The Bud Pearson Swedish Chapel and Mabee Welcome Center opened at Homecoming 2014 in the heart of Bethany College campus.
The project began in 2007 when Gerald “Bud” Pearson, a longtime friend of the college, issued a $1 million challenge grant to Bethany, which was met nearly four months before the June 2010 deadline. By February 2012, more than $2.26 million had been raised toward the $3.5 million building. In 2012, the Mabee Foundation issued its own challenge grant that provided $500,000 to Bethany after it secured the remaining $744,000 by January 2013. With hard work of the Bethany College Board of Directors, Office of Advancement, alumni, friends, and volunteers, that amount was not only met, but exceeded and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 18, 2013.
The Chapel and Welcome Center represents many important aspects of Bethany College, according to President Edward F. Leonard III. It represents a focus on Bethany’s Lutheran and Swedish heritage, but also an integration and community embodied by Bethany’s curriculum and student experiences – Bethany Pathway. Additionally, the project focuses on ecological and spiritual sustainability as developed by the Missional Directions of Excellence that guide Bethany Pathway.
The building houses the campus chapel, campus pastor’s office, campus living, a commons area, and Admission reception area and offices.