Homecoming 2008 at Bethany College will include recognition of nine alumni who have made important contributions to academics, athletics and society.
Honorees will be presented with awards at the Fall Awards Dinner on Oct. 10.
Michael Trice will be awarded the Alumni Gold Award, which recognizes a Bethany graduate of the last two decades for his or her achievement in service to humanity. Since 2004, Trice has been director for ecumenical formation and inter-religious relations with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Chicago. He also is an adjunct professor at the Lutheran School of Theology, a member of the executive board of directors with Church World Service and an advisory board member for a new inter-religious center for Christian-Muslim relations at Lutheran Theological Seminary. He has received several awards, grants and honors, and has published and presented widely in his field.
Trice graduated in 1991 from Bethany College, and went on to earn degrees from North Carolina CentralUniversity, Duke University Divinity School and Lutheran School of Theology. He earned his Ph.D. in constructive and systematic theology from Loyola University.
Ronald Dahlsten and M. Brian Ludwig will be honored with the Alumni Coach of the Year Award. This award recognizes Bethany alumni who have coached a secondary or collegiate varsity sports team to outstanding results.
Dahlsten, a 1960 Bethany graduate, has been a teacher for 48 years and coach for 43 years at Smoky Valley High School. In 1982 and 1992 he was a finalist for National High School Coach of the year. In 1996, he was a member of the inaugural class for the “Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame,” and from 1970-1990, he was state tennis tournament director. In his career, he was coach or assistant coach for 22 state team, singles and doubles champions. At Bethany, Dahlsten was a four-time conference tennis champion. He received the Bethany College Alumni Award of Merit in 1999.
Ludwig, a 1971 Bethany graduate, will be honored posthumously. In his freshman year at Bethany, Ludwig was paralyzed due to a football injury. He returned to school and completed requirements for his degree in social science teaching. Four years later, he was on the sidelines at St. John’s High School in Beloit, Kan., as an assistant football coach. Four years after that, he was promoted to head coach of the team. By 1979 the St. John’s Bluejays had compiled an impressive record of 24-6. Ludwig was the guest speaker at the 1980 Bethany Annual Athletic Banquet, where he said, “I feel that what you take with you from the gridiron, the basketball court, the cinder track, the tennis court, etc., will stand you in good stead in life. You have very little to say about what life has to offer you, but the true mark of a man or woman is the response made to life’s offerings.” Ludwig died October 7, 1987.
Jack Webb will be honored as the first recipient of the Bethany College Athletic Association Award of Merit. The Bethany Athletic Association works to enhance the excellence of Bethany athletics and its student-athletes through relationships with alumni and friends of the college.
Webb, a 1952 Bethany graduate, played football and track at Bethany. He went on to earn a master’s degree in educational administration from Colorado State and Oklahoma State Universities. He also taught history and coached football and track at schools in Kansas and Oklahoma. He has served as a principal and superintendent, and is a member of the Oklahoma Educator and Administrator Hall of Fame.
A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Webb originally planned to attend Fort Hays State University and play football. However, car troubles brought him to Lindsborg where he met legendary Bethany coach Ray Hahn. Webb was so impressed with Hahn and the football tradition at Bethany that he decided to become a Swede.
Delmar Lundgren, Bret Stephens, John Hehre, Joel Kuchera and Tammy (Mann) Thaxton will be inducted into the Bethany College Athletic Hall of Honor in recognition of their noteworthy performances in athletics while attending the college.
Lundgren, a 1923 Bethany graduate, was an important factor in the success of Bethany baseball. A stellar pitcher, he helped lead the Swedes to an undefeated 1922 season, in which they were named champions of the Central Kansas Intercollegiate League. Lundgren started his professional career as a pitcher with the Salina Millers and then was sent to the Flint, Michigan professional team. He was 24 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 27, 1924 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and then joined the Boston Red Sox in the era when Babe Ruth was the famous Yankee home run hitter. He was with the Red Sox in 1926-27, giving him a three-year career as a right-handed pitcher. Lundgren died October 19, 1984 in Lindsborg.
Stephens, a 1981 Bethany graduate, played both basketball and golf while a student at Bethany. In basketball, he was named rookie of the year in 1978-79, and was also given the Thor Award (1978-79 and 1980-81) and the Purple Heart Award (1980-81). In 1981, Stephens was one of 16 players, joining teammate Andy Carrier, to be selected by the NAIA to represent Bethany and the U.S. in the Australian Basketball Association, playing for the Scarborough City from Perth, Western Australia, which won the ABA championship. Stephens was invited by the former Kansas City Kings to play preliminary games before the Kings games against the L.A. Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, and L.A. Clippers. He died July 22, 2005.
Hehre, a 1971 Bethany graduate, earned conference honors in football during his junior and senior years. In his senior year, he was named an NAIA All-American as a defensive end. Hehre went on earn his law degree and serve as a public defender for county government in New Jersey, where he is recently retired.
Kuchera, a 1982 Bethany graduate, participated in both basketball and track at Bethany. He was a three-year letter winner in basketball for three years and earned all-conference honorable mention. In track, he was a four-year letter winner on a team that won the conference championship four times. In 1982, he won the conference high jump. Following graduation, Kuchera taught and coached in Montezuma, Kansas for four years. Currently, he is in his 23rdyear teaching social studies and physical education in Quinter, Kansas.
Thaxton, a 1995 Bethany graduate, played basketball and softball at Bethany after graduating from BartonCounty Community College. She was Bethany’s female athlete of the year in 1994, and an all-conference basketball player. Following graduation, she coached at Ell-Salina Junior/Senior High School and at Southeast of Salina. She currently lives in Assaria, Kan.
Bethany College will celebrate Homecoming 2008 with activities and events from October 9-12. See a full schedule of events at www.bethanylb.edu.