The Bethany College Board of Directors convened for its spring meeting over commencement weekend.
The board was updated on several facilities and technology upgrades taking place this summer, including projects in the cafeteria and Alma Swensson Hall. The cafeteria in Pihlblad Memorial Union will be renovated in a cost-sharing project between Bethany and Sodexo food services. The nearly half-million-dollar remodel will improve the speed and service to students by reducing bottlenecks and creating a space to purchase food after-hours. Alma Swensson Hall will become a living and learning community for freshmen students and will be enhanced by adding classroom and meeting spaces.
Members also granted retired Provost and Dean of the College Eugene Bales the title of professor emeritus. Bales retired at the end of the 2011-12 academic year after serving at Bethany since 1990.
The membership of the 2013-14 Board of Directors was completed by electing two new members, Randy Berry, a 1987 alumnus and career diplomat from Hillside, Colo., and Sean Patty, a 1986 alumnus and venture capitalist from Ballwin, Mo. Their three-year terms begin on July 1.
Four members were re-elected to second terms, including Eric Doering, Frederick, Colo., 1977 alumnus and district manager at St. Vrain Sanitation Distribution and owner of Mediation and Conflict Consultants; Marie Friedemann, Denver, Colo, associate dean at the College for Professional Studies at Regis University; Jason Opat, Wichita, Kan., 1994 alumnus and founder and chief executive officer at Integrated Media Group; and Marlene Waltz, Kansas City, Mo., a marketing/sales executive at Sprint.
Four members exited the board and were thanked for their services. They were Steve Briggs, Wichita, Kan., 1981 alumnus and chief financial officer and vice president of finance for Star Lumber and Supply; Barbara Varenhorst, Portola Valley, Calif., counseling psychologist; Steve Elfman, Kansas City, Mo., president of network operations and wholesale at Sprint; and Jeremy Koehler, Wichita, Kan., Bethany’s former president of the Swede Government Association.
The Board of Directors finished its meeting on Saturday afternoon before joining nearly 200 other guests for the groundbreaking celebration of the Bud Pearson Swedish Chapel and J. E. and L. E. Mabee Welcome Center and the Bethany Pathway education initiative. Chair of the Bethany College Board of Directors Jim Martin, 1968 alumnus, said, “The accomplishments we celebrate today are symbolic of Bethany’s future and that God leads that future.”
The board then attended the baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies on May 19 that graduated 116 students. The Rev. Brian Maas, bishop of the Nebraska Synod of the ELCA, preached during baccalaureate service; and commencement’s special speakers included senior Olivia Fabrizius, WaKeeney, Kan., and William Gusenius, 1973 alumnus, and John Hedeen, 1966 alumnus, who received honorary degrees.