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Bethany College Honors Outstanding Alumni

BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College on Friday honored its 2020 outstanding alumni as part of the college’s virtual Homecoming celebration.

The honorees are: Scarlett Foster ’79, the Robert A. Sandercox Award; John Somsky ’71, Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award; Mark Bado ’87, Alumni Achievement Award; and the Rev. Amos Acree ’69, Community Service Award.

Kristi Buren ’93, president of the Bethany College Alumni Association, announced the honorees during the video conferencing ceremony. She described the annual selection process as one of the hardest and most fun parts of being on the association’s board.

Foster, of St. Louis, is only the fifth recipient of the Sandercox Award, which is given “to the select few who demonstrate a level of commitment to Bethany and the educational community that is not easily rivaled.”

She is the president of SLF Consulting, LLC, and is a retired corporate and vice president of investor relations for Monsanto Co.

She established and underwrote Bethany’s annual Ann Wilkin Trombadore Women and Leadership Weekend, which has grown to become the second largest annual gathering of alumni on campus. It offers female students opportunities to network and further their leadership aspirations.

Foster has twice served on the Bethany Board of Trustees and was a driving force behind the class of 1979’s renovation of the Sandercox Room in Old Main. The remaining funds of that fund-raising effort is seed money for the roof replacement of the former Renner Union.

“It is still the best return on investment that I ever made,” Foster said. “If you had asked me in my 30s and 40s, I would have defined it in terms of my career – here are the things that I did in my career and it is because of my education at Bethany. I am much older and wiser now, and, in my 50s and 60s, I realized that the real return on that Bethany investment is my relationships.”

She noted after the cancellation of the 2020 Women and Leadership Weekend and the decision of a core group of women who have gotten on a call every week since March to talk and support each other.

Foster also made a request of everyone in attendance to continue donating in any way they can – even $5 more – to carry on Sandercox’s legacy of supporting Bethany.

“I have never once asked anyone at Bethany for help and not gotten more than I asked for,” Foster said. “And I think we can all say that.”

Somsky, of Canonsburg, Pa., began his career as a high school football coach in Pennsylvania and Texas and as collegiate coach at Purdue, West Virginia, Texas Christian, and Louisiana State. He transitioned into corporate marketing at such firms as Gatorade, McDonald’s, and Anheuser-Busch. While senior marketing of sports marketing at Gatorade, Somsky ensured that Bethany athletics received the same product and equipment donations as were distributed to NCAA Division I programs.

He has supported Bethany for decades by securing donations for fund-raisers, offering financial support, group fund-raising, and serving on search committees for the athletic department. He also has been a keynote speaker, guest lecturer, and student career counselor.

In his nomination of Somsky, Greg Caprara said, “John Somsky bleeds green – he has over a 40-year history of giving back to Bethany College in time, talent, and treasure.”

Most recently, Somsky has been involved in the development of a new weight-training and human performance facility and in the donation of additional Gatorade dispensing products in support of the COVID-19 protocols.

In addition to thanking Bethany College and his wife, Evonne, Somsky singled out the family of Bob Goin ’59, the former coach and athletic director who died last year at age 83.

“Coach was instrumental in my personal development at Bethany and my professional development as a coach and as a Fortune 500 corporate sports marketer, and he became a lifelong friend. …” Somsky said. “In closing, I only hope that all those alumni that have left Bethany have had the chance to use the experience, the learning, and the interpersonal relationships that Bethany offered and that they found it as valuable to their life as it has been to mine.”

Bado, of Charlotte, is the general manager of Myers Park Country Club. He began his career in public accounting before turning to club management. He is one of only 22 managers in the world to achieve a Master Club Manager designation and serves as president of the Club Management Association of America’s National Board of Directors, which represents more than 2,500 clubs worldwide.

Bado is the third in his family to receive a Bethany alumni award; his brother Ken ’77 received an award in 2010 and his mother, Sally (Schreiver) Bado ’50, in 1998.

“It’s just amazing and very humbling for me to be included in such a distinguished group of people,” Mark Bado said, acknowledging both his fellow 2020 winners and those from years past who directly influenced his life. “As I look at the alumni awards and all the past winners, it’s a who’s who and who has built Bethany College.”

In addition to recognizing his family, Bado singled out the influence of Dean Forest Kirkpatrick as his first mentor in business, and Robyn Cole, an English professor and Bado’s freshman faculty adviser.

Acree, of Depew, N.Y., is an ordained Christian Church Disciples of Christ minister and a registered nurse.

Acree has been active in ecumenical work, nursing care, combating racism, and mission work throughout his career and into retirement. Acree was a member of the Coalition for Economic Justice, Western NY Peace Center, a member of the leadership team of the UCC Faith Community Nurse Network, and served as a hospice nurse to HIV/AIDS patients in the 1980s.

He has served on mission trips to Nicaragua and Honduras and in the United States after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

Acree sat on the Anti-Racism Team for the North East Region, the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of East Aurora, N.Y., and is a member of multiple groups including the Disciples Peace Fellowship and Council on Christian Unity.

“Bethany has always been a part of my life,” Acree said. “I was looking forward to homecoming this year, but I guess I’m going to have to look forward to it for next year.”

ABOUT BETHANY COLLEGE

Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.

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