BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College will host Wheeling City Council member Rosemary Ketchum for a Bethany Connect Speaker Series lecture at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, in Phillips Lounge in conjunction with the Social Work Department’s Deep Dive into Diversity Course.

Ketchum became West Virginia’s first openly trans elected official when voters in Wheeling’s Third Ward elected her to council on June 9, 2020. As a community organizer, she seeks to give voice to issues of poverty, civil rights, mental health and the LGBTQ+ community.

The lecture will stream live.

Earlier Wednesday, Ketchum will address the 19 students in the Social Work 240 Deep Dive into Diversity class.

The course is designed to provide students with space to explore in greater focus and depth issues concerning people who experience high levels of discrimination and oppression.

At the request of a student, Assistant Professor of Social Work Kimberly Lawless designed this semester’s course to focus on the LGBTQ+ populations with department Chair Melanee Sinclair.

“We are exploring historical events and figures often overlooked in the classroom pertaining to a population of people who have played and continue to play a vital role in all facets of our culture and community,” Lawless said. “We are examining current political issues that are of particular concern to this population, and we are celebrating and supporting members of the community who continue to thrive in and contribute to a complex social environment where celebration and support are not always a given.”

In addition to classroom work, the students are engaged in activist work by raising awareness about LGBTQ+ concerns or seeking to make changes on campus and in the community in support of the population, Lawless said.


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.