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New scholarship honors Mennonite heritage

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College is honoring its Mennonite heritage with a new scholarship for graduates of Mennonite high schools.

The Mennonite Heritage Scholarship guarantees $50,000 in institutional scholarships over four years. Federal and state funds can be stacked on top of this scholarship for those who qualify. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and ACT of 19 or SAT of 890.

Three prominent Mennonites, miller Bernhard Warkentin, carriage-maker John J. Krehbiel and pastor David Goerz, are considered the founding fathers of Bethel College. They were leaders of a large Mennonite immigrant community that had come to Kansas beginning in 1873 from Russia, Switzerland, Germany and Pennsylvania. South central Kansas Mennonites spoke different German dialects, ate different foods and observed diverse patterns of worship and church polity, but shared a commitment to passing on their faith in Christ to their children – which meant establishing local rural schools and now, 13 years after their arrival, a college.

The desire of Mennonites in Harvey and neighboring counties to provide a Christian-based higher education for their young people quickly coincided with the aims of the city of Newton and the wider community in the last decades of the 19th century. Mennonite and Newton leaders came together May 11, 1887, to charter Bethel College.

"Bethel continues to offer a curriculum that arises out of a vision of a good society, a vision of the world as it should be, based on the teachings of Jesus as understood in the Anabaptist tradition,” said Bethel interim president John Sheriff. “We are celebrating our 125-year partnership with the Mennonite church by offering this scholarship to all graduates of Mennonite high schools, especially those seeking a college environment that is diverse and supportive in both curricular and student-led co-curricular activities.”

For more information, 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 or e-mail.

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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