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Bethel moves up a notch, to No. 3, in national ranking

President Perry D. White announced in convocation Aug. 26 that Bethel College, appearing for the second year on the “Washington Monthly” Best Baccalaureate Colleges list, had moved up from #4 to #3.

“Washington Monthly” groups institutions into four areas as defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, including baccalaureate colleges, which according to Carnegie comprise “schools that focus on undergraduate education but offer fewer than half of their degrees in the liberal arts.”

“Washington Monthly” rankings are based on “contribution to the public good” in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students); research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs); and service (encouraging students to give something back to their community and country).

“We designed the ‘Washington Monthly’ college rankings to embody the American higher education compact at the institutional level,” the publication’s editors write in their introduction to this year’s rankings. “Instead of lauding colleges for closing their doors to all but an elite few, we give high marks to institutions that enroll low-income students, help them graduate and don’t charge them an arm and a leg to attend.

“Universities that bring in research dollars are rewarded by our standards, as are those whose undergraduates go on to earn PhDs. And we recognize institutions that are committed to public service, both in the way they teach and in encouraging students to enter service-focused careers.”

In the 2013 rankings, Bethel was third out of 350 baccalaureate colleges, behind Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University and Tuskegee (Ala.) University.

Learn more on Bethel’s national ranking on our website.

Retired professor reflects on historic march, 50 years later

It was late August 1963, and Dwight ’52 and LaVonne Platt of North Newton and their young family were headed back to Kansas after a summer in coastal North Carolina. But there was a stop they needed to make first.

Platt, Bethel College professor emeritus of biology, had been teaching at the college for six years and was finishing Ph.D. studies, for which he needed a marine biology course. So he, LaVonne, 4½-year-old Kamala and 1-year-old Richard had spent the summer of 1963 in Beaufort, N.C., at Duke University’s marine lab.

The Platts already had a long-standing interest in civil rights issues. Dwight Platt’s ancestors had a stop on the Underground Railroad at their Illinois home in the mid-1800s. His mother, Selma Rich Platt Johnson ’24, “was very active in interracial affairs in Newton,” he says. “She was interested in desegregation of restaurants and theaters.”

As a teenager, Platt had been part of an effort to desegregate the Newton municipal swimming pool. “We had interracial swimming parties, after hours,” he remembers.

So the Platts paid attention to news reports and to material from organizations they were involved with that told of a “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” to be held Aug. 28, 1963.

Learn more about the Platts’ experiences with the Civil Rights movement on our website.

Still room on Missouri’s Native Sons tour

Seats are still available on the “Missouri’s Native Sons” motor coach tour to Kansas City and Independence, Mo., Wednesday-Thursday, Sept. 11-12. Hosts are Kauffman Museum staff members Andi Schmidt Andres ’84 and Kristin Schmidt ’74. Reservations are first-come, first-served.

The two-day trip focuses on regional artist Thomas Hart Benton and the 33rd U.S. president Harry S. Truman, with tours of the Benton Home and Studio Historic Site and Truman Library and Museum. It also includes a visit to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where Carolyn Schultz, wife of former Bethel College president Harold Schultz and a resident of Kansas City, Mo., will join the group for lunch and lead one of the tours at the nationally recognized museum. A fun visit to the locally unique Leila’s Hair Museum is also on the schedule.

A pre-tour lecture at Kauffman Museum will include presentations on Benton by art historian Rachel Epp Buller ’96, Bethel assistant professor of art, and on Truman by Richard Walker ’70, chief judge for the Kansas 9th Judicial District (Harvey County District Court) and a Bethel adjunct instructor of history.

The all-inclusive cost is $285 for those who are museum members, $300 for those who are not. For more information or to reserve a place, e-mail kauffman@bethelks.edu or call 316-283-1612.

Art sale to Benefit Kauffman Museum and Carriage Factory Art Gallery

Carriage Factory Art Gallery, Newton, and Kauffman Museum, North Newton, will host “Art in the Park” from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, in Krehbiel Park, 128 East Sixth Street, Newton, just east of the gallery.

Event coordinator Darlene Dick ’69, North Newton, says that it will feature “great art at great prices” to benefit the two organizations. Original paintings, folk art, antique and collectible prints plus special bargain items will be for sale.

The Carriage Factory Art Gallery will offer pieces that include works by Bethel College alumni Phil Epp ’72, Ellen Groves ’51 and Elaine Suderman ’32. A print of the historic Administration Building by Eldon Swenson also will be for sale.

Friends of Kauffman Museum have donated various items, among them antiquea European prints, Cambodian temple rubbings and early 19th century Pennsylvania German birth certificates. Sales of these and other art pieces will benefit the museum.

“Art in the Park” also will feature painters, sculptors and photographers at work; music by the Newton Ukelele Tunes Society (NUTS); and art activities for children. Prairie Harvest Market and Deli, Newton, will sell snacks and lunch fare.

For more information or to donate art to benefit Kauffman Museum, contact Rachel Pannabecker at rpann@bethelks.edu.

Concert will celebrate local musician and raise money for tornado relief

It started with a Bethel College favorite -- live music -- and the wish to recognize the contributions of a local musician before he moves to Kansas City.

But Dale Schrag ’69, campus pastor, quickly saw a way to connect the Sept. 15 concert featuring The Book of JEBB and The Misguided Professors to another important Bethel activity: service.

The concert will be at 3 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus. Admission is free but there will be an offering taken to support tornado relief efforts in the Oklahoma City area, stemming from devastating storms there this past May.

