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After input from stakeholder groups, Bethel launches new tagline

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College, with help from a local marketing agency, has developed a new tagline for admissions and other college promotional materials.

The new line is “Seek. Serve. Grow.” It was unveiled March 8 with an official announcement and campus-wide celebration.

“During late fall, we contracted with Armstrong/Shank [of Haysville], an agency that has worked with small, private colleges across the Midwest and with the Kansas Independent Colleges Association, to conduct a communications audit,” said Lori Livengood, Bethel vice president for marketing and communications.

Using the audit and existing research, including information gathered by the Committee on the Future of the College and “What is a Thresher?” questionnaires, Armstrong/Shank consultants presented “several benefits-oriented positioning lines” to several focus groups Feb. 15.

The three focus groups were composed of prospective students, current students and faculty/staff. The result of the meetings, Livengood said, “was a greater understanding of overarching themes, types of photographs that effectively reinforce those themes, and a preferred positioning statement. Armstrong/Shank noted they were surprised when prospective and current student opinions were in nearly unanimous agreement with faculty and staff.”

Participants agreed the following words and thoughts represent Bethel College: community and service; faith; personal growth; athletics; ability to participate in many things; schedule flexibility; one-on-one relationships with faculty; and academic excellence.

“Many of these are already incorporated into Bethel’s four core strengths – academic excellence, caring community, faith-based values and opportunity to participate,” Livengood noted. “However, this list helped to explicitly define what about those current themes are important.”

The focus groups were shown a variety of photos illustrating different aspects of college life and asked to choose which best represented Bethel College. Generally, the most popular photos were those of students in groups, whether for fun or study, and those depicting community and treasured traditions, Livengood said.

The Armstrong/Shank consultants then presented seven possible positioning statements to the focus groups, who all agreed on “Seek. Serve. Grow.”

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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