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Provisional presidential candidate campus visit Sept. 24-25 starts with students

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College students will be the first members of the campus community to meet with Jon Gering Sept. 24-25 when he makes his first visit since being named provisional candidate for president Aug. 24.

“The collective thoughts of students offer a glimpse into humanity’s future,” Gering said, “and I am looking forward to seeing what Bethel students have planned for us in the upcoming years.

“The campus visit will also be my first opportunity to listen to the stories of individual students. I am excited to learn about their unique experiences at Bethel.”

Current students are invited to hear from Gering and participate in a question-and-answer session beginning at 1:40 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 24, before mingling with him and his wife Deborah during the reception following at 2:15 p.m., in the atrium of the James A. Will Family Academic Center (WAC).

Not only students, but also alumni and supporters, church and community members, and campus administrators and employees all will have the opportunity to talk with Gering and give feedback for review by the entire Board of Directors.

“Participants will have time to engage in dialogue with Jon in order for both parties to gain greater insight into each other’s viewpoints regarding the future of Bethel College,” said Brett Birky, board chair.

“As part of the selection process, the campus visit is crucial not only for constituents to be able to interact with Jon but also for them to provide feedback to the board.”

The extended Bethel family – which includes Board Association members, alumni, supporters, and church and community leaders – is invited to meet Jon and Deborah Gering during a come-and-go reception 4:30-6 p.m., Sept. 24, in the WAC atrium.

Following the reception, the Gerings will join local board members for dinner and then have a tour of Goerz House, traditionally the president’s residence.

Monday, Sept. 25, Gering will first meet with the Administrative Cabinet, followed by time with Staff Welfare Committee members and key personnel responsible for the student experience. At 11 a.m., he will be introduced and give greetings to the student body in convocation.

After a campus tour, he has a lunch meeting with representatives from the Student Government Association.

Monday afternoon, Gering will meet with the Faculty Executive Committee and other selected faculty members before heading across campus to meet with athletic coaches.

His visit concludes with a faculty and staff reception, where he will speak briefly and then engage employees in a question-and-answer session.

This closing session, when Deborah will also be introduced to campus employees, begins at 3:30 p.m. in the WAC atrium.

“During my visit to campus, I want to listen to constituents and learn what makes Bethel important and meaningful to the people who work there. I want to understand their dreams and aspirations,” Gering said.

Following Gering’s visit, participating stakeholders will be able to electronically respond to three open-ended questions, with those responses collected by the president’s office.

This information will influence the entire Bethel Board as they deliberate during fall meetings ?Oct. 12-13 on whether to move Gering from provisional candidate to appointment as the 15th president of Bethel College.

“It’s incumbent upon the board to solicit feedback from as many people as possible in order to make a decision well-informed by the voices of the campus constituency,” Birky said.

“The board wants to hear affirmations and any potential concerns as we move forward with deliberations during our upcoming fall board meeting.”

Sunday, Sept. 24

1:40–3 p.m. Student Q&A session, WAC 203

reception at 2:15 p.m., WAC atrium

4:30–6 p.m. Bethel constituency come-and-go reception, WAC atrium

Board Association, alumni, supporters, and church and community leaders are all welcome to attend.

Monday, Sept. 25

3:30–5 p.m. Faculty and staff reception, WAC atrium

includes Q&A session

Bethel College ranks at No. 1 in College Consensus’ ranking of Kansas colleges and universities, and is the only Kansas private college listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, for 2017-18. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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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.