Erickson Alumni Center

The Erickson Alumni Center (1992) is home to Bethany’s Alumni Relations Office, Development Office, Church Relations Office and the Office of Communications. It also houses the Alumni CouncilRoom, the Wilkin Parlor and the Martin Guest Rooms.

Originally part of the McLean-McEachern residence complex, it was completely reconstructed as the result of a gift from noted West Virginia philanthropist Charles O. Erickson. His generosity made the creation of alumni centers possible at colleges and universities throughout West Virginia.

The Council Room and the Wilkin Parlor are available for alumni meetings free of charge. There are seven sleeping rooms in the Alumni Center. Two rooms share a private bath. All rooms have use of the kitchen in the Center. Alumni can stay at the Center for a fee of $30 per night.

To make a reservation for overnight accommodations or meeting space, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 304.829.7411 or send an e-mail to

Center for Institutional Advancement Staff

Sven de Jong serves as Senior Vice President, with duties including directing external affairs programs of the College, including the Center for Institutional Advancement which encompasses development, alumni & parent relations, communications & marketing, government relations, church relations and Historic Bethany.

A 1995 graduate of Bethany, he returned to his alma mater in 2005 to lead the external affairs functions of the College. A native of Maryland, he earned a B.A. in International Economics and German and a minor in International Relations. While at Bethany he was recognized with The Francis O. Carfer Prize as the Outstanding Senior. He earned his M.S. in Non-profit Management from Eastern University.

Prior to working at Bethany, Sven spent more than eight years in corporate financial services and served as Director of Major and Planned Gifts for West Liberty State College. For seven years he served as the Mayor of the Town of Bethany and was a member of the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department for fifteen years. In 2012 Sven was named “40 under 40 – Generation Next in West Virginia” by the State Journal.

He is married to Elizabeth Shelly de Jong ’91.

Sven can be contacted at 304.829.7723 or at

Greg Caprara comes to Bethany with over 20 years of fundraising experience at schools throughout the country. Greg began his career coaching a Florida State University, Syracuse and Colgate where he was first exposed to advancement work. More recently Greg has served as an advancement consultant for several educational institutions and nonprofit entities including Summers Best Two Weeks camp in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Prior to his arrival, Greg was the Director of Athletic Development for California University of Pennsylvania.

Greg is no stranger to Bethany College. As the Director of Competition for West Virginia Special Olympics, Greg forged a relationship with the college to help train coaches to work with Special Olympians. He also shares relationships and acquaintances with several Bethany Alumni.

Greg is married to the former Sharon Evans, of Elkins, West Virginia. They have three children and two grandchildren. Greg and Sharon make their home in O’Hara Township, Pennsylvania.

Greg can be contacted at 304.829.7284 or at

Laura Rauch comes to Bethany with a great deal of experience in nonprofit organizations. A native of Weirton, West Virginia, Rauch completed her post-secondary education in Nonprofit Management at State University of New York. Her career began in Pittsburgh as a Customer Sales Representative at a large IT firm, moving up the corporate ladder as a Service Delivery Manager. Laura began her nonprofit career at a parochial school and then consulted nonprofit services for medical, small business and athletic organizations.

Laura is married to Chris, and they have three sons; Cameron, Brayden and Peyton. Laura and Chris make their home in Wintersville, Ohio.

When Laura is not out forming relationships with Bethany’s notable alumni and friends, she can be found cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Laura can be contacted at 304.829.7288 or at

On March 1, 2016, W. Darwin Collins retired after 44 years of salaried ministry. He accepted to serve in retirement as a consultant for planned giving with the Christian Church Foundation and as the Director of Planned Giving for Bethany College.

Prior to his retirement Darwin served as Vice President of the Christian Church Foundation for eight years. Rev. Collins came to the Foundation position after 14 years as the Regional Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Pennsylvania.

Darwin received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1972. In 1974, he attained a Master of Arts degree from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and in 1976, from the same institution, Darwin received a Master of Divinity Degree. He attained a Doctor of Ministry degree at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in 2003. He was honored by Bethany College in 2002 with an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree.

Darwin was ordained into the ministry on March 21, 1976, at Central Christian Church in Uniontown. He served that congregation for 22 years as a student minister, associate minister and for 16 years as Senior Minister. His years in Uniontown were marked by active service on the YMCA Board for 12 years, Fayette County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Board and as a volunteer radio host of a talk show for 18 years.

