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Bethel one of only three Kansas schools in Forbes.com listing

For the second year, Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas and one of only three institutions of higher education in the state to be ranked in a Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States.

Forbes.com published its second annual listing just ahead of the “U.S. News & World Report” release of its yearly survey of “America’s Best Colleges.” Staff at “Forbes” magazine and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity compiled the report, which ranks 600 undergraduate institutions based on the quality of the education they provide, the experience of the students and how much they achieve.

In addition to Bethel, Kansas schools appearing in the Forbes.com listing are the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. Bethel is also one of only two Mennonite Church USA-affiliated colleges to be ranked by Forbes.com, joining Goshen (Ind.) College.

First campus ministries house close to becoming reality

While most students were away for the summer, one building on the Bethel campus was given a new mission meant to enhance their experience when they returned.

The small brown (now newly painted sage green with cream trim) structure known as Richert House, near the Fine Arts Center, is Bethel’s first campus ministries house.

Dale Schrag, director of church relations and newly appointed campus pastor, got the idea from “The Chaplain’s Handbook,” whose author suggested, “If you can have a house for campus ministries, it is incredibly helpful,” Schrag says.

When he took the campus pastor appointment at the end of the last school year, Schrag began thinking of ways to embody this new call, he says. One thing that occurred to him: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we have something new to show -- something that wasn’t there before.”

Another driving factor in the project was student requests for a place to hold Bible studies and discussion groups. In the past couple of years, Deanna Wisdom, former resident director of Voth Hall, and her husband Jeremy hosted 35-40 students each week for Bible study groups in their campus apartment. Their leaving left open the question of where such gatherings could continue.

So Schrag approached Ruth Harder, associate pastor of Bethel College Mennonite Church (just across the street from Richert House) with his idea, hoping BCMC would be interested in helping with the endeavor.

The church had been looking for ways to strengthen its connection with the college and serve students more effectively, and Harder quickly jumped on board. The church promised about $5,000 in memorial money as well as manual labor to help make the dream a reality.

The goal is to have a “home-away-from-home feel,” says Chad Childs, vice president for student life. When the project is complete, there will be a functional kitchen as well as a living room and dining room.

Bethel golfers build tradition of service at christian sports camp

After their third straight year of working as a team at a summer camp, Bethel golfers are beginning to see the experience as a highlight of their participation in the sport.

That’s the assessment of Bethel golf coach Gregg Dick, who took seven of his team members to Kids Across America, a camp on Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri, for four days in early June. KAA is a Christian sports camp for inner-city children and youth -- around 6,300 come to the organization’s facilities in Missouri each summer from nearly 500 cities across the United States.

This was the first trip to KAA for the one senior (Aaron Howard, Halstead) and the one incoming freshman (Austin Fearing) who went, but the four sophomores (Jordan Esau, Hutchinson; Eric Regier, Haysville; John Reimer, Hesston; and Cameron Voth, Goessel) were going for the second time and the one junior (Zach Frey, Goessel) for the third time.

Columbus nonprofit thanks Bethel for youth convention service project

The recipients of Bethel’s on-site service project at the Mennonite Youth Convention (MYC) in Columbus, Ohio, this past July recently surprised college staff with a citation of thanks.

A resolution from the MiraCit Development Corporation’s board of directors, along with a letter from MiraCit director Sharon Francis, arrived in the mailbox of Dale Schrag, campus pastor and director of church relations, thanking the college for the gift of playground equipment to FCI Academy Kindergarten Village in Columbus.

Youth who stopped by the Bethel booth on the MYC exhibit floor could help put together the equipment, which was delivered and set up at the end of the convention. For the second MYC in a row, instead of giving away T-shirts and trinkets, Bethel’s offices of church relations, admissions and alumni relations, who cooperate on the booth, decided to use the funds designated for the youth convention display to encourage an ethic of service.

Teacher information wanted!

In a new recruiting effort this year, the Office of Admissions and the Alumni Office are teaming up to contact Bethel graduates who are currently teaching at the junior high and high school level.

Teachers play an influential role in students’ lives, possibly even affecting where they will go to college. The Alumni Office would like to make sure all of its employment records and addresses are up-to-date so that Bethel can easily communicate with teachers regarding activities on campus, summer camps, scholarships and more. For taking time to update this information, Bethel will send teachers a pennant to display in their classroom.

If you are a junior high or high school teacher, please fill out an update form online. Be sure to include the school name and grade(s) or subject(s) taught.

If you know Bethel graduates who are teaching, encourage them to submit updated information online, or call the Alumni Office at (316) 284-5251 on their behalf with information. Thank you.

Send in your photos

Alumni and friends’ photos are still needed for two Fall Festival displays:

Thresher Bookstore is currently posting photos of children age 10 or under wearing Bethel clothing but would welcome more to display in the coming months, including during Fall Festival. E-mail your photo to bookstore@bethelks.edu, or mail or deliver a color copy of your picture (copies will NOT be returned) to Mary Enz, Thresher Bookstore, Bethel College, 300 East 27th, North Newton, KS 67117. Include the name of the child and year the picture was taken, plus parents’ and grandparents’ names, cities and states where they live (and class years, if former Bethel students).

More photos are also needed for the special Bethel dorm life display at Fall Festival, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, in the lobby of the Fine Arts Center. Loan your original or copied photos or even whole scrapbooks for this one-day display. Contact Rachel Pannabecker at Kauffman Museum, (316) 283-1612 or by email, no later than Friday, Sept. 25.

Bethel College corporation meeting Sept. 25

Bethel is an independent legal corporation governed by a Board of Directors. As such, it holds an annual corporation meeting for stakeholders and others interested in the college. This year’s meeting will be held Friday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Schultz Student Center. All alumni and friends of the college are invited.

The agenda includes a welcome and opening prayer, call to order and chair’s remarks, State of the College report, corporation business and election, and closing remarks.

At the meeting, George Rogers III, Newton, will be recommended for appointment as a representative to the Bethel College Board. Rogers is a 1969 Bethel graduate with advanced degrees from Wichita State and the University of Arkansas. He served as coach, faculty member, director of athletics and dean of students while employed at Bethel from 1969-98. Most recently, he has been president and CEO of Whitewing Construction, Inc., Newton. Rogers’ extensive board membership includes Prairie View, Mirror, Meadowlark Homestead, the Newton/North Newton Planning Commission, and the Newton USD 373 School Board where he served as chair. Rogers is married to alumna Rita (Guhr) ’72, a nurse. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Donors who have given $100 or more to Bethel during their lifetime are eligible to vote. Voters must be present at the meeting or cast a proxy ballot in writing by letter (Advancement Office, Bethel College, 300 East 27th Street, North Newton, KS 67117) or by e-mail by Wednesday, Sept. 23.