“Dr. Kappel’s long record of scholarship and service to the humanities embodies the very qualities the Gresham Chair honors,” stated Miller. “I am pleased to recognize his achievements and further our strong legacy of scholastic excellence at Bethany College.”
The Gresham Chair was established in 1976 in honor of Perry E. and Aleece Gresham. The appointment seeks to enhance the value of the humanities both at Bethany College and elsewhere, to honor distinguished scholar-teachers in the humanities, and to foster in future generations of students the humane values that characterized the lives of the Greshams.
Dr. Perry E. Gresham came to Bethany College in 1953 as the College’s 12th President. Under his leadership, 25 new buildings were constructed, the student body and faculty doubled in size, endowments tripled, and the annual budget multiplied 10 times. Dr. Gresham was a graduate of Texas Christian University, the University of Chicago and Columbia University. A noted lecturer and national church leader, he was also well-known as a teacher, poet and author.
An accomplished musician, Aleece Gresham served as a strong supporter of the arts during her time in Bethany, donating funds for a variety of educational and musical scholarships. She was also a versatile lecturer and called special attention to the significant roles of women in the United States and in the world’s history. The Gresham Professorship is intended as a perpetual celebration of the Greshams’ artistry and a means of continuing to teach that art.
A Bethany alumnus, Kappel joined the Bethany faculty in 1983 after earning his master’s degree and doctorate from West Virginia University. Throughout his time with the College, he has served as Chair of the Department of History and Political Science and recently acted as Interim Dean of Faculty during the College’s search for a Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. As Chair of the Bethany College Reaffirmation of Accreditation Team, Kappel spearheaded Bethany’s successful completion of its re-accreditation process.
Kappel also recently received a resolution on behalf of the College Board of Trustees, signed by Bethany College President Scott D. Miller and Bethany Board Chair Greg Jordan, expressing “gratitude to Gary for his tremendous leadership, task orientation, and exemplary work.”
Bethany is a small college of national distinction located on a historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, it is the oldest college in the state.