REV-CHERISNA-JEANMARIE-sm-237x300.jpgBETHANY, W.Va. – Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie started her ministry as dean of the chapel of Bethany College and pastor of Bethany Memorial Church in September 2017. Until her appointment at Bethany, she served as chaplain at Jarvis Christian College.

The Rev. Jean-Marie, a Haitian-American born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, graduated in 2001 with a bachelor of arts degree in public communications from Kean University in Union, New Jersey. She completed her Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2010, where she was awarded the coveted Florence Conwell Prize for outstanding preaching. In 2012, she was ordained into the Christian ministry by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, where she served as associate minister.

She completed her chaplaincy work in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2014 offering up the ministry of pastoral care and counseling to a diverse community of all walks of life and faith traditions. Rev. Jean-Marie is a co-contributor for the African-American lectionary, a book project entitled, “These Sistas Can Say It,” and Partner Prayers for Advent 2014 with the Bethany Fellows Group (Disciples of Christ). She is a Bethany Fellow (Disciples of Christ), a member of the National Consortium of Black Women in Ministry-Nashville Branch, and she serves as the vice president of the Fellowship of Black Disciples Clergywomen.

Rev. Jean-Marie’s vision is to lead the Bethany community to become an intercultural community that embodies love, justice, and hospitality.

About Bethany College

Bethany College is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.

October 13th, 2017

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Letter to the Community:

It has been a challenging month for our nation, from natural disasters to acts of unspeakable violence, America and the Bethany community have not been unscathed.

We had barely begun to recover from the horrific tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, when Hurricane Harvey dumped a U.S. record 52 inches of rain on the Houston, Texas area, killing 82 and destroying thousands of homes in its path.

Then, it was Maria’s turn. The second major hurricane to strike the United States in less than a week has so far killed 34 people and plunged the entire island of Puerto Rico into darkness. Millions are without food, power, or drinking water. And the death toll from this storm is expected to continue rising.

And just this week, the horror of mass violence has been visited upon yet another American city.  As of this writing, 59 Americans have been killed and 527 others currently fighting for their lives or recovering from gunshot wounds in the attack in Las Vegas Sunday night. It’s the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, surpassing the shooting at an Orlando nightclub just last year.

Tragically, the Las Vegas attack has touched every corner of the United States, including our Bethany community. There are those among us on campus who knew some of the victims in Las Vegas and who are now enduring this pain in a very personal way. We stand as a community with these special Bethanians and hope that our concern and compassion for them can help ease their suffering in some small way.

So as October brings the beauty and excitement of a new season, let’s remember many people in the United States and the Caribbean are suffering today. Many have lost loved ones. Others have lost their homes. And many have lost everything.

It’s also important to not simply stand as helpless bystanders but to pitch in wherever we can to help others. A number of relief efforts have been created to assist the victims of these terribly tragedies. Any contribution, no matter how small, can help and it reminds those who may feel in darkness that they are not alone.

Below are links to just a few of the many relief efforts available to help those in need.

Thank you.

Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg

Week of Compassion

United for Puerto Rico                                         

One America Appeal                                            

American Red Cross—Hurricane Harvey                     

American Red Cross—Hurricane Maria        

Las Vegas Victims’ Fund

October 4th, 2017

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Bethany, WV – Four alumni from the fields of public relations, journalism and broadcasting were added to the Bethany College Communications and Media Arts Wall of Fame today.

Greg Hammaren, ’81, is Senior Vice President/General Manager at FOX Sports Detroit, a post he has held since 2002. A 30-year veteran of the regional sports business with both Turner Sports and FOX Sports, he has worked with team owners and executives in multiple large markets. Hammaren’s leadership has helped FOX Sports Detroit become the highest-rated cable channel in prime time in Michigan as well as among the highest-rated and most-watched regional sports networks in the country. Greg is a seven-time Michigan Emmy winner for Station Excellence. He is a founding member of the Detroit Sports Organizing Corporation (2017) and has served on the Executive Committee of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan since 2005.

Dean Lampietro, ’91, has been a producer at WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh since 1998, where he produces news, sports, election coverage, and special programming for this NBC affiliate. Prior to joining WPXI, Dean was a news producer for WHIO-TV in Dayton, Ohio.

Keith Joseph Piasecki, ’94, is currently a Technical Director / Director with CNN in Atlanta.  He started at CNN in 1998 as a video journalist and has held several positions including Electronic Graphics Operator and Master Control Operator. He led CNN’s 2008 political coverage on and was lead Technical Director for HLN’s coverage of the Casey Anthony trail in 2011.  In his current role, Piasecki primarily works with CNN International as a Technical Director on the overnight shift working on the “CNN Newsroom” shows which are mostly geared to a European breakfast audience.

