Bethany’s core values (integrity, community, hospitality, servant leadership, sustainability, and excellence) are a guiding light for the way we engage each other and our alumni, our friends, the local community and the wider world. They provide the answers to the “how” questions of our day-to-day interactions.
More than 80 years ago, two of our librarians, Vendla and Edla Wahlin, were kind to a young Lindsborg boy, David J. Nutt. Vendla and Edla were 1914 graduates of Bethany College. They were quintessential Bethany graduates–successful professionals who loved God and loved people.
This morning, the small ripples they created through their hospitality, servant leadership and commitment to community is returning to Bethany College and to Lindsborg as waves of kindness and goodness. At 11:00 a.m., Bethany received an estate gift from Mr. Nutt for more than $3,700,000. God has been merciful to Bethany College! Given board approval, we will use this gift to provide a modest renovation to Alma Swensson Hall. With continued strong enrollment growth, we will absolutely need the beds next year. We will also ask the board of directors to use a portion of the gift to help with cash flow purposes next summer.
Gratitude is all about being thankful. It is a critical emotional and intellectual tool to develop. The late Nobel Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who once spoke on our very own Presser Auditorium Copley Stage, said of gratitude, “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” Mr. Nutt was grateful for Bethany and Lindsborg. I hope you will join me in giving thanks for Mr. Nutt’s generosity and others like him. Let’s pass along to others our gratitude for his gratitude. And, let’s thank God for God’s grace and mercy.