Middleton to speak at commencement May 12

Headshot of Stacy Middleton, with the Ad Building and banner in the background

The Bethel College graduating class of 2024 has chosen Stacy Middleton, athletic operations director, as their commencement speaker.

Ninety-nine seniors are scheduled to take part in the 131st commencement on Sunday, May 12, at 4 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

The Baccalaureate worship service, May 12 at 10 a.m., will also take place in Memorial Hall.

Both events will be available to view via livestream on the Bethel College YouTube channel.

Middleton has titled her address “Make today THE day.”

Middleton is in her third year as Bethel’s athletic operation administrator, while serving as the Senior Women Leader.

She is also in her 13th season on the softball coaching staff. Middleton started the women’s softball program in 2011 and coaches with her husband, David Middleton.

Middleton, a graduate of Haven (Kan.) High School, was offered a scholarship from George Rogers III to join the Bethel College track program in 1991. As a Bethel student, Middleton also participated in both volleyball and track and field for four years, and played two years of basketball.

She was a two-year letter winner in volleyball as a defensive specialist and a four-year letter winner in track. She was a member of two KCAC volleyball championship teams as a sophomore and a senior.

On the track and field team, Middleton was a standout javelin thrower and finished her career as a two-time NAIA All-American. She owns the women’s javelin record for the KCAC championship meet, and the Bethel College program record.

In 2018, Middleton was inducted into the Bethel College Hall of Fame class for her athletic achievements as a student-athlete.

Middleton received a bachelor’s degree from Bethel College in 1995 in Health and Physical Education/Elementary Education, with a minor in Coaching.

The 2024 Baccalaureate theme is “Fight the Good Fight.”  

The service begins with prelude music by graduating seniors Phillip Balzer, Freeman, S.D., piano, Hayden Honomichl, Great Bend, Kan., voice, and Angelika Donaldson, Highland, Ill., voice, along with selections by Woven Road (a combination of the two small a cappella ensembles Woven and Open Road).

Special music during the rest of the service will be by the Bethel College Concert Choir.

Graduating seniors Aaliyah Hunt, La Grange, Texas, Joshua Kennell, Newton, Kayden Christiansen, Lakin, Kan., Jesse McMichael, Highland, Calif., and Ernest Ferrier, Humble, Texas, will offer reflections.

The commencement program will begin and end with music by the Thresher Brass Quintet, an alumni group.

President Jon C. Gering, Ph.D., will introduce the ceremony and later confer the degrees after the graduates are presented by Robert Milliman, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty.

Milliman will also give the Ralph P. Schrag Distinguished Teaching Award to a faculty member.

Two graduating seniors will also participate in commencement by offering prayers at the beginning and end of the ceremony – student chaplains Denzel Dixon, Newark, Del., and Tucker Smith, Muscotah, Kan.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel ranks at #23 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of “Best Regional Colleges Midwest” for 2023-24. Bethel was the first Kansas college or university to be named a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center, in 2021. For more information, see http://www.bethelks.edu