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New scholarship already making an impact on campus

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Although it only took shape a matter of months ago, a new Bethel College scholarship is already making an impact on campus.

There are a half-dozen new students present this fall who most likely wouldn’t be there without a scholarship established last spring to recognize and thank the Newton community for almost 125 years of supporting the college.

“Three Newton businessmen – J. J. Krehbiel, Bernard Warkentin and David Goerz – were pivotal in founding Bethel College in 1887,” said Bethel’s interim president John Sheriff. “Newton community and business leaders have consistently provided support and leadership to the college.”

Sheriff originally proposed the idea of a 125th anniversary scholarship (Bethel will mark the milestone in 2012) as “a tangible expression of appreciation and gratitude for a partnership that opened doors of educational opportunity to Newton community residents.”

The 125th Anniversary Scholarship guarantees $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.

Students must meet Bethel’s admissions requirements of a minimum GPA of 2.5 for first-time freshmen and 2.0 for transfers, in addition to an ACT score of 19 or SAT score of 890. There is no on-campus residency requirement for students who live at home. Federal and state funds can be stacked on top of the scholarship for those who qualify.

One happy scholarship recipient is Alix Rodriguez, Newton. “Sometime in the summer,” she remembers, she received a flyer in the mail that told “the whole story” of the 125th Anniversary Scholarship.

“I hadn’t considered Bethel [an option] before,” she says. “The scholarship played a huge role in why I chose to come. It’s a good school, it’s close to home, and I can play soccer.”

Rodriguez was a goal-keeper for the Newton High School girls’ soccer team and now fills the same position for Bethel women’s soccer. A call from Coach Jason Moore plus the offer of a good scholarship made Bethel the place Rodriguez wanted to be, she says. She hopes to major in athletic training at Bethel and then get a graduate degree in physical therapy.

Another new student for whom the 125th Anniversary Scholarship made the difference is Levi Minkevitch, also of Newton. A high school track and field competitor, Minkevitch met Russ Graber, Bethel associate professor of health and physical education who also officiates at local high school track meets. Graber told Minkevitch about the scholarship.

“I hadn’t really considered Bethel before, but that got me to visit,” Minkevitch says. “I liked the campus and the closeness of the people there. The scholarship really helped weigh my decision.”

Minkevitch will compete in javelin for the Threshers. He plans to major in business, possibly with a minor in psychology.

Both Rodriguez and Minkevitch are 2009 Newton High School graduates. Rodriguez is the granddaughter of Mario and Rachel Rodriguez of Newton. Minkevitch is the son of Joan and Paul Minkevitch of Newton.

For more information on Bethel College’s 125th Anniversary Scholarship, visit 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. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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