Friends and colleagues know that I’m a big fan of Major League Baseball. Part of my summer reading this year included books by two former college presidents, Gene A. Budig and the late A. Bartlett Giamatti. Dr. Budig, former president of Illinois State University, West Virginia University and the University of Kansas, also served for six years as president of MLB’s American League. Dr. Giamatti was president of Yale University for eight years and MLB’s National League before being named baseball commissioner. Both men make some insightful comparisons between baseball and higher education.
In baseball lingo, August constitutes the “Dog Days”—the hottest and sultriest days of the summer—when contenders are separated from pretenders, and the best teams rise to the top of their respective divisions. Likewise, higher education begins its “stretch run” before the start of another academic year. Thus, Bethany is preparing for the arrival of students in late August.
Ted Williams (the director of physical plant, not the late baseball great of the Boston Red Sox) and his staff are putting the finishing touches on our scenic, historic campus after a full summer of camps and conferences.
Coaches are talking enthusiastically about the talent in their recruiting classes and looking to the new season. Fall sports teams are just weeks away from reporting for pre-season conditioning.
Faculty are returning to their offices abuzz with stories of fascinating summer travels and research and writing projects, eager to greet another talented new class of Bethanians; this year’s incoming student class is among the largest and best-prepared in Bethany’s history.
The coming academic year also represents a time of change. As classes open, we will miss two long-time Bethanians who retired last spring—Dr. Robert Paysen, The Goulding-Woolery Professor of Chemistry, and Registrar Susan Doty.
After several years as associate vice president for academic affairs,
Dr. Gary Kappel, the self-professed “utility infielder and jack of all trades,” is transitioning back to the faculty as professor of history and the Perry E. and Aleece C. Gresham Chair in Humanities. Gary will realize what he terms “the dream of a lifetime” when he returns to the United Kingdom at the end of this month to teach at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, during the fall semester. Harlaxton, the British campus of the University of Evansville, welcomes visiting professors from affiliated institutions, including Bethany College. In the spring semester, Dr. Kappel returns to Bethany as a full-time faculty member in history. Bethany College is grateful for Dr. Kappel’s devoted service over the past five years as interim vice president for academic affairs, and as associate vice president for academic affairs.
Succeeding Gary in this post will be Dr. Katrina Cooper, associate professor of psychology and director of the First Year Program. A campus leader on assessment, advising, and assimilating first-year students, Dr. Cooper will facilitate and lead several academic initiatives during the coming year.
I am pleased to share also that Dr. Joseph Lovano, longtime professor of world languages and cultures, has become chair of the Department of Humanities, while Dr. Lisa Reilly, assistant professor of chemistry, will chair the Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics. Dr. Reilly was the recipient of this year’s
President’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Performance.
We also congratulate Professor Kenneth L. Morgan on his appointment as Jennie Steindorf Renner Chair of Fine Arts, and Dr. Brooke L. Deal, Thomas W. Phillips Chair of Religious Studies.
and Jesse Janeshek join the full-time faculty after serving the past
year as visiting professors in fine arts and English respectively.
In addition, we welcome new members of the Bethany College faculty:
- Scott M. Brothers, assistant professor of chemistry, holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Texas A&M University.
- Angela Icard, assistant professor of education, holds a Master of Sciences in reading and literacy, and is an expert in 21st-century learning strategies and assessment.
- Holly Hillgardner, Renner Visiting Scholar in Religious Studies, will receive her Ph.D. in philosophical and theological studies from Drew University in the coming days. She holds a master's in theological studies from the Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University and has received the Micah Courage Award and the Micah Fellowship from the New York Theological Seminary.
- Brandon Lamson, assistant professor of English, holds a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston and an MFA from Indiana University. He recently was awarded the Juniper Prize, which includes publication of his book
Starship Tahiti by the University of Massachusetts Press.
- Ted Langan, assistant professor of chemistry, holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from West Virginia University. He specializes in organic chemistry.
- Jason K. Smith, assistant professor of communications and media arts, holds a Ph.D. in communications and research theory from Florida State University and a master’s in mass communication from the University of Hartford.
- Joseph Walsh, assistant professor of mathematics, is expected to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from SUNY Stony Brook by August 2012. His specialties include mathematical physics and quantum field theory.
In the final weeks of the regular baseball season, there may yet be surprises, upsets and late-season comebacks. At Bethany, too, we strive to win, and in the volatile world of higher education today, we also expect our share of surprises. Yet our historic commitment to the liberal arts, outstanding faculty and academic programs, national rankings, and devoted alumni and friends—among our many strengths—always sustain us.
As the so-called leisurely days of summer slowly transition to autumn, we feel the renewed excitement that arrives with each fall semester at Bethany. Soon our freshman students will stroll through the Oglebay Gates to their first convocation as Bethanians, taking their places as students have for 172 years.
Far from being a fading season, the late summer is a time of possibility and new beginnings on a college campus. We wish you the very best from everyone within the Bethany College community, and invite you to visit us and follow our progress throughout the coming academic year.