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Interfaith communicator, mediator to address 2010 graduates

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A Bethel alumna who uses her mediation and public speaking skills in the areas of interfaith communication and understanding, particularly among Christians, Jews and Muslims in the United States, will address graduating seniors, their families and friends at Bethel College’s 117th Commencement, Sunday, May 23, at which 89 diplomas will be awarded.

Aziza Farouq Hasan, Los Angeles, will speak on “Leveraging learning opportunities.”

Hasan is the southern California director of government relations for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and co-director of NewGround, a joint project of MPAC and the Progressive Jewish Alliance.

In her role with MPAC, Hasan works with elected and appointed government officials and law enforcement agencies, often responding to events of national significance, such as the shootings at Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas, in November 2009. She co-authored the 2009 paper “Abusing Women, Abusing Islam: Re-Examining Sharia Court Rulings in Contemporary Times,” the findings of which she has presented at the U.S. Department of State and various conferences, as well as to numerous elected officials and nonprofit advocacy groups. She has spoken to audiences across the country on topics such as women’s rights in Islam, forgiveness and peace in Islamic tradition and conflict resolution in Muslim communities.

As co-director of NewGround, Hasan facilitates conversations that explore issues at the personal, local, national and global levels – among them identity, gender, pluralism and Israel/Palestine – based on the premise that honest communication forges meaningful relationships and a solid base from which both Muslims and Jews can build within the community they share. NewGround was recently featured on American Public Media’s “Speaking of Faith” with Krista Tippett.

Following graduation from Bethel, Hasan spent two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Interfaith Ministries of Wichita. During that time, she authored More Alike than Different, a joint project of Wichita organizations such as the local MPAC chapter, Interfaith Ministries and the National Conference for Community Justice. The project, which was made to be duplicated, is intended to educate the community about the basic tenets of Islam and dispel misconceptions about the religion.

Hasan graduated from Halstead High School in 1999 and from Bethel College in 2003 with a degree in history and a certificate in conflict resolution. While at Bethel, she was active in student government, debate and forensics (for which she received a Thresher Award as a senior) and social justice organizations. She was Student Senate president in her junior and senior years. She was also the first of four siblings to attend Bethel – Annam (Annie) graduated in 2006 and Omar (who also served as Student Senate president) in 2009, with Laith a current student. Their father, the late Farouq Hasan, also attended Bethel.

The 2010 graduation ceremonies will begin with the baccalaureate service at 10:30 a.m. in Bethel College Mennonite Church. The formal commencement ceremony will start at 4 p.m. (Memorial Hall in case of inclement weather) with the traditional Walk around the Green. Both baccalaureate and commencement are open to the public.

Baccalaureate service prelude music, featuring members of the class of 2010, begins at 10 a.m. This year’s baccalaureate has the theme “All shall be Amen and Alleluia…” from a saying by St. Augustine, with student speakers Albino Quiñones III, senior from San Antonio, Texas, and Dana Daugharthy, senior from Iola. Special music is by the Bethel College Concert Choir under the direction of William Eash, professor of music, and the men’s a cappella group Open Road.

The service will conclude with the traditional blessing for and candlelighting by seniors. The baccalaureate planning committee includes seniors Whitney Fast, Victoria Janzen, Ben Santos, Shawn Sullivan and Brittany Voth.

The commencement program will include music by the Epic Brass Quintet, organized by Timothy Shade, instructor of music. Sharon Nance, mother-in-law of graduate Shuk Fong Tang, will give the invocation and Ruth Harder, associate pastor of Bethel College Mennonite Church, will offer the benediction.

Other Alumni and Commencement Weekend events open to the public are the nurses’ pinning ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday in Krehbiel Auditorium, the senior art exhibit Saturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Gallery, including the reception from 4-6 p.m., and groundbreaking for the new tennis courts at 4 p.m. Saturday at the old tennis courts in the northeast corner of campus. Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center will have special hours Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Kauffman Museum invites everyone to the current special exhibit, “Images of Paraguay: Contemporary, Ethnographic and Folk Art from the Heart of South America,” both Saturday and Sunday 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Bethel College classes of ’35, ’40, ’45, ’50, ’55, ’60, ’65 and ’70 will hold reunions May 21-22. The first event is a Friday evening dinner in the Schultz Student Center cafeteria, followed by a walking tour with stops at the campus ministries facility, Agape Center in Richert House, Discovery Adventure Course on Sand Creek Trail and Sand Creek Community Gardens near Bethel College Mennonite Church. The evening concludes with an ice cream social.

On Saturday, retired faculty and staff will join reunion class members at a breakfast buffet. Classes observing reunions of 50 years or more will be guests of Bethel College interim president John Sheriff and his wife, Elsie, for coffee on Saturday morning at Goerz House. All classes will meet for reunion luncheons at various locations on campus.

The annual Alumni Banquet for graduating seniors, alumni and friends will be held Saturday evening in Memorial Hall. The Alumni Association will honor two alumni at the banquet: Jim Schrag, Newton, a 1966 graduate, as the recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award and Janeal Crabb Krehbiel, Lawrence, a 1968 graduate, who is receiving the Distinguished Achievement Award.

To make a banquet reservation, visit or phone Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center at (316) 284-5205, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. The price is $20 per person, with a cut-off date of May 12.

For alumni activities, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (316) 284-5251, A complete schedule for Alumni Weekend is online at

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’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

Sidebar: 89 to receive diplomas at Bethel's 117th commencement

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College will confer degrees on 89 graduates at the 117th commencement ceremonies Sunday, May 23, in Thresher Stadium on the Bethel campus.

Nursing will see the highest number of graduates, with 21, followed by business administration, with 14, and social work with 11. There are four or more graduates receiving degrees in art, biology, elementary education, foreign language (German or Spanish), health and physical education, history and psychology.