Dan Verakis, ’98, is a senior principal at Clareo Partners, an international growth strategy firm, where he leads the brand loyalty and change management practice. Verakis has worked in the international marketing communications and change management fields for over 20 years, and in three countries. He’s worked in leading roles within companies such as Whirlpool and Monsanto. And he’s advised clients such as McDonald’s, United Airlines, Heinz, Kraft, Maui Jim, and Anglo-American in roles such as SVP & Director of Public Relations at Cramer-Krasselt — the second largest independent marketing firm in the U.S.  Additionally, Verakis is a technology entrepreneur who has helped cultivate the Chicago tech ecosystem, launched his own startup, and been invited to join and launch the White House Safety Data Initiative.

Bethany’s Communications and Media Arts Wall of Fame was established in October 2010 to honor distinguished communications graduates.  It includes 28 acclaimed graduates such as current national sportscaster Dave Sims and Bob Orr, the former Justice and Homeland Security correspondent for CBSNews.

As the oldest degree granting institution in West Virginia?, Bethany’s Department of Communications and Media Arts has had a storied reputation of producing graduates of national and international significance.  

About Bethany College

Bethany College is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.

September 29th, 2017

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Bethany, WV – At least 14 colleges and universities from throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, will compete for top honors in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) show at Oglebay Stables in Wheeling on Sunday, October 15.

The event is hosted by Bethany College, and is free and open to the public.

Among the schools taking part are West Virginia University, Bethany College, Seton Hill University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Riders will be judged “over fences” (jumping) and “on the flat” (no jumps) based on their ability to effectively communicate with their horse, their ability to appear aesthetically pleasing (i.e. posture and positioning on the horse) and the ability to make riding appear smooth and effortless.

The show will be held in the outdoor arena of the equestrian facility at Oglebay Stables and begins at 9 a.m.

Oglebay and Bethany College maintain a partnership to house the college’s off-campus equestrian facilities at the Oglebay Stables. Operations Manager Amy McGreal says one of the benefits of the added facilities and space gained by the partnership is the ability to host IHSA competitions.

“This partnership has also allowed Bethany to offer expanded service learning activities, internships and experiential learning opportunities, plus training on new equestrian disciplines,” said McGreal.

McGreal added the show is a good opportunity to visit the facility, see the horses, and witness collegiate competition.

The IHSA provides collegiate riders of all skills the opportunity to compete individually and as teams in equestrian competition. It was founded on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her riding ability or financial status.

About Bethany College

Bethany College is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.

September 27th, 2017

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BETHANY, W.Va. – Danny H. Rubin, an award-winning author and speaker on business communication skills, will give the keynote address at this year’s John Keresty Lecture in Journalism on Wednesday, September 27, at 7 p.m. in the Renner Art Gallery. The lecture is part of the 56th Communications and Media Arts Week, which will focus on the theme “It’s On Us,” and will take place Sept. 25 – 30.

Rubin is the author of “Wait, How Do I Write This Email?” which is a collection of more than 100 templates for networking and the job search, as well as “Wait, How Do I Promote My Business?” which is ideal for the small business owner. As a business communication speaker, Rubin provides a step-by-step guide for email communication, job applications, website content, press releases, and crowdfunding pages.

In 2015, he was the winner of the “Plank Center Award” for commitment to mentorship, a finalist in the “2016 Best Book” awards contest, and a 2016 “Notable Indie” book as decided by Shelf Magazine.

While the Keresty Lecture is often the most publicized of Communications Week events, presentations and workshops from prominent Bethany College alumni and professionals in communications and media arts will take place all week. The program is designed to help students better understand the diverse and quickly evolving world of media communications, take advantage of the wide array of potential experiences as undergraduates, and move through their undergraduate years and into their professional careers successfully. Communications Week is presented by the Bethany College Department of Communications & Media Arts.

