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Annual awards convocation honors some of Bethel’s best

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The annual awards convocation, held each spring at Bethel College, includes recognition of students who excel academically in various disciplines, along with faculty transitions and a “Helping Hand” award to one staff or faculty member. This year’s event took place May 11.

As he opened the convocation, vice president for academic affairs Brad Born noted that the annual gathering emphasizes “values that are central to our identity as an academic community” – service, integrity and academic excellence.

Thresher Award recipients for 2007 are, from left, Adam Gaeddert, Hutchinson, Kan., for English, Emma Lewis, Newton, Kan., for psychology, and Jeff Janzen, Fresno, Calif., for natural sciences (photo by Vada Snider/Bethel College).

“In our celebration of noteworthy individual awards, may we be mindful of the many unnamed but nevertheless worthy expressions of scholarship, service and integrity that we have witnessed in others this year,” Born added.

One highlight of the convocation is the presentation of Thresher Awards to seniors who make outstanding contributions in their academic fields. This year, three Threshers were given, one in English and two in the sciences.

The 2007 Thresher Award recipients were Adam Gaeddert, Hutchinson, for English, Jeff Janzen, Fresno, Calif., for natural sciences (with biology and chemistry as supporting departments), and Emma Lewis, Newton, for psychology.

Ami Regier, associate professor of English, recognized Gaeddert, who will graduate May 20 with a degree in English. First, however, his cousin and instructor in poetry and literary criticism, assistant professor of English Nathan Bartel, told a story from Gaeddert’s early years as a precocious pre-schooler.

“Adam has strengths in many subject matter fields,” Regier said, “and it has been an honor to have him in our departmental classes and watch him intensely engage and produce writings that were consistently on a mysteriously high level beyond our expectations in terms of depth of scholarship and analysis.”

Dwight Krehbiel, professor of psychology, presented Threshers to Janzen and Lewis. Janzen graduates May 20 with a degree in natural sciences. “Jeff was asking about research opportunities in the first week of his first semester at Bethel,” Krehbiel recalled, “and almost immediately was actively working on a project together with several other students. He has truly exemplified the curiosity and love of learning with which we wish that all our students could be blessed.”

Lewis will graduate May 20 with a degree in psychology. Krehbiel noted that throughout Lewis’ years at Bethel, she has been “intensely interested and intellectually engaged in the study of the mind and of behavior. She has pursued a variety of interests within the department, participating in various research groups studying topics from religion to psychophysiology to music.” He called Lewis’ research in psychophysiology “truly worthy of publication, a claim I don’t believe I have made for a senior thesis before.”

Another highlight of the annual awards convocation is recognition of a faculty or staff member nominated by one or more students to receive the J. O. and Esther Schrag Helping Hand Award. The Schrags, of North Newton, are both 1938 graduates of Bethel College.

The 2007 winner was Tricia Lopez, administrative assistant in the social work and teacher education departments. Vice president for student life Aaron Chappell-Deckert, in announcing Lopez’s award, said she had been nominated by a number of students, all of whom noted her unfailing care for and helpfulness to them.

Chappell-Deckert also presented the “Resident Assistant of the Year” award to Jocelyn Zauche, senior from Garden City, an RA in Voth Hall.

Allen Jantz, associate professor of education, and Judy Miller, associate professor of education, presented four scholarships to students in teacher education: the Justus and Salome Holsinger Scholarship to Yue (Moon) Yu, junior from Hesston; the Edna Ramseyer Kaufman Scholarship to Josh Chittum, junior from Demarest, Ga.; and the Dean R. and Hulda G. Stucky Scholarship to Joel Linscheid, junior from North Newton, and Jessica Voelker, sophomore from Linn.

An outstanding math student received the Gerald Schrag Award in Mathematical Sciences, given this year to Miriam Regier, junior from Newton, while Blaire Mayhue, North Newton, received the CRC Press Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award.

The Dorothy Wedel Kaufman Honor Scholarship in English, given to support and encourage the pursuit of excellence in English, went to junior Caley Ortman, Freeman, S.D., as well as junior Megan Klaassen, Whitewater, for the second year in a row. The English department also recognized the top three Critical Writing papers, written by freshmen Bradley McKellip, Newton, first place, Sharayah Williams, Kalona, Iowa, second place, and Austin McCabe-Juhnke, North Newton, third place. The 2007-08 Writing Fellowship Award for the position as writing consultant in the Center for Academic Development went to Cari Holliday, junior from Andover.

One outstanding language student from each year received a Goethe Institute German Language Award. Merle Schlabaugh, professor of German, presented the awards to Austin McCabe-Juhnke, North Newton (freshman), Kristen Schrag, Moundridge (sophomore), Miriam Regier, Newton (junior), and Djordje Maricic, Belgrade, Serbia (senior).

