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Social scientist Vesey to give Bethel College’s commencement address

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College will honor 102 graduating seniors as well as returning alumni during annual end-of-the-year festivities, May 19-21.

Bethel’s 113th commencement will take place Sunday, May 21, at 2:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall. Dr. Galyn Vesey, Wichita, special consultant to the president, will speak.

Vesey is a graduate of Wichita State University with a bachelor of arts in psychology, the University of Oklahoma with a master of social work and Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs with a Ph.D. in social sciences. He has taught at Syracuse and at Utica (N.Y.) College and retired in 2004 from teaching at Alabama A&M University, Huntsville.

Bethel interim president John Sheriff said that in his role of consultant, “Dr. Vesey is conducting a policy and program analysis aimed at improving the educational experiences of all students enrolled at Bethel College.” Vesey has formed and is working with an advisory committee of Bethel faculty, staff, current students and alumni, with a mission, he said, of “conceptualizing and developing a framework for capitalizing on both college and community resources, in ways that will enrich the educational, cultural and social experiences of students, faculty, staff and community volunteers.”

Vesey has titled his commencement address “At the crossroads of life: Understanding the past and using the present in preparing for an uncertain future.”

The commencement program will also include instrumental music by the Bethel College Wind Ensemble under the direction of assistant professor of music Richard Tirk, and vocal selections from the Bethel College Concert Choir, conducted by junior Aaron Linscheid and by Jonah Kliewer. Rev. Jerry Kaiser, pastor of Inman Mennonite Church and father of graduate Matt Kaiser, will give the invocation and June Krehbiel, Moundridge, mother of graduate Joel Krehbiel, will offer the benediction. Brad Born, interim academic dean, will present the Ralph P. Schrag Distinguished Teaching Award and the Julius A. and Agatha Dyck Franz Community Service Award to two faculty members.

The baccalaureate service, with the theme “Many gifts, the same spirit,” also takes place on Sunday at Bethel College Mennonite Church, beginning at 9:30 with a half-hour of prelude music by musicians from the senior class. Senior Chelsea Vaught will direct a choir made up of seniors. Seniors Dawn Benson, Newton, Joel Hesed, Pawnee Rock, and Joel Krehbiel, Moundridge, will offer reflections, and there will be a candlelighting and commissioning for seniors at the end of the service.

Alumni and Commencement Weekend events that are open to the public are the nurses’ pinning ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday in Krehbiel Auditorium and the senior art exhibit Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center gallery, including the reception from 3-5 p.m. Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center will have special hours Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Kauffman Museum will still be hosting the special exhibit “Homage to the Flint Hills,” work by Kansas artists that was inspired by the last stand of tallgrass prairie in North America, from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Bethel College classes of ’31, ’36, ’41, ’46, ’51, ’56, ’61, ’66 and ’71 will hold reunions May 19-20. The first event is a Friday evening dinner in the Schultz Student Center cafeteria, followed by an optional walking tour that will include seeing the new simulators in the nursing department and renovated areas of Goering Hall, and concluding with an ice cream social in the cafeteria.

On Saturday, retired faculty and staff will join reunion class members at a breakfast buffet. Classes observing reunions of 50 years or more will be guests of interim Bethel College president John K. Sheriff and his wife, Elsie, for coffee on Saturday morning at Goerz House. All classes will meet for reunion luncheons at various locations on campus and in the community.

The annual Alumni Banquet for graduating seniors, alumni and friends will be held Saturday evening in Memorial Hall. The Alumni Association will honor three alumni at the banquet. Joan (Banman) Wiebe and Leonard C. Wiebe, North Newton, are co-recipients of the Outstanding Alumnus Award. They are 1957 graduates of Bethel College. Richard Littlebear, Lame Deer, Mont., a 1983 graduate, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

For alumni activities, contact Dave Linscheid, director of alumni relations, (316) 284-5252,

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