NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – After decades of making strong impacts on their students, two sisters and noted academicians have done the same for Bethel College.
Bethel recently received a generous gift from the estate of Dorothea Franzen and Ruth Franzen.
Dorothea Franzen’s extensive list of publications spans 60 years and details her research on mollusks. She was the first female graduate of Bethel College to earn a PhD and during her lifetime received numerous awards for her landmark contributions to her discipline.
In 2003, Dorothea donated her terrestrial snail collection to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where it is preserved and available for reference. She taught at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa., Washburn University in Topeka, and Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.
A 1937 Bethel graduate, Dorothea received the college’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 1975.
Like her sister, Ruth Franzen worked her entire life in academia, making significant contributions in her field. Ruth, a 1944 Bethel graduate, taught at the University of Kansas and Kansas State University and spent 30 years as associate professor of design, housing and apparel at the University of Minnesota. During her travels, she collected exhibit-quality textiles.
The sisters grew up in Hillsboro and both retired to North Newton. Dorothea died in 2008 and Ruth in 2011.
A portion of the Franzen estate is restricted to the sciences and is intended to establish a science equipment endowment. “This generous gift helps the college create an important new endowment that will enhance our laboratories and directly impact students’ education,” noted President Perry White.
The remainder of the Franzens’ seven-figure gift is designated for upgrades to campus facilities, as outlined in Bethel’s Strategic Plan for Campus Enhancement and Marketability. The college is currently seeking gifts to make improvements to Schultz Student Center, the Fine Arts Center, Thresher Gym and student housing.
“We are grateful to Dorothea and Ruth,” President White continued, “for remembering Bethel College and for understanding the important role estate gifts can play in the life of a college.”