NORTH NEWTON, KAN.– Jim and Shirley Goering of North Newton love Bethel College, their alma mater, and they love China.
They have spent a dozen summers there teaching English. In January 2012, they took their 23rd group to China – Bethel students along with President Perry and Dalene White and Allison McFarland, professor of business. They’ll soon be leading their 24th trip.
So it’s no surprise that the Goerings have been a major force in getting Bethel and China together, especially given Bethel’s mission connections to the country in the first half of the 20th century.
Bethel’s three-year-old China initiative, for which the Goerings are major donors, has resulted in Lijun Zhu’s now being in her second year teaching a Mandarin Chinese language class at Bethel.
There are new efforts underway to recruit more Chinese students to Bethel. Thanks to the Goerings’ financial support, Lijun has begun working with Bethel Admissions to make connections with Chinese students at Mennonite high schools.
Over spring break, she visited with and made presentations to students at Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite High School, Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in Lansdale, Pa., and Freeman (S.D.) Academy.
Lijun will also be acting as a mentor and support person for any Chinese students who do choose to come to Bethel.
“We are excited to have Lijun on board to help bring international students to campus,” said Todd Moore, vice president for admissions. “Associate Director of Admissions Clark Oswald traveled with her to Pennsylvania and was impressed with how she handled herself with the Chinese students as well as other international students.
“We look forward to having some new Chinese students in fall 2014. “
“As Bethel continues to seek diversity on our campus, it is vitally important that international students are offered the kinds of support mechanisms that bode well for their success,” said President White.
“We are so very fortunate to have Lijun as a part of our campus community,” he added. “She certainly brings a vast amount of experience to her new role on our campus, from her graduate studies in ESL, to her tremendous teaching skills, to a clear understanding of the cultural adjustments Chinese students must make when coming to the Central Plains of the US.
“We are also humbled to have such supportive alumni like Jim and Shirley Goering to help us achieve such an initiative.”
“Knowing what a fine teacher Lijun has been in the Mandarin Chinese classes, I’m sure Admissions is delighted to have her focused now on recruiting Chinese students from Mennonite high schools,” added Brad Born, vice president for academic affairs.
Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the 2012-13 Forbes.com analysis of premier colleges and universities in the United States and ranks in the top five “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2012-13. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.