The schedule for the week is as follows:

Monday, Sept. 25 – Ruth Westlake Day
  • 9:05 a.m., Weimer Lecture Hall: Gender Portrayal in the Digital World; Dr. Jason K. Smith
  • 10:10 a.m., Bethany House 101: Healthy Relationships Are Dependent On Us
  • 7 p.m., Hummel Field House: Pep Rally
Tuesday, Sept. 26 – James “Jim” Carty Jr. Day
  • 9:30 a.m., Steinman: It’s on Us; M.E. Yancosek Gamble
  • 2 p.m., Bethany Town Square: Town Cleanup with the First Year Experience
Wednesday, Sept. 27 – E.E. Roberts Day
  • 9:05 a.m., Bethany House 101: Being a Global Citizen is On Us; Dr. Patrick J. Sutherland
  • 7 p.m., Renner Art Gallery: John Keresty Lecture: Our Future Is On Us; Game-Changing Strategies for Your Internship/Job Search; Danny H. Rubin
Thursday, Sept. 28 – James Keegen Day
  • All Day, Professor Jon Griener & Multimedia Students visit John Marshall High School to Speak with Perspective Students
  • 7 p.m., Hummel Field House: It’s On Us, Bethany Pledge Booth
Friday, Sept. 29 – Hal Shaver Day
  • 4 p.m., Bethany House: Alumni, Faculty & Staff Cocktail Hour
  • 5 p.m., Bethany House: Wall of Fame Induction
Saturday, Sept. 30 – Homecoming
  • 2 p.m., Bison Stadium: It’s On Us Pledge Booth & Video Premiere
About Bethany College

Bethany College is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.

September 25th, 2017

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BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College Theatre Department will open the 2017-18 season with its production of Jocelyn Beard’s, The Ornamental Hermit, at Bethany’s outdoor amphitheatre near Steinman Hall.

Three evening performances are scheduled for September 14, 15, and 16, at 6:30 p.m., and a Sunday matinee on September 17, at 2 p.m.

The Ornamental Hermit, set on the Rivermede plantation, South Carolina in 1860 is a rollicking tale of a spoiled Southern belle, a slave rebellion, love, mistaken identities, kissing bandits, and lots of plot twists. All in all, it’s a humorous approach to some very serious topics.

Two sophomores, Kerry Kerr (Atlanta, Georgia) and Epiphany Charles (Gaithersburg, Maryland), play slaves, Joe and Mehitable, who, though in love are at odds about escaping the plantation.

Senior Maclaine Murad (Bridgeport, Ohio) plays the Scarlett O’Hara-inspired character Lily, precocious and self-absorbed who matures over the course of the play. Sophomore Logan Mayhew (Morgantown, West Virginia) fills the role of her stepmother, a Yankee transplant whom Cedric (senior Maxwell Hardt of Bethany, West Virginia) has married for her fortune. The title role of The Ornamental Hermit is played by senior Elias Stebbins (Washington, Pennsylvania). At first, he seems to be a mysterious stranger who has stepped right out of one of Lily’s Romantic novels, but his true identity will keep the audience guessing until the end.  Rounding out the cast are Jess Donato of Butler, Pennsylvania, as Cedric’s tippling sister and guest artist Daniel Loh of Wheeling, who plays Mr. Seely, Rivermede’s overseer. Or is he?

Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Luke Hardt, who says, “The first thing that makes this play so funny is that there really were ornamental hermits on Southern plantations and English estates in the 19th century. So, it’s based on something true. But then the playwright draws these largely ridiculous characters to use humor to highlight the absurdity of slavery.

“At Bethany, we have some unique resources, such as the Amphitheatre,” says director Hardt. “I’m always looking for plays that benefit from being done outside. The Ornamental Hermit is perfect.”

“Another point of pride is that as an educational program, we’re not compelled to limit our selections to plays that are already popular. I’m hopeful that a large audience will take the trip back in time to Rivermede for this hilarious and thought-provoking play.”

The production crew includes Jordan Moore (Washington, Pennsylvania), Caitlin Hanna (Washington, Pennsylvania), Serenity Brown (Bloomingberg, New York), and Toshia Rush (Alum Bank, Pennsylvania).

Admission for the performances is free, but donations are accepted.

The Bethany Amphitheatre is a natural hillside located directly behind Wailes Theatre in Steinman Hall.  The audience is encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets as there is no formal seating.  In the event of inclement weather, the performance will be held inside Wailes Theatre.

For more information, call 304.829.7124.

About Bethany College

Bethany College is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.

September 1st, 2017

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GMU Photo (00000002).jpgBethany, WV – Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of both the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, will deliver the Larry E. Grimes Lecture at Bethany College on Saturday, September 30, at 11:30 a.m.

Gen. Hayden’s lecture is part of Bethany’s annual Homecoming festivities.

