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Sarah Unruh ’12

Bethel named Champions of Character Five-Star Institution for 4th year

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College has been named a Champions of Character Five-Star Institution for the 2012-13 school year, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced Nov. 19.

This is the fourth consecutive year Bethel received the honor, along with 216 other colleges and universities.

All 23 NAIA member athletic conferences, including the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC), of which Bethel is a member, made the Five-Star list as well.

The KCAC was one of eight NAIA member conferences to have 100 percent of its schools named Champions of Character Five-Star Institutions.

The NAIA uses a Champions of Character Scorecard to measure each institution’s commitment to the Champions of Character program. Institutions earn points in five key areas: character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition and character promotion.

The schools’ points earnings are based on exceptional student-athlete grade point averages and by having zero ejections during competition throughout the course of the academic year. Conferences receive a Five-Star rating if 60 percent of their membership meets the criteria.

Schools that reach a 60 or higher point total are recognized on the NAIA Champions of Character website and receive a special web banner and certificate noting the honor. The institution’s president and athletic director will be recognized at the 73rd annual NAIA convention next spring.

The NAIA’s model of intercollegiate athletics simultaneously promotes competitive athletics, academic excellence and character values, a process based on the NAIA’s flagship program Champions of Character. The initiative, launched in 2000 in response to the growing problem of deteriorating standards of integrity in sports and society, emphasizes the five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

“The Champions of Character program continues to grow and impact people throughout our nation as a result of the passion and commitment of NAIA member institutions,” said Kristin Gillette, NAIA Champions of Character director.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2013-14 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2013-14. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA.

In sports, Bethel competes within the 10-school KCAC and the NAIA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu and www.bethelthreshers.com.