Bethany bestows honorary degrees and emeritus status

John Hedeen,

John Hedeen, D.H.L., and William Gusenius, L.L.D.

In May, Bethany College awarded honorary degrees to William E. Gusenius and John E. Hedeen and the status of professor emeritus to retired Provost and Dean of the College Eugene Bales, Ph.D.

Gusenius and Hedeen were honored during commencement ceremonies on May 19, where they also delivered remarks to the graduation class of 2013. Gusenius received the Honorary Doctor of Laws; Hedeen received the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

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.

“It is my wish for the class to have found someone here who has inspired each of you to keep Bethany in your thoughts,” Gusenius said.

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. He 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.

“I challenge myself and this class to continue to serve Bethany as it has served us,” said Hedeen.

Eugene Bales

Professor Emeritus Eugene Bales, Ph.D.

In their spring meeting, the Bethany College Board of Directors approved granting Bales the status of professor emeritus. Bales retired at the end of the 2011-12 academic year as provost and dean of the college after serving at Bethany since 1990. He began as a professor of philosophy and religion before assuming the academic vice presidency in 2003 and his current position in 2009. Bales earned his bachelor’s in philosophy at Conception Seminary College and his master’s in philosophy and doctorate in philosophy with a minor in theology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. One of Bales’ largest contributions to Bethany was the focus he provided to student retention. He has been recognized for exceptional scholarship and his numerous publications include essays in “Philosophy Today” and two books, “A Ready Reference to Philosophy East and and West” and “Philosophy in the West: Men, Women, Religion, Science.”

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