Ten students received the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-America Scholar-Athlete Award, given to those who have attained at least junior status and a 3.500 GPA: Dana Rathbun, Bennington (women’s basketball); Kent Peters, Goessel (men’s basketball); Braden Hiebner, Hampton, Neb. (men’s soccer); Tyler Stutzman, Hutchinson (golf); Heather Palmateer, Meriden, and Bethany Trimble, Clyde (volleyball); Jeff Buller, Inman, and Michael Unruh, Peabody (football); and Robin Montano, Newton, and Jessica Yocum, Sedgwick (women’s soccer).

A number of Bethel College athletes received Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference honors. They were: sophomores Katie Robertson, Lawrence (women’s tennis), Kristen Schrag, Moundridge (volleyball, track and field), and Kari Thimm, Beatrice, Neb. (volleyball); juniors Jeff Buller, Inman (football, track and field), Cody Cole, Cunningham (men’s basketball), Beau Cox, Weskan (football), Tyler Doerksen, Prescott Valley, Ariz. (men’s tennis), Omar Hasan, Halstead (football), Jana Jensen, Prescott Valley, Ariz. (women’s tennis), Robyn Larson, Wichita (volleyball), Robin Montano, Newton (women’s soccer), Heather Palmateer, Meriden (volleyball), Jordan Penner, Reedley, Calif. (men’s soccer), Dana Rathbun, Bennington (women’s basketball), Nathan Schmidt, Tribune (golf), and Brittany Scogin (women’s basketball); and seniors Adam Gaeddert, Hutchinson (men’s tennis), Braden Hiebner, Hampton, Neb. (men’s soccer), Kent Peters, Goessel (men’s basketball), Mark Saner, Goshen, Ind. (men’s tennis), Ricky Snyder, South Hutchinson (men’s basketball), Tyler Stutzman, Hutchinson (golf), Jacy Suttlemyre, Draper, Utah (women’s basketball), Bethany Trimble, Clyde (volleyball), Michael Unruh, Peabody (football), and Jessica Yocum, Sedgwick (women’s soccer)

Instructor of nursing Julie Wiens announced the 2006-07 senior inductees into the Sigma Theta Tau honors nursing society: Krystal Bacon, Hutchinson, Colleen Conley, South Hutchinson, Deborah Davis, Wichita, Crystal Hambley, McPherson, Isaac Hochstetler, McPherson, Amanda Hullet, Hutchinson, Jacqui-Ann Jackson, St. Catherine, Jamaica, Andrea Mendel, Enid, Okla., Jennifer Siefken, Cedar Creek, Neb., Geraldine Tyrell, Newton, Elizabeth Wahl, Blaine, Amanda Wyatt, Hillsboro, and Jocelyn Zauche, Garden City. Hochstetler, who will graduate May 20 summa cum laude, also received the Iota Chi Excellence in Nursing Award.

The recipients of the 2007 Summer Undergraduate Research, Internships and Creative Activities (URICA) grants were announced: in history, Miriam Friesen, Peter Miller, Caley Ortman and Jordan Penner; in English, Cari Holliday; and in biology, Michael Unruh.

Gary Flory, director of the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College, recognized the Bethel winners of the C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest. Students from all the Mennonite colleges in North America are eligible to compete, doing so on their own campuses with an overall winner chosen from the first-place finishers. At Bethel, Miriam Friesen, senior from Paoli, Ind., placed first, Kristen Watson-Drennen, senior from Lyons, second, and Diana Rempel, freshman from Littleton, Colo., third.

The biweekly Bethel Collegian received a silver medal from the Kansas Associated Collegiate Press in the overall Four-Year Private College Newspaper category. Additionally, the KACP gave Tyler Goertzen, senior from Hesston, a third-place award in feature writing. More than 40 Kansas college and university newspapers competed for awards this year.

Robert Weaver, senior from Wichita, received the level of “Highest Distinction” in Pi Kappa Delta, the honor society for intercollegiate forensics and debate.

The Ray and Betty Funk Prize for Entrepreneurship went to Drew Crosson, junior from Minneapolis. The J. Lloyd Spaulding Prize in Business and Economics was awarded to seniors Kent Peters, Goessel, and Kelcy Voth, Goessel.

At the close of the convocation, Bethel president Barry C. Bartel noted three faculty promotions: David Long, associate professor of art, was granted tenure, Penelope Adams Moon was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of history, and Ami Regier was promoted to professor of English. Born also gave special recognition to Judy Miller, associate professor of education, and Richard Rempel, professor of mathematics, who are retiring at the end of this school year.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at</a>.

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