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Sprunger to present Bethel College Commencement address

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - Keith Sprunger will speak at Bethel College's 110th commencement, set for 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 25 in Memorial Hall on campus. Sprunger, who is Bethel College's Oswald H. Wedel Professor of History Emeritus, has titled his commencement address "Famous Last Words."

[ Update: Notes from his commencement address are now available as a printable document. ]

A baccalaureate service will be held at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 25 in Bethel College Mennonite Church on campus.

A native of Berne, Ind., Sprunger earned a bachelor's degree from Wheaton (Ill.) College and completed master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Illinois. In 1963, he began a 38-year teaching career at Bethel College where he earned the title of professor of history. He retired two years ago.

In 1972 the Danforth Foundation awarded Sprunger the E. Harris Harbison Award for Gifted Teaching. Bethel College honored Sprunger with the Ralph T. Schrag Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985 and the David H. Richert Distinguished Scholar Award in 1991.

Interested and active in many aspects of history, Sprunger has authored several books, including "The Learned Doctor William Ames: Dutch Backgrounds of English and American Puritanism" as well as other books, articles, reviews and professional papers about English, Dutch and church history. Sprunger is currently working on two projects related to the history of printing and the history of Mennonite church architecture.

He was curator for a special traveling Kauffman Museum exhibit, "Menno Simons: Image, Art and Identity." On the local level, he chairs the Newton/North Newton Historic Preservation Commission.

Sprunger and his wife Aldine live in North Newton. They have three children, who all graduated from Bethel College and are college professors in other states.

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