Bethany Transformation Solidifies College’s Place as a Small College of National Distinction

Statement from College President, Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg, Regarding the Value of Liberal Arts Education

BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College was founded in 1840, and has served as a Small College of National Distinction for more than 179 years. Throughout its history, the college has thrived, in large part, due to its ability to adapt, innovate and provide a compelling, contemporary academic experience for generations of students.

Higher education in the U.S. is undergoing a renaissance in the 21st Century, as colleges and universities are re-engineering the campus experience to keep pace with shifting work force and career needs, the impact of emerging technology on our world and the evolving social values we hold dear.

Bethany College is no exception. We are engaged in a multi-year effort to modernize and transform the Bethany experience to provide our students with the critical thinking and technical expertise they seek, provided in the context of their own personal goals and growth, as well as how their actions impact the world in which we live.

In the last three years, we have:

  • created four new academic majors that reflect the needs of employers and employees, including Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity–Information Assurance, International Business, and Physical Education–Sports Medicine Track;
  • partnered with Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden to offer collaborative educational experiences in plant agriculture, environmental sciences and sustainability;
  • established an Honors Program to reward academic achievement, raise the academic discourse among the Bethany student body, and encourage a holistic approach to creative thinking and intellectual independence;
  • entered a 3+3 Legal Education Advancement Program (LEAP) partnership with Ohio Northern University to bolster and expedite legal degrees and careers for Bethany students;
  • been named by two publications as the #1 college or university in West Virginia for employment and wages;
  • established a new segregated cybersecurity lab facility;
  • opened a new, state-of-the-art student dining facility, as well as “The Hub” – a trendy location for food, fellowship and academic study;
  • and, launched a new, innovative campus bookstore for students, faculty and alumni.
  • In addition, 95% of Bethany students find full-time employment or enrolled in graduate school within 9 months of graduation – recent graduates are attending graduate schools across the country including the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School, the University of Pittsburgh, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Students graduate from Bethany with jobs found through the assistance of our newly developed Office of Career and Professional Development and are working at places like Booze Allen Hamilton, Management Science Associates, and Teach for America to name only a few.

These innovations are taking place with the full and complete support of our dedicated Board of Trustees and alumni, who are helping to create the Bethany College of the future through increased giving and increased engagement with the college.

While students from across the United States and around the world attend Bethany, the college has traditionally served as an academic springboard for students and families from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Bethany College provides an ideal setting for individual growth, achievement and leadership in multiple fields of expertise including but not limited to pre-medical studies, biology, psychology, social work, pre-law, business, environmental engineering, digital media, communications and information technology.

Rather than avoid the challenges facing small colleges in the 21st Century, we have embraced them as opportunities on the road to building a Bethany that honors the traditions of the past while building a learning environment that will serve generations of students from the Tri-State area and beyond for another 175 years.

About Bethany College

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

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