On May 22, Bethany College will honor seven outstanding alumni at its annual Alumni Recognition Banquet.
Marylen Anderson, Brent Mai and Mark Schupbach will be honored with the Alumni Award of Merit, Bethany’s highest alumni honor. Mary Ellen Wade will be presented with the Distinguished Graduate Award. The Gold Award, given to a graduate of the last two decades, will be given to Roper DeGarmo. Finally, the Reverend Harold Nilsson and Shirley Nilsson will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The banquet will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Pihlblad Memorial Union. Tickets are $15 per person. Please contact the Bethany alumni office at (785) 227-3380, ext. 8270, to make a reservation.
Each year, the Bethany College Alumni Association selects alumni who graduated more than 20 years ago to receive the Award of Merit. Recipients are chosen based on noteworthy achievements, service through church and public life, creativity in the arts or sciences, or outstanding leadership and participation in a recognized organization.
Award of Merit recipient Marylen Anderson, class of 1958, has taught vocal and instrumental music in Washington, D.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; Houston, Texas; St. Louis, Mo.; and Johnson County, Kan. She has also led various choirs in several Lutheran churches initiating the creation of many youth choirs. Anderson has received the God-Home-Country Award from the Lutheran Church recognizing her work in 4-H. She has also participated in a national orchestra performing concerts in Russia. Anderson also serves as the 1958 class agent at Bethany.
Award of Merit recipient Brent Mai serves as the librarian at Concordia University in Portland, Ore. A noted Volga German historian, Mai has authored numerous books and articles documenting the immigration of the Germans to Russia in the 1760s. More recently, he has translated the documents relating to the censuses of the Volga German colonies. He is a 1985 graduate.
Award of Merit recipient Mark Schupbach is the founder CPF Texas, Inc. in Dallas, Texas. Clients benefit from his 32 years of financial experience in creative problem solving. Schupbach received the Chartered Financial Consultant designation from the American College in Pennsylvania. He is an advisory board member for KMA Companies and North Texas Arthritis Foundation and a past board member of Bethany College. He has served on three different church governing boards and is the founder and teacher of the Next Step Bible Study. A 1971 graduate, Schupbach was President of Student Council and a member of the football team while at Bethany.
The Distinguished Graduate Award recognizes outstanding achievement and service to a society by a graduate.
Distinguished Graduate Award recipient Mary Ellen Wade is an educator working with students and teachers to understand special needs children. Her involvement in professional organizations has improved special education services in Minnesota. She works closely with parents of children with special needs in addition to school and district committees. Wade has been active in the International Council for Exceptional Children and has served as President of the Minnesota Council for Exceptional Children. In 2009, she was named one of 11 finalists for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.
The Gold Award recognizes outstanding achievement and service to society by a graduate of the last two decades.
Gold Award recipient Roper DeGarmo, a 2000 graduate, is a lay assistant and graduated Deacon of the Missouri Synod. He teaches Sunday School at his church in Mission, Kan., and has been involved in alumni activities at Bethany, even serving on the Alumni Council. He has participated in the college’s business career conference and served as the guest speaker at the annual senior dinner. DeGarmo owns his business, Signature Personal Insurance.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievement and service to society by a graduate who has provided “unique and significant service” to the college over his or her lifetime.
Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Rev. Harold Nilsson and Shirley Nilsson graduated from Bethany in 1960. The Rev. has served several churches in California, Utah and New Mexico. He has served on campus ministry boards and has been a member of the Pacific Southwest and Rocky Mountain Synods. He currently serves as a board member of The Storehouse in Albuquerque, an ecumenical agency serving low-income families. Shirley has taught and directed schools in six different states and established a preschool in San Diego. She has served as a state lobby director for the League of Women Voters in Utah, secretary of the Rocky Mountain Synod WELCA and vice president of Church Women United. She has been awarded an Ecumenical Pioneer by New Mexico Conference of Churches and a Valiant Women Award by Church Women United.