Alumni | Give to BC | Athletics | Fine Arts | Thresher Connect | Search


President White accepts foundation CEO position

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College President Perry D. White has informed the Board of Directors that he will become the next chief executive officer of Harmony Foundation International, based in Nashville, Tennessee.

His new role begins April 3.

“We congratulate Perry and wish him the best in his new position,” said Brett Birky, Denver, board chair.

Originally dedicated to supporting the Barbershop Harmony Society, Harmony Foundation International has expanded its reach to include funding music education for high school and college students.

“I never intended to end my working career as a college president and always thought I would return to music in some way,” White said.

“I never expected such an opportunity to come so soon, a position that allows me to draw on my passion for choral music/education as well as my experience in fundraising and organizational leadership. Dalene and I are extremely excited about this opportunity to begin a great new adventure in a tremendous city.”

According to Birky, identification of potential interim leaders for Bethel began earlier in the academic year due to the transition expected at the end of it.

“Based on ongoing discussions, we anticipate being able to announce a plan for an interim president in the coming weeks,” he said.

The work of the board and the Presidential Search Committee to identify the 15th president of Bethel College remains on schedule, with on-campus listening sessions concluding Jan. 9.

“These sessions serve to solidify the desired presidential profile and prioritization of necessary skills and attributes,” said committee chair Dan Flickinger, San Francisco. “The Search Committee remains committed to identifying a viable candidate for the presidency before the conclusion of the school year.”

Suggestions for the search committee or requests for additional conversation with a member of the committee can be e-mailed to

Search Committee members, in addition to Flickinger and Birky (ex officio), are Kate Brubacher, Kansas City (board); Gregg Dick, North Newton (Bethel staff); Jim Ensz, Beatrice, Nebraska (board); Roberta Franz Hodgson, Spokane, Washington (board); Dwight Krehbiel, North Newton (Bethel faculty); Heidi Regier Kreider, North Newton (church); Doug Maury, Hesston (Bethel faculty); George Rogers III, Newton (board); and Heather Esau Zerger, Newton (immediate past board chair, ex officio).

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016'17. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

Bethel College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, gender identity, gender expression, medical or genetic information, ethnic or national origins, citizenship status, veteran or military status or disability. E-mail questions to

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.