BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College kept its Homecoming traditions alive during the COVID-19 pandemic by crowning its royalty, announcing the latest inductees to the Bethany Athletic Hall of Fame, and hosting a series of virtual events celebrating what it means to be a Bethanian.

Queen Taylor Naples, of Salem, Ohio, and King Braylon Sibley, of McKinney, Texas, were chosen by a student vote and announced before a football scrimmage game at Bison Stadium.

The members of the Homecoming court are Olivia Archer, of Wheeling, W.Va.; Jessie Braddock, of Brownsville, Pa.; Sydney Freeman, of St. Clairsville, Ohio; Zoe Woods, of Washington, Pa.; Kyle Goodwin, of Parkersburg, W.Va.; Jose Iraheta, of Fredericksburg, Va.; Bryce Rohrbaugh, of Rittman, Ohio; and Ethan Young, of Pittsburgh.

Click here for photos of the celebration.

While the Presidents’ Athletic Conference canceled Fall 2020 sports competition, Bison athletics offered a preview of the upcoming spring season with live-streamed intrasquad scrimmages in football, volleyball, baseball, and men’s and women’s lacrosse.

Athletic Director Steve Thompson also unveiled the 42nd class of the Bethany Athletics Hall of Fame.
The inductees are Chuck Carpeta ’72, of North Myrtle Beach, S.C., football and baseball; Duane Cymmerman ’02, of Latrobe, Pa., football; Scott DeUnger ’02, Charleroi, Pa., baseball; John Masquelier ’69, of Mansfield, Ohio, cross-country and track and field; Larry Yanda ’66, of Steubenville, football; and the 2002 softball team that advanced to the NCAA Division III Softball World Series.

The official induction ceremony is tentatively planned for March. Details will be released as they are finalized.

In accordance with Bethany College’s COVID-19 health and safety protocol, spectators from off campus were not permitted at the scrimmages.

Director of Alumni Engagement Rhone Thrash has said Bethany embraced the digital Homecoming format this year as a way to reach alumni from around the word who might not have been able to return to campus for a traditional experience. Some alumni also have requested that the college add a virtual component to future Homecoming celebrations.

Starting Thursday, Bethany invited students, alumni, and friends of the college to take part in more than a dozen activities that used live and recorded video.

Bethany President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg addressed Friday virtual reunion gatherings of the classes of 1970 and 1980 and thanked them for their respective fund-raising gifts to the college. On Saturday, each class also took part in a virtual happy hour with their classmates.

The 1933 Society, made up of all Bethany alumni who passed their comprehensive exams with distinction, welcomed Debra Hull, director of the Honors Program and visiting professor of psychology, for an update on the program. Freshman Hailee Vizyak, of Wellsburg, W.Va., sophomore Ian Nelson, of Monongahela, Pa., and senior Elizabeth Lineberry, of York, Pa., also shared their experiences.

The Student Activities Council on Saturday hosted food trucks on campus for the students.

Gary Kappel ’74, professor emeritus of history, offered video tours of the Campbell Mansion, the Old Main Clock Tower, and the Bethany campus.

A wine tasting and art show, popular Homecoming staples, also transitioned into a digital format. Michel Mincin, of Allora Wine Group in Pittsburgh, led the virtual wine tasting session.

Louis Armstrong jazz award-winning musician Eli Lambie also presented a Live from Home Concert Saturday night via Facebook.

Events continued Sunday with Holly Hillgardner, associate professor of religious students and Gresham Chair of Humanities, presenting morning yoga and meditation via Zoom, followed by a livestream of Bethany Memorial Church’s worship service.


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.