The following are scheduled to receive diplomas (NOTE: Honors designations are subject to change through May 21):

Bachelor of Arts

Allison Banman, Goessel; Social Work

Jordan Bartel, Lakewood, Colo.; Business Administration (7/10)

Derek Benson, Peabody; Biology

Melissa Carter, Chandler, Okla.; Art (7/10)

Kyle Claassen***, Andover; Mathematical Sciences, Physics

Greg Enns, Goddard; Health and Physical Education (12/09)

Natasha Esau**, Hutchinson; History

Whitney Fast, Moundridge; Social Work

Elizabeth Friesen, Littleton, Colo.; Psychology

Sarah Fuentes*, Erie, Colo.; Art

Julius Fuh, Yaounde, Cameroon; Social Work (2/10)

Sam Gaeddert, Hutchinson; Art

Rosie Hamman-Hartkop, Lima, Ohio; German

Kayla Hiebert**, Newton; Social Work

Grant Hiebner***, Hampton, Neb.; History

Sierra Hostetler**, Dodge City; Spanish

Aaron Hull, Wichita; History

Victoria Janzen***, Wichita; History, Spanish

Emily Kliewer***, Lenexa; Athletic Training, Natural Sciences

Blaire Mayhue**, North Newton; Biology

James McCartney, Hesston; Business Administration (7/10)

Brad McKellip, Newton; English

Kelsie Miller*, Goshen, Ind.; Art

Isaac Olson, Denver; Computer Science, Mathematical Sciences

Will Peterson, Bonner Springs; Bible and Religion

Emily Piper*, North Newton; Art, Social Work

Chelsea Robertson**, Leavenworth, Wash.; Biology

Ben Santos, Smithville, Mo.; Biology

Susan Schmeichel**, Hurley, S.D.; Art, Spanish

Nicole Schmidt**, Newton; Elementary Education (7/10)

Charles Schrag, Freeman, S.D.; Bible and Religion, History (12/09)

Kristen Schrag***, Moundridge; Elementary Education (12/09)

Aimee Siebert***, Topeka; Communication Arts, Psychology

Avery Smith, Newton; Psychology (2/10)

Matt Stucky***, Moundridge; Psychology

Brittany Voth***, Goessel; Business Administration

Kaylee Wiechman*, Valley Center; Elementary Education

Bachelor of Science

J.D. Bahret, Soldier; Business Administration (2/10)

Erika Barnes, Hutchinson; Nursing

Malick Baruti, Mwanza, Tanzania; Nursing (7/10)

Amy Berry, Hutchinson; Social Work (7/10)

Manisha Bhandari, Andover; Nursing

Sandra Bobbitt, Wichita; Nursing

Kaitlin Claassen, Elmira, Ore.; Business Administration (2/10)

Amy Clements, Canton; Nursing

Mohamed Conteh, Free Town, Sierra Leone; Nursing

Miranda Crile*, Mount Pleasant, Iowa; Nursing

Dana Daugharthy***, Iola; Chemistry

Patrici Dixon, Fruita, Colo.; Elementary Education

Evan Fast*, Goessel; Business Administration

Yenikah Fon, Silver Spring, Md./Bamenda, Cameroon; Social Work (2/10)

Lance Francis, Punta Gorda, Fla.; Health and Physical Education (7/10)

Lisa Fulgham, Wichita; Nursing

Courtney Gassman, El Dorado; Nursing

Scott Goering*, Pretty Prairie; Health and Physical Education (12/09)

Kristina Graber***, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Business Administration

Brody Grove, Belleville; Business Administration

Reed Hammond, Hesston; Health and Physical Education

Lindsay Herrell, Nickerson; Nursing

Matt Hershberger***, Clay Center; Physics

Krista Hostetler, West Liberty, Ohio; Business Administration

Aaron Howard***, Halstead; Business Administration (2/10)

Billye Jerde, Newton; Nursing

Kathleen Kendall, Burlingame; Social Work (2/10)

Jessica Koblitz, Abbyville; Nursing

Christian Loganbill, Wichita; Business Administration

Michelle Love, Whitewater; Nursing

Joel Maple, Umatilla, Fla.; Health and Physical Education

Daniel Martin**, Clay Center; Social Work

Darron Morgan, Midwest City, Okla.; Health and Physical Education (12/09)

Maureen Mose, Wichita/Kisumu, Kenya; Nursing

Cassie Preston, Valley Center; Athletic Training

Albino Quiñones, San Antonio, Texas; Social Work (7/10)

Kelly Robinson, Marion; Nursing

José Rojas, Newton; Chemistry

Jason Santiago, Royal Oaks, Calif.; Nursing

Joe Santos, Smithville, Mo.; Elementary Education (7/10)

Tyler Schroeder**, Goessel; Business Administration (2/10)

Dakota Sorensen, Crestone, Colo.; Health and Physical Education

Laura Stevens*, McPherson; Social Work

Wilfred Suleiman, Kisii, Kenya; Nursing

Shawn Sullivan, Hutchinson; Business Administration

Shuk Fong Tang, Hong Kong; Nursing

Ruth Tumblin, North Newton; Nursing (7/10)

Esther Wanyoike, Nairobi, Kenya; Nursing

Christy Weems*, Topeka; Elementary Education

Calvin Wenger**, Hesston; Business Administration

Andrea Wheeler, Wichita; Nursing

Sharayah Williams***, Kalona, Iowa; Elementary Education

*Cum Laude: 3.500-3.649 GPA

**Magna Cum Laude: 3.650-3.799 GPA

***Summa Cum Laude: 3.800-4.0 GPA

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