BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg used her annual State of the College address to thank faculty and staff for their dedication and flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic and to express optimism for Bethany’s future.

“All our employees – faculty and staff stepped up in order to ensure that Bethany College responded appropriately and timely to all that the COVID-19 environment has required of us to date,” Rodenberg said. “Many of our team worked from home with unseen countless hours, over and above those they might have worked from campus. Similarly, those who worked on campus, due to the essential nature of their work, sacrificed a great deal to make sure they were physically present to keep operations effectively and admirably functioning.”

Bethany, like many colleges across the United States, shifted to remote instruction in March. Students are expected to return to campus for the fall semester, which begins Aug. 17.

While the global pandemic has presented challenges for the college, Rodenberg said there is plenty to celebrate, starting with a “strong and qualified” incoming freshman class.

The number of new Bethany students is trending 10 percent higher than last year and 25 percent increase over 2018. (Numbers will not be finalized until after classes begin.)

In the last year, nearly 1,500 alumni, parents, and friends from 44 states stepped up to donate more than $4.8 million to Bethany College. Alumni of campus Greek organizations contributed $1.3 million of that total.

That combined generosity resulted in more than 90 percent of students receiving financial aid from Bethany, Rodenberg said.

This summer, the college also committed to diversity with the formation of the Presidential Task Force on Multicultural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as the President’s Task Force on the Black Experience on campus.

Rodenberg also announced that Sam Goodge was promoted to assistant dean of Student Life and Stephanie Beall to senior enrollment counselor.

Lisa Reilly, associate professor of chemistry and chair of physical and computational sciences, recently took on the role of interim associate provost.

Bethany also welcomed Don Waugaman ’70, Dave Sims ’75, and Dean Haubrich ’64 to its Board of Trustees. In addition, the trustees reinstated the Church Relations Committee, the Building and Grounds Committee and expanded the work of the Enrollment and Marketing Committee.

“Given the tremendous challenges 2020 has presented Bethany College and the world in which we serve, I am pleased to share that Bethany College has pulled together and continues to demonstrate that we are, in fact, #ONEBethany,” Rodenberg 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.