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New Bethel board members represent rural, urban settings

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – At its fall meeting, the Bethel College Board of Directors welcomed two new members, whose terms will begin in the new year.

North Newton native Kate Brubacher now lives in New York City, where she practices law as an associate in the commercial litigation group of Cooley LLC.

Brubacher is a graduate of Stanford University, with a B.A. in philosophy and religious studies and an M.A. in history. She has a master of arts in religion, ethics concentration, from Yale Divinity School and her juris doctor degree from Yale Law School.

At Yale Law, Brubacher was a founding director of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project and development editor for the Yale Journal of International Law.

Brubacher is the daughter of Joan and Wade Brubacher, North Newton. She and her husband, Grayson Murphy, have one daughter, Eleanor Murphy.

The other new board member is Sharon Waltner, Parker, South Dakota. With her husband, Keith Waltner, she co-owns and co-manages a diversified farming operation.

She is also a consultant for Avera Education and Staffing Solutions, working with health-care and educational facilities and organizations in leadership training and mediation.

Waltner studied at Bethel College and graduated from Goshen (Indiana) College with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. She later earned a master’s degree in counseling from the University of South Dakota.

Waltner has long been active in her congregation, Salem Mennonite Church in rural Freeman, South Dakota, and at the conference and national Mennonite Church USA level.

She was moderator of Northern District Conference through its merger, as MC USA developed, with Iowa-Nebraska Conference into Central Plains Mennonite Conference.

From 2007-09, Waltner was the moderator of Mennonite Church USA. She currently serves on the Leadership Discernment Committee for MC USA.

Keith and Sharon Waltner are the parents of three children, Timothy, Anne and Mariell (Mary). Timothy and Mariell are Bethel graduates.

The appointments of Brubacher and Waltner to the Bethel College Board was approved at the fall meeting, for six-year terms beginning in January 2015.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2014-15. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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