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
Celebrating a Spring Season of Success at Bethany
Bethany College has been far from dormant during the winter months. Now, with the arrival of spring and the fast-paced months on our campus of April and May, we pause to celebrate continued accomplishment at A Small College of National Distinction.
Thanks to all Bethanians who, in the words of our spring speakers, continue to give back, mentor future scholars and leaders, represent their alma mater with distinction in their communities and professions and perhaps most importantly, accomplish all this with passion and purpose.
First, Bethany’s gifted faculty continues to earn outside recognition. Retiring Professor of Biology Dr. Jay Buckelew was recognized in Charleston as a 2010 finalist for the Merit Foundation of West Virginia “Professor of the Year.” How proud I was as president to see someone who has devoted 42 years of his life to Bethany College earn accolades in this, his last year on our faculty. He has dedicated his entire academic life to students in the liberal arts tradition that we cherish at Bethany College.
This marks the second time in three years that a Bethany professor has been chosen for the honor. Professor of Biology Dr. John Burns was a contender for the 2008 award.
Accumulating numerous honors, including the West Virginia Wildlife Federation’s Conservationist of the Year award in 1996, Jay has consistently dedicated himself to preparing students for careers in science and medicine. In the words of Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Darin Fields, “His passion for his subject matter is infectious and has had a profound and lifetime influence on his students.” Generations of students have passed through his classroom, and scores remember him as a wonderfully talented, compassionate teacher and lifelong learner who motivated them to pursue lives of scientific discovery.
Next, on March 8, we honored Dr. Mary Ellen Komorowski, officially installed as the inaugural Matthew Quay Ammon Professor of Mathematics. The professorship was established through a generous gift by Dr. Kathleen Gaberson to honor the memory of her son, Matthew, who graduated from Bethany in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and mathematics. Ammon was one of many students whom Dr. Komorowski, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, has helped lead to professional success.
Establishing a strong reputation of expecting excellence not only from her students, but also from herself as a teacher, scholar and mentor, Dr. Komorowski receives this appointment with distinction. The ceremony in the Academic Parlour with friends, colleagues and family represented a fitting and proper way for a family to recognize a special Bethanian’s life and legacy through an endowed professorship.
Bethany’s alumni also continue their lives of accomplishment, perhaps none so brilliantly as alumnus Thomas Buergenthal, our March 3 Founder’s Day Convocation featured guest speaker. Dr. Buergenthal, a survivor of the Holocaust, 1957 Bethany graduate and 1981 Honorary Doctorate of Laws recipient, is a former judge on the International Court of Justice in The Hague and a former member of the UN Human Rights Committee. He currently holds the Lobingier Professorship of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at The George Washington University School of Law in Washington, DC.
In a moving and memorable address entitled “An Immigrant at Bethany,” Dr. Buergenthal contrasted the warm welcome he received at Bethany, a Christian college, with the oppression he had suffered as a child in the Nazi camps.
“While I not only received a very fine liberal arts education in Bethany, which has stood me in very good stead throughout my life, Bethany also served as my gateway to America, the America I wanted to be part of and came to love the way only an immigrant can love this country,” he remarked.
“By the time I became a U.S. citizen. . .my naturalization papers merely legalized what Bethany had already helped me become — an American.”
In the longstanding tradition of alumni “giving back,” Dr. Buergenthal urged students to remember that “no successful person has ever made it on his or her own. If you look at the careers of successful people, you will invariably find that they had one or more generous mentors who helped them along the way. That means, of course, that each of us who has made it has a moral obligation to assist others who come behind us.”
Also applauding the role of Bethany College in preparing her for life, alumna Marie Z. DeParis, keynote speaker at the 27th annual Kalon Scholarship Luncheon on March 5, advised students, “You can do many different things in college and in your career. The best thing I ever did was to follow my passion wherever it took me. Bethany is the kind of place that nurtures your passion and provides the proper education to prepare for a career.” A 1983 Bethany graduate, DeParis is vice president of marketing and business development for SNY, the official television home of the New York Mets, Jets and Big East Conference.
On the sports front, the men’s basketball team wrapped up a stellar 21-8 season under second-year Head Coach Andrew Sachs and advanced to the NCAA National Tournament, displaying the strong sense of pride associated with this accomplishment. With a roster of returnees, the outlook is bright for next season. Men’s varsity lacrosse has opened its inaugural season, and I enjoyed joining the baseball and softball teams on their annual spring trips to Florida. Both are coming off highly successful seasons and the ECAC playoffs last year. A spring highlight for me each year includes hosting parents from both programs for picnic outings while learning more about them and their scholar-athletes.
Looking ahead to other spring events, we will welcome back our many alumni and friends during Alumni Weekend, April 29 –May 1. As part of the festivities, The Darline Nicholson Breakfast is set for Saturday, April 30. Kaye Hearn, a 1972 Bethany graduate and the second woman to serve on the South Carolina Supreme Court, will address Bethany College senior women at this event.
Justice Hearn serves as a remarkable example of a Bethany alumna who has diligently and skillfully pursued her passion to make a positive difference.
In addition, the Oreon Scott Lectures are just around the corner. Bethany College has announced the 56th annual lectures, to be held May 2-3 at Bethany’s Mountainside Conference Center. This year’s featured speaker will be Dr. Bruce Epperly, director of continuing education and professor of practical theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary. The event focus will be “Loosely Christian: Theology, Spirituality, and Mission for a Postmodern Church.” Funded through the Oreon E. Scott Foundation, the series was established to strengthen the Christian Church and support Disciples-related colleges and institutions.
The College will cap another successful year with Commencement weekend, May 13-14.
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