Read about Bethel College just one decade ago, as we draw nearer to the end of our 70th commencement celebration series, highlighting each decade of Bethel’s history. This decade features alumni Jacob and Carly (Randol) Ringenberg telling of their experience as Bethel students in one of the college’s most prosperous decades, with high enrollment and significant growth and accomplishments.
Take a look at Bethel in 1997 as we continue to celebrate Bethel’s 70th commencement with our 70 years blog series. Shawn (Canfield) Skaggs ’97 describes a Bethel fresh out of an incredible revival, the thriving campus it was becoming, and how it helped shape her into who she is today.
The 1980s were a trying time for Bethel College – perhaps the most difficult time in the college’s history – with consistently low enrollment numbers. But according to alumnus Courtney Richards ’87, the development of mentoring programs was key to turning the college around.
“Personal, hands-on mentoring has been the most transformative thing from 1987 to now,” he says.
Although Associate Professor of English Maralee Crandon, Ph.D., did not graduate from Bethel College, she did earn the title of Honorary Alumna of the Year in 2016. She arrived on campus in 1977 — the day before her 30th birthday. She laughs at the memory:
“I had a goal to become a college professor by the time I was 30, and I just made it!”
Kyle Bussse ’17 graduates this April with a B.S. in International Health, as well as a B.A. in Spanish. He also has a music minor and is a member of Bethel’s Concert Choir. Along with an array of community involvement efforts, Busse serves as a teaching assistant in Bethel’s science department and a research assistant to Assistant Professor of Biology Brian Ellis, Ph.D. As a student with a variety of interests and passions, the multidisciplinary International Health major was a perfect fit for Busse.
Part of our 70 Years of Bethel celebration, this story focuses on the 1960s decade, where Bethel grew rapidly, in numbers, infrastructure, and especially in athletic programs. Lauralee Nothstine ’67, an elementary education major, reflects on her Bethel experience and how it prepared her for teaching and mission work in Africa, alongside her husband Tom Nothstine ’66.
For the past 30 years, alumna Lynne (Kinsman) Andrews ’86 and her husband, Bob, have ministered in “Little India,” a diverse neighborhood in Chicago, Ill. For the past eight years, their work has focused specifically on refugees. And what started as a humble ministry out of their home has blossomed into the resource center that Devon Oasis is today. Bob serves as the director of this innovative ministry of the Missionary Church.
This fall, a crowd of 100 thinkers, including Bethel students, alumni, faculty and local high school students came together on campus for a screening of the critically-acclaimed documentary Poverty, Inc. The event, sponsored by the Bethel Business Department and organized through the Bethel branch of the American Enterprise (AEI) executive council, challenged viewers to re-think poverty in the developing world – and how to help.
Alumnus Patrick Oetting ’14, who currently serves as director of alumni relations at the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich., came to introduce the film.
Part of our 70 Years of Bethel celebration, this story focuses on the 1950s decade, where Bethel experienced tremendous physical and spiritual growth. Don ’57 and Alice (Sahmel) Severance ’52 reflect on their Bethel experience in the ’50s, from helping construct some of campus’ most iconic buildings and witnessing spiritual revival, to abiding by the college’s strict dating policies.
For the past 28 years, Bethel College has given back to the local community through a student-organized Service Day. This year, students and faculty donated 2,007 hours to more than 50 organizations, doing everything from serving meals and lawn and park maintenance to donation sorting, general cleaning/organization and even pet grooming!