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Norman Dolch ’69 Looks to Bethany’s Future

Over the years, Norman Dolch ’69 said he’s grown to appreciate his Bethany College education more than ever and he wants to make sure that current and future students have the same opportunities that he did.

Dolch arrived at Bethany with his sights set on a career as a Boy Scout executive, but his degree in sociology ultimately led to a master’s degree and Ph.D. in the discipline and a lengthy career in higher education at Louisiana State University-Shreveport and the University of North Texas.

“Bethany provided me with a very solid undergraduate education,” Dolch said. “When I got to the University of Missouri, I felt pretty confident that I got a pretty good background and it proved to be true. I did very well.”

While at Bethany, Dolch played football, pledged Delta Tau Delta, and studied abroad in Copenhagen.

Dolch credits the support of his professors, particularly Benjamin Chandler Shaw, and Perry and Aleece Gresham, for whom Dolch worked. The job afforded Dolch and his wife, Cindy, a Highland Hearth apartment, and the opportunity to meet many people.

“That was amazing experience,” she said. “My wife and I still talk about that. Dr. Gresham was the reason I went to the University of Missouri.”

Bethany remains important to the couple. In addition to Norm completing his undergraduate studies at the college, Cindy began her teaching career at Bethany School.

The Dolches, who live in Texas, incorporated Bethany into their 50th wedding anniversary. Norm renovated an Old Main classroom in honor of Cindy. His generosity has spurred others to participate in similar “adopt-a-classroom” projects.

“I always really liked Old Main,” he said. “I think it’s a precious piece of architecture. It deserved a lot more attention then, and it deserves a lot more attention now.”

Looking back, Dolch sees Bethany’s convocation speaker series as an important learning opportunity and he has made that a priority of his financial support.

“It’s really important to gain other perspectives and to have the opportunity to see people who have been successful in their own fields,” he said.

In November, Dolch returned to Bethany to attend a convocation lecture by Brock Ayers, a Delt alumnus from Westminster (Mo.) College. The retired Army Intelligence Officer who served on the National Security Council for the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations spoke on leadership qualities.

Dolch has established the Bethany Guard Fund to help the college underwrite the cost of scheduling speakers, asking other Delts to donate $25 each to keep the convocation tradition going.

“I realize it takes some time to build up some momentum and support,” he said. “I’m hoping the Delt alumni can lead the way.”

Though the college has many needs, Dolch said, “As the college is trying to improve itself, I hope that alumni who are able will step up and support that.”

By his continued support, Dolch is fulfilling a plan that dates back to his college years.

“When I was an undergraduate, they had the Bronze Bison group,” he said of Bethany College’s Donor Recognition Society for those who have provided for the college in their estate plan. “When I graduated, I made a commitment to the Bronze Bison. I always have intended to donate my professional library to Bethany College. I’m going to figure out a way to do that.”