Funds will be invested in the college’s infrastructure, staffing and academic programs

BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College, a Small College of National Distinction, and the oldest private college in West Virginia, today announced it has received $40 million in loan money from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The funds include $34.6 million via a USDA Community Facilities Direct Loan and a $5 million USDA Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan.

“This is an important milestone in our ongoing mission to provide Bethany students with a first-class education and prepare them for a lifetime of achievement and purpose,” said Ken Bado, Chair of the Bethany College Board of Trustees. “The funds will have a positive impact on every aspect of campus life, and help us develop and implement a new, ambitious five-year strategic plan that will transform and modernize the Bethany experience for current and future students.”

Today’s announcement completes a process that began in 2016. The USDA funds will have both short- and long-term benefits for the college. The money will generate $2 million per year in additional operating revenue for the college as well as provide a reservoir of capital that can be invested in the college’s academic programs, human capital and physical footprint moving forward.

“This is the culmination of an important, lengthy process that helps secure Bethany’s future,” said Dr. Tamara Rodenberg, president of Bethany College. “I would like to thank USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), along with U.S. Representative David McKinley (R-WV-1), who were instrumental in facilitating USDA’s investment in Bethany.”

Bethany College will host its 2021 homecoming celebration for students and alumni on October 9th, during which the college will dedicate a newly installed, state-of-the-art athletic field at Bison Stadium prior to its homecoming football game versus Thiel College.


Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit


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.