BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College honored three distinguished alumni and an outstanding professor at a dinner ceremony at Commencement Hall as part of its Homecoming festivities.

Alumni Council President Kristi Buren introduced the recipients and presented each with a framed print of Old Main. The recipients were chosen by a vote of the alumni association.

Dr. Harald Menz was recognized with the James E. Allison Award for Teaching Excellence. Menz is co-chair of the Department of Humanities, co-director of Interdisciplinary Studies, director of International Studies, and a German professor.

“It’s extremely humbling for me to receive this award named after James Allison because he was one of the great teachers at Bethany,” Menz said. Allison ’62 was a longtime math professor at the college.

Buren read excerpts from the nomination letters the council received on Menz’s behalf, and each detailed the ways that he routinely goes and above and beyond to help his students. One suggested that he has visited the Pittsburgh International Airport more than any other person in the Ohio Valley for his role in transporting international students to and from the facility.

Menz joined Bethany in 1994 as an assistant professor of German. Over his Bethany career, he has taught German language, literature, and civilization of all levels; foreign language teaching methods; first-year seminars; English as a Second Language; and elementary Spanish.

Dr. Menz coordinates study abroad for outgoing and incoming students, develops faculty exchanges, and advises the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program and Heidelberg Exchange students.

The James Allison Award for Teaching Excellence had not been awarded by the Alumni Council since 2007, and Buren emphasized that decision was not because of a lack of nominees.

Lynn Menzel Inlow ’70, co-founder of the Lion of Judah Academy in Tanzania, received the council’s Community Service Award.

In 2001, Inlow, and her husband, Hart, partnered with friends in the African nation of Tanzania to form the Lion of Judah Academy in rural Bulima with a goal of providing a high-quality education to the poorest of the poor.

The academy started with 10 students and a part-time teacher in a borrowed classroom and has since grown to almost 850 students in 14 grade levels.

“There are so many people who put their hearts into this school, so I’d like to thank you on their behalf as well,” Inlow, of Hobe Sound, Fla., said.

Kurt G. Franck ’78, of Perrysburg, Ohio, received the Alumni Achievement Award, which honors contributions to one’s profession or field.

Franck is the president, general manager, and executive editor of The Blade in Toledo, Ohio. He also is vice president of operations for Block Communications Inc., a role in which he oversees the business side of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

He joined The Blade as managing editor in 2000 and helped direct the newspaper’s award-winning “Coingate” coverage and its 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning Tiger Force series, which detailed the atrocities committed by the elite U.S. Army platoon during the Vietnam War.

“I’m confident that I wouldn’t have progressed in my career if it weren’t for Bethany,” Franck said. “I can’t stress enough that Bethany taught me critical thinking, which is so important today.”

Paul Chewning ’75 received the Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award, the college’s highest honor for alumni involvement, volunteer service, and support of Bethany.

Chewning is a senior associate at Trek Advancement of Lexington, Ky., and a former CEO of the Appalachian College Association and president of the West Virginia Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc.

He is a former director of alumni relations and men’s lacrosse coach for Bethany. He has volunteered with Bethany’s Career Resource Network and is a loyal donor.

Chewning and his wife, Liz ’79, are among the major donors for the class of 1979 fund-raising campaign that, in part, funded renovations to the Robert A. Sandercox classroom in Old Main.

As he accepted his award, Chewning credited Sandercox for putting him on the path for personal and professional success.

Chewning noted that his son, Alan, was named after Sandercox.

“Bethany College is family to our family,” Paul Chewning said.

Buren also noted that the Distinguished Service Award had not been given in several years.

In addition to the awards ceremony, the dinner celebrated the classes of 1969 and 1979, which are on campus for their 50th and 40th reunions.


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.