A Small College of National Distinction
A monthly communiqué from
Dr. Scott D. Miller
President of the College
If you would like to contact
please write him at:
110 Old Main
Bethany, WV 26032
Prominent Voices, Achievements Bring
Bethany's Year to a Close
The end of an academic year is always bittersweet, a beginning for our newest alumni and a farewell to valued colleagues such as Professors Jay Buckelew (42 years) and Randy Cooey (45 years). As both retire, they become part of the legend that makes Bethany College so special, for their work is an example of the quality of teaching and service that is traditionally among our greatest strengths. Our traditions define us. Senior comps, the capstone project, diplomas still written in Latin, the graduation ritual, all link Bethanians across the generations. As many of our alumni tell me, the core experience of Bethany College remains amazingly constant through the decades.
Bethany College ended another momentous year with Commencement Weekend on May 13-14. Continuing our legacy with the College’s founding denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we hosted as a memorable Baccalaureate speaker the Rev. Dr. Todd A. Adams, associate general minister and vice president of the
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. Bethany’s historic relationship with the Church is an important part of our heritage and, with our Buffalo Seminary and renewed emphasis on revitalizing that historic partnership, the cornerstone of our special mission.
On Saturday morning, Bethany’s 171st graduation ceremonies were held in Nutting Gymnasium of Hummel Fieldhouse. Appropriately, the speaker was Bob Nutting himself in a facility named for his parents. It is impossible to overstate what the Nutting family has meant to Bethany College for some 90 years. In his May 14 Commencement address, the Pittsburgh Pirates board chairman noted that the graduates’ Bethany College experience might fulfill their need for “a sense of permanence in the midst of change.”
Alumni over the years have also remarked upon this bond. Greg Heilmeyer ’89, national president of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, recently recalled that his Phi Chapter brothers were with him “at the times of (my) greatest triumphs: at (my) marriage and the birth of (my) children. They were also there at times of (my) deepest sorrows.”
Valedictorian April M. O’Brien of Columbus, Ohio, completed her college career with top honors as she received the College’s Oreon E. Scott Award, presented annually to the senior graduating with the highest academic standing. April, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Media Arts, was recognized for “outstanding scholarship and leadership,” and passed her Senior Comprehensive Exams with distinction.
I am fond of telling Bethany graduates that after Commencement day, they will never again be Bethany students, yet will always be Bethany alumni. Speaking to graduating women at the annual Darline Nicholson breakfast, another Bethanian, Kaye Hearn ’72, justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, echoed a theme common among alumni: “Like many of you, I grew up on this campus. It’s where I learned independence, where I was afforded the opportunity to be a leader. “
Justice Hearn, the second woman to sit on the Palmetto State’s highest court, recalled that both the Kent State tragedy and the plane crash killing all members of the Marshall University football team occurred during her time at Bethany. Other classes have been marked by different touchstone events; however, in Hearn’s words, “Even during those unthinkable tragedies, which hit very close to home, this college community kept us going.”
No doubt that is why so many Bethanians continue to give back—to their communities, professions and their alma mater. In fact, Bethany was recently recognized as a national leader in community outreach by the Corporation for National and Community Service in recognition of our leadership and support for volunteering, service learning and civic engagement. At this year’s Alumni Weekend, April 30-May 1, the Class of 1961 presented a check for $136,660 at the annual Alumni Luncheon on the occasion of its 50th reunion—just one more example of the generosity for which Bethanians are known. Gifts such as these immeasurably enhance the quality of the college experience for our students.
We honored four distinguished graduates during Alumni Weekend.
Dr. Rodney Hurl ‘52 received the College’s Alumnus of the Year Award. Hurl, a retired physician in Marysville, Ohio, and Trustee Emeritus, served on the Bethany Board of Trustees from 1971-1997. He provided funding for the College to purchase the building now known as the Judith R. Hurl Education Center and recently donated his personal library of 2,500 volumes to Phillips Library, among his many contributions to Bethany.
Dr. W. Blair Geho and Steffanie D. Lewis were presented with this year’s Alumni Achievement Awards. Geho ‘60 founded an early biotechnology firm, Technology Unlimited, Inc., (TUI) in Wooster, Ohio, has led pioneering teams developing novel nanotechnology delivery systems for drugs ranging from insulin to chemotherapies and small molecules for a variety of diseases and has participated in the formation of a number of biotechnology companies, serving as both Chief Science Officer and CEO. His technology inventions have been the recipient of more than $40 million in venture capital and other types of funding.
Lewis ‘58 is a founding attorney, vice president and secretary of The International Business Law Firm P.C. (IBLF) in Washington, D.C. Since 1999 she has been General Counsel to Baltia Air Lines, Inc., a U.S. start-up airline. She has also held the office of General Counsel, Director of Legislative Affairs and Administration in the Helicopter Association International.
The Rev. Dennis Sparks ’71, an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), received the Alumni Community Service Award. He serves as the Executive Director of the West Virginia Council of Churches where he is a public policy advocate with a focus on children, the environment, health and corrections.
The spring athletic season at Bethany concluded with some exciting results. Bethany scholar-athletes continued to excel. Softball finished 29-16, advancing to the NCAA National Tournament after winning the PAC regular season and PAC Tournament. Track and field had several stellar athletes advance to the ECAC Championships. Some school records fell during the season, including the men’s 800 meter mark by Arkangelo James and the women’s 400 meter hurdles by Desiree Finley at the ECACs.
Although Bethany now transitions into a somewhat slower pace during the summer months, the campus remains full of activity with camps and other special events scheduled before we welcome the new class this fall.
May your summer be enjoyable, rewarding and productive! Should your plans include travel to our area, we look forward to welcoming you back. We hope you will visit often.
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