Capt. Becky (Bixenman) Watson ’88
Capt. Becky ( Bixenman ) Watson ‘88 retired August 8, 2013 after serving 25 years in the United States Navy. She retired with the rank of Captain, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Commander, Naval Air Forces Reserve since October 2011.
After graduation from Bethany College, Becky became a Navy Supply Corps Officer. Supply Corps Officers are the Navy’s business managers who provide operational logistics to the warfighter. She also graduated from Troy University in Troy, Alabama, with a MBA.
Upon her retirement, Watson was presented with the Legion of Merit by Rear Admiral Douglas Asbjornsen, Commander, Naval Air Forces Reserve. “She has ensured our forces are ready to meet the demand of this uncertain world we live in,” Asbjornsen said.
RDML Asbjornsen described Watson as a passionate leader whose hard work and efforts paved the way for other females. Watson’s tenacity, work ethic and leadership style provided a way for other women in the military as more operational assignments were open to women.
“As a farm girl from Kansas, I joined to see the world, have a life of adventure, and to utilize my Business degree earned from Bethany College,” Capt. Watson said. “Throughout my 25 years, I have overcome many obstacles and broken glass ceilings while enjoying every assignment along the way.”
After serving her country, Watson chose to continue serving others with her passion of music. Watson completed multiple training programs in facilitation of drumming, keyboard, and a degree in Music Therapy. She then started a business, Music for Wellness, LLC in Norfolk, Virginia. Music for Wellness provides a comprehensive music and wellness program to encourage active older adults and/or veterans in taking an active and meaningful role in their health and well-being through the use of music.
Music for Wellness, LLC was a semi-finalist in the Citi “Realizing your Dream Competition” through the Boots to Business transition program, with over 150 competing businesses. It went on to receive the “Social Venture” Award in Long Beach, California.
“Bethany College holds such as special place in my heart and is the cornerstone to why I was successful in my Navy career and starting my new business venture,” she said.
Watson’s diverse gifts and talents, aspirations of excellence, and service to her community make her an exemplary Bethany Swede.
Keir Swisher ’02
View this billboard southbound on I-135 to Lindsborg
Dr. Keir Swisher ‘02 is the co-medical director of the Salina Regional Health Center Emergency Department as a board certified emergency medicine physician.
As a third generation Swede, Swisher knows the value of a Bethany education. “I chose Bethany College because I knew I would get a great education and would be well-prepared to enter medical school,” he says. “Bethany has an amazing acceptance rate into medical school, and I knew medicine was my destination as a career.”
Throughout his hard work preparing for medical school, Swisher developed a close relationship with the late Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Charles “Doc” Englund, who taught at Bethany from 1968 to 2009. Even after graduation, Swisher maintained contact and supported the initiative to name the chemistry lab of the 2008 additions to the Nelson Science Center after his former professor and mentor.
Outside of his major studies, Swisher took full advantage of Bethany’s many opportunities for students to learn more about themselves through an active campus life. “I loved my time at Bethany College as I had the opportunity to be a two-sport student-athlete and be involved in various extra-curricular activities,” he says.
At Bethany, Swisher also met his wife, Ashley Oplinger ’05, who is a dentist in Minneapolis, Kan. They have a son, Madex, who Swisher says is “a blessing and hopefully a future Swede!” Swisher’s family ties to Bethany extend to his parents, Dwight Swisher ’67 and L’Jean Burnison ’69, and his siblings Mijkin ’96, Kiff ’99 and Andrea (Ohlman) ’07, Ky ’06 and Kelsey (Pihl) ’10, and Bryn ’07.
Swisher continues to be active at Bethany, sharing his experiences in the field and mentoring current students through Experience-Based Education. As the guest speaker at the Academic Honors Banquet in 2011, Swisher challenged the audience to find ways to turn the worst events in their lives into something positive. “Ten percent of life is what it brings to you. Ninety percent is what you do and say,” he explained.
Swisher’s positive attitude, generous outlook, and keen sense of vocation make him a Swede truly succeeding in his career, community, and family.