kansas City and North Newton (times to be announced via Facebook and e-mail), with a run-through in Memorial Hall 7-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12.

The public is invited. There is no admission fee, but an offering will be taken to defray expenses and support the African-American Alumni Association (AAAA) Scholarship Endowment Fund.

The Gospel Choir reunion concert and hymn sing coincide with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of AAAA in April 2002. AAAA will hold a reunion on campus following the music event.

Spanish-language seminar will help parents with college financial aid

When Rosa Barrera, now assistant to Bethel President Perry White, was growing up, college seemed like an impossible dream.

Her parents didn’t listen to the friends and relatives who discouraged them from sending their daughter, however. "They told me, ’We don’t have wealth to leave you, so your inheritance will be a college education,’" Barrera remembers.

Barrera became the first in her family to graduate from college. Now she wants to help other Hispanic parents feel they can also encourage their children to pursue higher education. One way is by helping them navigate the complex world of financial aid.

Barrera will be offering a Spanish-language seminar at the annual assembly of Western District Conference (WDC) of Mennonite Church USA, to be held this year in Oklahoma City, July 6-8.

The seminar is open to anyone but will be given in Spanish and so is particularly geared to Hispanic parents of prospective college students. WDC includes a number of Spanish-speaking congregations in Texas although there is one Newton and one in Wichita, as well.

Barrera has titled her seminar "SI SE PUEDE ... Asistir a una universidad Menonita privada y lograr su sueÑo de una carera profesional" ("YES YOU CAN ... Afford a private Mennonite college and achieve the professional career of your dreams").

Barrera’s parents somehow found a way to help pay for her college education and one of her goals is to let other parents know they can, too.

For the complete story in both Spanish and English, go here.

Bethel reps on the Mennonite meeting circuit

Bethel faculty and staff members have been or will be representing the college at Mennonite assemblies and meetings across the country this summer:

  • Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference, San Francisco, June 15-16: Dale Schrag, campus pastor and director of church relations
  • Pacific Northwest Mennonite Conference, Moses Lake, Wash., June 21-23: Perry White, president
  • Central District Conference, Normal, Ill., June 21-23: Dale Schrag
  • Central Plains Mennonite Conference, Henderson, Neb., June 28-July 1: Dale Schrag
  • South Central Mennonite Conference, South Hutchinson, June 29-July 1: Perry White
  • Western District Conference, Oklahoma City, July 6-8: Perry White; Dale Schrag; Rosa Barrera, assistant to the president; Dave Linscheid, director of alumni relations; Clark Oswald, associate director of admissions
  • Mountain States Mennonite Conference, La Junta, Colo., August 3-5: Perry White

Other faculty and staff may be attending, as well, including some representing their Mennonite congregations. Alumni and friends who will be at coming events are invited to visit with these Bethel reps.

In addition, eight faculty and staff plan to attend the Mennonite Higher Education Faculty Conference in Indiana August 1-3: Aaron Austin, vice president for student life; Brad Born, vice president for academic affairs; Francisca Mendez-Harclerode, assistant professor of biology; Dale Schrag, campus pastor and director of church relations; Patty Shelly, professor of Bible and religion professor; Doug Siemens, assistant professor of education; Megan Upton Tyner, instructor of theater; and Hamilton Williams, associate professor of social work.

Mennonite Life third issue pays, invites tribute to Cornelius Krahn

The third annual online issue of "Mennonite Life," now live at, starts out by remembering the legacy of founding editor Cornelius Krahn.

August 2, 2012, marks the 110th anniversary of his birth in the village of Rosenthal, Chortitza colony, Ukraine. The three daughters of Cornelius and Hilda Krahn -- Marianne Krahn Miller ’67 of Kansas, Karla Krahn Drake ’70 of Massachusetts and Cornelia Krahn ’72 of Wisconsin -- have chosen this year to establish a "Mennonite Life" endowment in memory of their parents.

Writing in this issue, Marianne says, "Cornelius always had a passion for church history, and the birth [in 1946] and success of ’Mennonite Life’ was one of his greatest accomplishments.

"My father would be amazed that 66 years later, the journal is informing and inspiring Mennonites, Anabaptists and others, although the format has changed in a way he could not have imagined and the articles reflect a church and culture that has both diminished and grown."

The sisters hope the endowment will "further Cornelius’ legacy and promote the longevity of ’Mennonite Life.’" They also hope others will join in doing so by contacting Fred Goering, director of development, to contribute to the Cornelius and Hilda Krahn "Mennonite Life" Endowment Fund. Call 316-284-5226 or use the link in the current issue.

U.S. Court exhibit on immigration at Kauffman Museum

Kauffman Museum will host "Americans by Choice: Immigration and Citizenship in Kansas" July 14-Sept. 2. The traveling exhibit was commissioned by the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, in celebration of the court’s 150th anniversary and to highlight the court’s role in the naturalization process.

Between 1865 and 1880, Kansas attracted immigrants at a faster pace than anywhere else in the United States. "Americans by Choice" includes stories of Mennonite immigrants in the 1870s and their impact on the state -- particularly through the founding of Bethel College.

Museum staff are planning several Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum programs related to the exhibit, with details to be announced. For more information, contact museum director Rachel Pannabecker

For a news article about the exhibit, go here.

Recent yearbooks available

The Office of Student Life has extra yearbooks from 2002-03 through 2009-10, and is making them available this summer for $5 each. The office -- located on the ground floor of the Administration Building -- is open weekdays 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.

In August, leftover books will go to storage in the Mennonite Library and Archives. For more information, contact Patsy Dirksen