From 1977 until 1992, he was a member of the Uniontown YMCA Board of Directors. He served as president of that board from 1986 until 1992. During that time he was chairman of the New Building Committee of the First Phase of the new Uniontown Area YMCA. This committee completed a $2.5 million construction project. During those years he directed two capital projects in the community of the first phase of a new Y for $2.5 million and a housing project for seniors valued at $1.8 million.

Additionally, Darwin has served on numerous boards and committees within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), including its General Board for nearly twenty years. He was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees for Bethany College in 2004.

Darwin is married to Rachel (Gerke) (Class of 75) and has two daughters, Dr. Elizabeth Rachel, 32, and Anna Lauren (Collins) Danley, 28.

Darwin can be reached at 304.829.7723 or

Long-time College employee Shirley Kemp has been associated with Bethany for 45 years. Shirley’s smile, wit and calm are instrumental to the success of the advancement office. Prior to coming to institutional advancement, she served the admission office for ten years. She is the “keeper” of the records, responsible for gift entry and reporting as well as monitoring data input and pulling the many lists for the Bethany community.

Outside of the office, Shirley enjoys working with the Special Olympics, loves to golf and is active in the Castleman’s Run United Methodist Church. She is also an active volunteer for Our English Setter Rescue and has two loyal English Setters, Charlie and Mia.

Shirley can be reached at 304.829.7485 or

Bob Oltmanns is Director of Communications and Integrated Marketing and brings more than 35 years of professional public relations experience to the college. He is a veteran of the public relations profession and has spent most of his career as a counselor and communications advisor to major corporations and nonprofit institutions.

Bob began his career as a public information officer with the U.S. Department of Energy’s fossil energy research program in 1981. He later transitioned into public relations consulting where he was the owner and president of one of Pennsylvania’s leading independent public relations firms. Most recently, he has been the president of OPR Group LLC, a public relations consultancy in Pittsburgh.

Throughout his career, Bob has developed and implemented award-winning communications programs for clients in the fields of education, law, technology, manufacturing, energy and healthcare, economic development, and others.

Bob holds degrees from Montclair State College in New Jersey and the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Engineering. He is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, its College of Fellows, the PRSA Counselor’s Academy, and is a member of the PRSA/Pittsburgh Hall of Fame. He served as president of PRSA’s Pittsburgh chapter as well as president worldwide of IPREX, an international partnership of the world’s leading independent public relations firms.

Bob has also been an adjunct professor of public relations at both Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he has taught for more than 20 years both at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Additionally, he has served on the board of directors of a number of nonprofit and economic development organizations in Pittsburgh. He is a master rower and is currently the chairman of Three Rivers Rowing Association in Pittsburgh.

Bob and his wife, June, live in Chester, West Virginia.

He can be reached at 304.829.7221 or

Hannah McNerney accepted the position of Director of Alumni Relations, one year after graduating with Cum Laude honors from Bethany College. In her year away from Bethany, she traveled the globe working on political campaigns. Hannah spent time in New York, Paris, France and her hometown of San Diego, California. While attending Bethany, she was a very active student on campus. She was a member of the Phi Mu Fraternity, served on the Student Activities Council and joined the executive board of the Panhellenic Council. Hannah received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Bethany in 2016, and says that her fondest memories are all attributed to the college. Hannah is passionate about the Bethany College Community, and is excited to reach out and meet alumni.

Hannah is passionate about cats and is also an avid sports fan. You can catch her cheering on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates!

Hannah can be reached at 304.829.7299 or

Ginni Walden, a life-long resident of the area, is pleased to return to the Center for Institutional Advancement. She previously held positions in the Enrollment Office, the President’s Office and the Development Office. She looks forward to helping the Institutional Advancement Staff reach goals necessary to advance the mission of the College and is eager to renew contact with alumni and friends.

Ginni has three sons and seven grandchildren, enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with the family. She is an active member of the Castleman Run United Methodist Church.

Ginni can be reached at 304.829.7723 or

Emily Cowen is a media specialist, having come to Bethany from the Morgantown Dominion Post, where she was a multimedia journalist for two years. Originally from Perryopolis, Pennsylvania, Emily is a graduate with honors of Malone University in Canton, Ohio, where she majored in public relations. She was the video editor for the student newspaper and was a public relations intern for the Stark County Hunger Task Force and Peanut Free Zone.

Emily has a love of small towns and spends her free time reading outside and furthering her skills in photography and videography.

Emily can be reached at 304.829.7630 or