BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College community gathered together Aug. 19 in Wailes Theatre to hear the annual State of the College address presented by The Rev. Dr. Tamara Rodenberg, president of the College. The event offered an opportunity for the newest members of the faculty and staff to be introduced, and for the campus to reflect on last year’s accomplishments and look ahead with confidence to the upcoming academic year, which officially begins Aug. 22.

“Since our founding in 1840, we have thrived, in large part, because of our ability to adapt, innovate, and provide a compelling, contemporary academic experience for our students,” Rodenberg said. “This year was no exception.”

Rodenberg then shared key highlights from the year, beginning with the Higher Learning Commission recently reaffirming Bethany’s accreditation for the next 10 years.

“Earning decennial reaccreditation is a tremendous accomplishment as it signifies that the Commission has confidence in our vision, teaching, academic program, and future planning as expressed in our strategic plan, Bethany Connect,” Rodenberg said.

The 2018-19 year also saw the College continuing to modernize and transform the educational experience it provides through new programs and partnerships. Among those cited were Bethany’s ongoing collaboration with Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden and the new 3+3 Legal Education Advancement Program (LEAP) partnership with Ohio Northern University. Both follow earlier news regarding the creation of new academic offerings in cybersecurity, international business, and physical education, specifically with a sports medicine track, and the establishment of a new Honors Program designed to reward academic achievement, raise the academic discourse among the Bethany student body, and encourage a holistic approach to creative thinking and intellectual independence.

Additionally in her remarks, Rodenberg shared that 95% of the College’s 2018 graduates secured employment or graduate school acceptance within nine months, alumni giving increased this past year, and in four days, Bethany will welcome its largest incoming class in several years.

“We have engaging, talented, inspiring students at Bethany already, and more will be joining us,” Rodenberg said, reminding those in attendance that each member of Bethany community plays a role in recruitment and retention.

“When we accept students, we are saying we believe they can be successful at Bethany, that we believe in them, and that we are confident they can thrive here,” she said. “We also know that as a small liberal arts college, our job – our calling if you will – is to walk with our students regardless of what title comes after our names.”

As part of the gathering, Rodenberg also took time to have the newest members of the Bethany community introduced, asking each of her Cabinet members to do the honors for their respective areas. A total of 28 new faculty and staff will be on campus when the new academic year begins, Aug. 22.

Rodenberg concluded her address with words of encouragement for the year ahead, noting that the campus has and will continue to embrace its mantra of “One Bethany.”

“Real challenges are facing many colleges today, especially in the liberal arts,” she said. “However, rather than avoiding them, we are embracing them head-on and with heart, together, as One Bethany. And together, we will continue to build a Bethany that honors the traditions of the past and advances a learning environment that will serve generations of students from our region and beyond for another 179 years.”


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.