The Misguided Professors are Christine Crouse-Dick, Bethel assistant professor of communication arts, and Chris Dick, professor of English at Tabor College. They frequently play as a duo but also enjoy having several other musicians join them when possible -- Eric Massanari on percussion, Landon Bartel on bass and Jesse Graber ’00 on fiddle.

Graber is also the “J” in The Book of JEBB. Other members are Eric Schrag ’98, Ben Regier ’03 and Bethany Schrag ’05.

Graber is married to Ruth Harder ’01, who is concluding as a pastor at Bethel College Mennonite Church and has taken a position at Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City, Kan., starting in mid-September.

“We wanted to have one last fling with Jesse playing fiddle,” Dale Schrag says. “And we soon saw the chance to generate something good in addition to listening to music.”

The “something good” is raising money for tornado relief (cash gifts will go to Mennonite Disaster Service, which has a long-term unit in Shawnee, Okla., checks to MDS, the Salvation Army or the Red Cross, all designated for Oklahoma tornado recovery).

Learn more about the concert on our website.

Corporation meeting set for Sept. 27

The annual Bethel College Corporation meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in Schultz Student Center.

The agenda includes a welcome and invocation; call to order and remarks by Ray Penner ’66, North Newton, chair of the Board of Directors; a state-of-the-college report by President Perry D. White; corporation business; and closing remarks followed by refreshments and conversation. No elections are taking place this year.

All alumni, community members and other friends of the college are invited to the event.

A BC ABC Book to be launched at Fall Fest

There once was a Bubbert named Herman

Whose pranks left the whole campus squirmin’.

He tortured the staff,

Made the students all laugh,

And still had the time to pass German.

--Nathan Gaeddert Bartel ’02

This limerick is just one of the creative writing pieces that fill “A BC ABC Book,” the sale of which will raise funds for Bethel College. A variety of alumni and others with a connection to Bethel have provided limericks or art for this book, which will be launched during Fall Fest from 5-7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, at Mojo’s Coffee Bar in Schultz Student Center.

“All profits go to Bethel College via the Bethel College Women’s Association,” said Berneil Rupp Mueller ’62, one of the book planners. The cost of the book is $20.

In addition to Mueller, the book also is the brainchild of Susan Bartel ’74. About two years ago, association members were looking for a way the group could honor the college’s 125th anniversary in 2012. Mueller expressed her idea in a cardboard model book that looked like a threshing stone when set upright. She then consulted with North Newton-Newton alumni, including Joel Gaeddert ’06, Chuck Regier ’81 and Bob Regier ’52, on ways to produce such a book.

“They had a great idea,” Mueller said, “but the project would have cost too much and would have been labor intensive. Then Susan had this brilliant idea, which was to make a book with 26 pages, excluding the back and cover -- an ‘alphabet book.’”

“And one night,” Susan said, “the title just presented itself: ‘A BC ABC Book.’”

The book committee, comprising Mueller, Bartel and Valerie Klaassen ’78, decided to make a book with 26 limericks about Bethel and including illustrations by alumni and other Bethel-related artists.

“There are 17 writers and 28 artists represented in the book,” Mueller said. “Bethel graduation years of contributors range from 1947 to 2014. Those who did not graduate from Bethel include two former teachers and one current staff member.”

Contributors’ places of residence range from the West Coast (Oregon and Washington) to the East Coast (New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania), as well as places in between and north to Canada.

Initially, the book committee put out a call for limerick submissions. The contest later was extended because the committee wanted more representation for several letters of the alphabet. At this time, professor of literary studies Ami Regier ’85 had a limerick-writing event for students.

The committee chose limericks for inclusion in the book based on merit, coverage of a wide range of Bethel activities, Bethel experiences and different years at the college.

Audra Miller, who will graduate in 2014 as a fifth-year student, designed the book.

Committee members are considering a number of activities for the launching party.

“We’re still working on this, but at the moment, this is what we’re discussing -- telling how the book came to be, reading limericks (theatrical presentation of limericks, maybe readers-theater style), music (piano improvisation, group singing), attendance by some of the authors and artists, book signings, refreshments provided by Mojo’s, fun for all ages,” Mueller said.

Rendition of Ad Building to be sold at Fall Fest

Last spring, well-known local marquetry artists Martha and Marie Voth, North Newton, donated a two-dimensional rendition of the Administration Building to Bethel. They had created it in celebration of the college’s 125th anniversary during the 2012-13 school year.

Marquetry is an ancient art where pieces of veneer are applied to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. Straw marquetry as a craft was a specialty at some European resorts at the end of the 18th century.

The Voths, who are 1962 graduates of the former Bethel Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing and 1965 graduates of the college, received the nursing association’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2012. Their wish was that the piece be sold to benefit Bethel.

Wade Brubacher ’70, North Newton, will auction off the picture at 11:04 a.m. on Fall Fest Saturday, Oct. 5, in the entertainment tent on the Green. A concert by the Newton Community Children’s Choir immediately follows at the same location. Both events are free and open to the public.

Prior to the sale, the picture can be viewed in the Advancement Office on the main floor of the Administration during office hours, 8 a.m.-noon, 1-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Museum to hold first-ever staff reunion

Kauffman Museum will hold a first-ever reunion for former paid staff from 3-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, during Fall Festival weekend.

Current museum staff, who will host the reception, invite all former museum employees who worked at the museum from its opening in 1941 until the present -- permanent, temporary, full-time, part-time, student staff members -- to gather for refreshments, visiting and storytelling.