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Bethel introduces new scholarship to honor its 125th anniversary

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – As Bethel College looks toward the celebration of its 125th anniversary in three years, the institution has identified a way to honor the community that helped give it birth in 1887.

“The vision and entrepreneurship of three Newton businessmen – J. J. Krehbiel, Bernard Warkentin and David Goerz – were pivotal in founding Bethel College, and Newton community and business leaders have consistently provided support and leadership to the college,” said John Sheriff, executive vice president for institutional advancement, who first proposed the idea of a 125th anniversary scholarship. “Therefore, as Bethel celebrates its 125-year history, the college’s tangible expression of appreciation and gratitude for this partnership is to open doors of educational opportunity to Newton community residents.”

The special 125th Anniversary Scholarship will guarantee $40,000 over four years to any student who is a Newton or North Newton resident and/or attends a Newton or North Newton high school, who commits to attend Bethel College beginning now and running through 2012, to coincide with 125-year celebrations.

The 1880s were a boom time in Kansas. Communities across the state vied with each other to establish institutions, including colleges, and Newton was no exception. The Newton College Association organized in 1887 with the goal of setting up “a nonsectarian but religious college.”

The desire of local Mennonites to provide a Christian-based higher education for their young people quickly coincided with the aims of the wider community. Mennonite and Newton leaders came together May 11, 1887, to charter Bethel College.

In recognition of its being “Newton’s college,” Bethel will offer the limited-time scholarship to students who meet Bethel’s admissions requirements of a minimum GPA of 2.5 for first-time freshmen (2.0 for transfers) and ACT score of 19 or SAT score of 890. There is no on-campus residency requirement for students who live at home, and federal and state funds can be stacked on top of this scholarship for those who qualify.

Some things that were part of Bethel’s early history are still part of its legacy – such as forensics and debate teams that consistently bring home “the gold”; emphasis on fine choral and instrumental music; a broadly held reputation for high-quality programs in mathematics and natural sciences (as well as, nowadays, nursing, teacher education and social work); and commitment to being a place where questions can be and are asked and discussed openly and civilly.

“Newton has the ‘first class college’ that the School Committee dreamed of in 1887,” said Bethel President Barry C. Bartel, “and we want to demonstrate our appreciation to students of the community as we move toward our 125-year anniversary.”

For more information, visit www.bethelks.edu/financial_aid and go to the “Grants and Awards” section of either “First-Time Freshman” or “Transfer Students,” as appropriate, or call Tony Graber in the Office of Financial Aid, 316-284-5232.

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 was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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