BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany President G.T. “Buck” Smith announced that Bethany College’s annual commencement activities will take place May 4-5, 2007.
A Baccalaureate service will be held Friday, May 4 at 8 p.m. in Commencement Hall of Old Main. Rev. Dr. William B. Allen will deliver remarks to the graduating seniors. His sermon is titled “When a Hundred Years Have Rolled (Making It All Better).”

Allen is the Regional Minister, West Virginia Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bethany in 1962, his Master’s of Divinity from Yale University in 1965, his Doctor of Ministry degree in the Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, Calif., in 1981 and an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Bethany in 1990.

He served as pastor of Bethany Memorial Church and Chaplain of Bethany College for 18 years.
Following Baccalaureate, a reception honoring parents and members of the Class of 2007 will be hosted by President Smith on the Corridor of Old Main.
Commencement activities for the Class of 2007 will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 5 on the Quadrangle of Old Main. Honorary degrees will be presented to two men who have achieved distinction in their fields.
Honorary degree recipients include James Benner, Honorary Doctor of Humanities, and Dr. John E. Niederhuber, Honorary Doctor of Science.
Dr. Niederhuber will deliver "On Writing The Next Chapter," his address to the Class of 2007.
Dr. Niederhuber is the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). A nationally renowned surgeon and researcher, Dr. Niederhuber has dedicated his four-decade career to the treatment and study of cancer–as a professor, cancer center director, National Cancer Advisory Board chair, external advisor to the NCI, grant reviewer and laboratory investigator supported by NCI and the National Institutes of Health.

Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Niederhuber was NCI’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director for Translational and Clinical Sciences, a position he assumed in September 2005. In June 2002, President Bush appointed Dr. Niederhuber as a Chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board. He resigned that position in order to become NCI’s Deputy Director.
Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Dr. Niederhuber is a 1960 graduate of Bethany College and earned his M.D. from The Ohio State University School of Medicine in 1964.
Among his many awards and honors, Dr. Niederhuber has received a U.S. Public Health Service Career Development Award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Distinguished Faculty Service Award from the University of Michigan. He has also been recognized with the Alumni Achievement Award from Ohio State and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Bethany College.

Benner is Professor Emeritus in the Division of Music, College of Creative Arts at West Virginia University.
During his tenure at West Virginia University, Benner established an extensive program of foreign language diction courses for singers. He taught graduate and undergraduate classes in vocal repertoire and began a coaching and accompanying emphasis in the degree program for applied pianists.
After his retirement from WVU, Benner filled numerous residencies to produce and conduct operas at colleges and universities across the country. He also conducted for the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, West Virginia University and on tour in Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia.
Benner’s former students include many conductors, accompanists and soloists who are active on the professional stages of Europe and the United States.

In 2003, Benner was given the WVU College of Creative Arts Dean’s Award for “Distinguished Leadership in the Arts” and gave the convocation address at the college’s commencement.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University and a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University.