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I love the community here at Bethel. We are a 500-member support group. I am going to miss that more than anything.
Elizabeth Shelly ’12


Adopted by the Bethel College Board of Directors, March 1994

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college in south central Kansas. It is the oldest Mennonite college in North America, founded in 1887 for the advancement of postsecondary education in a Christian community. It is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is a self-governing, independent legal corporation with close ties to its constituent churches and communities.

By tradition and by choice, Bethel College continues to base its mission on its Anabaptist and academic identity. Bethel seeks to be a diverse community of learners, committed to the search for authentic faith and empirical understanding, and to provide

  • rigorous instruction in the liberal arts and selected career and professional areas
  • intellectual, cultural and spiritual leaders for the church and society

To those ends, the college maintains a residential environment designed to foster integrative learning experiences, including student organizations, campus worship services, public lectures, symposia and cultural events.

Bethel’s programs are informed by four central values:

  • an ethic of discipleship, that recognizes Jesus Christ as Messiah and model for the Christian life and prizes a high level of commitment and free conviction;
  • an ethic of scholarship, that believes academic achievement to be a logical outcome of intellectual stewardship and esteems both discipline and creativity;
  • an ethic of service, that deems concern for the powerless to be intrinsic to the Christian gospel and stresses peacemaking and voluntary service;
  • an ethic of integrity, that celebrates the fundamental connections between spirit and mind, faith and learning, individual and community and fosters personal development through participation in a range of activities.

Bethel’s curriculum is founded on a general education program in the liberal arts and sciences and is geared toward students of moderate to high academic ability. The Common Ground curriculum provides all students the shared experience of six distinctive elements:

  • the freshman seminar College Issues Colloquy
  • Convocation, an all-school weekly assembly
  • travel and study experiences in Cross-Cultural Learning
  • courses across the curriculum in Peace Justice and Conflict Studies
  • integration of faith and life, including the capstone course Basic Issues of Faith and Life
  • and a URICA (Undergraduate Research, Internships and Creative Activity) project in the senior year

The College offers majors in the traditional liberal arts disciplines and selected career areas and accredited professional programs in athletic training, nursing, social work and teacher education. Academic development services are provided to enhance the skills of all students. By design, Bethel’s student profile reflects its church affiliation. At the same time, the College values diversity in its student body and seeks to enroll a variety of individuals desiring high-quality education for the whole person.

Bethel College Vision Statement

At Bethel College, we welcome with open hearts, stimulate personal and spiritual discovery, transform through the power of community and inspire the leaders of tomorrow.