Michael Hayden is a retired United States Air Force four-star general and who became the country’s first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence – and was the highest-ranking intelligence officer in the U.S. armed forces. Earlier, he served as Director of the National Security Agency and was appointed Director of the CIA by President George W. Bush. Currently, he serves as a principal at The Chertoff Group, a security and risk management advisory firm, and is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University.

He is the author of “Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror.”

For complimentary tickets to this event, please click here.

About the Larry Grimes Lecture Series

The Larry Grimes Lecture Series honors a Bethany College professor and renowned Hemingway Scholar who spent 39 years teaching students to learn from and love literature. During his nearly 40 years as a professor of English, Dr. Grimes opened the world of literature, poetry, history, film and interdisciplinary studies to thousands of Bethany students and personally delivered the inaugural lecture in 2014 at Homecoming.

About Bethany College

Bethany College is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.

August 28th, 2017

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BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College marked the start of the 2017-18 academic year on Thursday, August 24, with a formal matriculation convocation held on the school’s northern West Virginia campus.

The afternoon began with the Class of 2021 walking in a processional from Benedum Commons through the historic Oglebay Gates up the hill to Pennington Quadrangle in the heart of campus. This class will not walk through the Oglebay Gates together again until their graduation from Bethany.

Newly appointed Provost and Dean of Faculty Dr. Joe Lane led the procession of faculty and staff in the traditional ceremony that culminated in each new student signing the Book of Matriculation – a tradition that dates back to the late 1800s. Dr. Lane also gave the welcome address to the Class of 2021.

“This is the beginning of a very exciting academic journey. It is, if you will let it be, a transformative experience that will change your life,” said Lane.

He also detailed to the class five life lessons to remember – from the power of listening to working and collaborating together as colleagues.


“We have an incredibly talented and thoughtful faculty who deserve your respect and will teach you a great deal, but I can assure

you that none among you can achieve all that you are capable of without the positive energy you will derive from your classmates,” continued Lane. “Together, I know you all will do great things, and I look forward to welcoming you back here as a Bethanian in May 2021.”

Darren Johnson, president of the student government association, also addressed the incoming freshman.

“The next four years will not be easy, but it is up to you to take the challenge of our founder Alexander Campbell. Liberate yourself from superstition, ignorance, the tyranny of others, and vulgar prejudices,” said Johnson.

This year’s incoming class includes students from 16 states and nine foreign countries. Among them are six presidential scholars, 21 Kalon leadership scholars, and six students in a new honors program.

About Bethany College

Bethany College is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.

August 25th, 2017

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BETHANY, W.Va. – On Monday, August 21, Bethany College hosted a viewing party for the campus community during the solar eclipse. Dr. Lisa Reilly, associate professor of chemistry and board member of the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, assisted students in tracking the NASA live feed of the eclipse path of totality across the United States.

As a member of the NASA Space Grant Consortium, Bethany College provides opportunities for students to participate in NASA programs and activities. We’ll be following the live NASA tracking of the solar eclipse from the Richardson Hall of Science.

About Bethany College

Bethany College is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.

August 21st, 2017

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Members of the Bethany Community,

We are deeply saddened by the tragic events at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.  Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the victims of the violence and, indeed, to all members of these communities.  

The flag of the University of Virginia hangs in our Commencement Hall as a reminder of the many ways that its academic mission informs our own.  We are part of the same academic family.  Bethany College values “diversity of thought and lifestyle” and “responsible engagement with public issues,” not violence and hate.  Our campus and our community must be a place where all feel safe and welcome and where we join together to support and protect one another, even when we disagree.    We want all members of the Bethany campus community – students, professors, alumni, donors, and friends – to know that we stand for peaceful dialogue and respectful engagement on the many issues facing our communities and country. We do not support any stance that claims that some among us should not have a voice. 

As our students come to campus over the next week, many may feel threatened and unsafe, unsure about whom to trust.  As the senior leadership of Bethany College, we want to reassure all our students that we will vigorously protect them, including those who may be targeted by the perpetrators of bigotry and hate.  We offer support for anyone who is using their voice and their agency to strive for a more inclusive and peaceful world. 

We encourage faculty and student leaders to engage in a peaceful and productive dialogue about what happened in Charlottesville and what these events portend for our campus, our community, and our country.  We will make announcements in the days ahead about how we can use this sad event as the beginning of a conversation and hope you will join us in processing your thoughts and feelings about these events.   We welcome any suggestions you may have for strengthening our diverse community and assuring the safety of all members of the Bethany family. 


President Rodenberg and Members of the Bethany College Cabinet

August 16th, 2017

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