On May 19, Bethany College will welcome the Rev. Brian Maas, bishop of the Nebraska Synod, ELCA, to preach during baccalaureate worship at 10:30 a.m. and William E. Gusenius and John E. Hedeen to deliver remarks to the graduating class of 2013 during commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m.
The Rev. Brian Maas serves as bishop of the Nebraska Synod, ELCA. A graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University and Yale Divinity School with a certificate of studies from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Bishop Maas was ordained in 1992. He served three congregations, including Emmanuel Lutheran in Tekamah, Neb., Immanuel Lutheran in Kansas City, Mo., and First Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Neb. He was elected bishop of the Nebraska Synod in June 2012. Bishop Maas and his family live in Lincoln, Neb.
William E. Gusenius graduated from Bethany College in 1973 summa cum laude in history/political science education and from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1976. He has been an attorney in private practice in Lindsborg since 1976 and has also been an adjunct faculty member in business law at Bethany.
Gusenius served as a member of the Bethany College Board of Directors from 1998 to 2007, including five years as chair. He was also a member of the Bethany College Endowment Trustees from 1997 to 2012 and chair of the presidential search committee in 2000 to 2001. During his undergraduate years at Bethany, Gusenius served as president of the student congress and was a varsity letterman in basketball and tennis among many other extracurricular activities. He is currently a member on the board of directors of the Swedish Council of America and Columbia Mutual Insurance Company and is also involved in numerous civic and professional organizations. Gusenius is married to Carol Mellenbruch Gusenius, who is also a Bethany graduate of 1973. They have two adult children and one grandchild.
Gusenius will be given an honorary doctor of laws by Bethany during the ceremony.
John E. Hedeen received a Bachelor of Arts from Bethany College in 1966. He received a commission in the U.S. Navy in 1969 and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. In 1973, he earned a master’s degree in planning from Kansas State University. Hedeen’s professional career has centered on planning and real estate development. He has been instrumental in the development or renovation of more than two hundred real estate projects in twenty-three states.
Hedeen served on the Bethany College Board of Directors from 1986 to 1994. In 1992, he was a founding trustee of the Bethany College Trust, serving on that body as chairman until 2013. At Kansas State University, Hedeen served on the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the College of Architecture and Design and was selected as an Alumni Fellow in 2006. He also served on the ELCA’s Central States Synod Council, the Central States Synod Endowment Committee, and the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery Board of Directors. In 1966, Hedeen married Judith Pound, also a Bethany graduate of 1966. The Hedeens have two married daughters and five grandchildren and currently reside in Topeka, Kan.
Hedeen will be given an honorary doctor of humane letters during the ceremony.