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Bethel College 2018 graduation ceremonies take place Sunday, May 20, on the Bethel College Campus.


The Baccalaureate ceremony begins at 10 a.m. with musical selections by seniors. Services will take place at Bethel College Mennonite Church. For Baccalaureate, graduates do not need to wear their graduation robes, and they are welcome to sit with their families.

Commencement Lunch

Following baccalaureate, graduates, family members, and guests are invited to a commencement lunch from 12–1:30 pm in Schultz Student Center. The meal will be prepared by our executive chef, Luci Johnson, and food service director, Nolan Corne, with Aladdin Food Service. Advance reservations and payments are required. Graduate’s meal complimentary.

Class Photo

All senior graduates report to the Administration Building steps in cap and gown at 2:45 p.m. for a class photo. After the photo, seniors proceed to the Luyken Fine Arts Center to assemble and prepare for the commencement procession. All senior graduates required to attend. In case of inclement weather, the photo will be taken in Krehbiel Auditorium


The formal commencement ceremony takes place at 4 p.m. at Thresher Stadium. Both the baccalaureate service and the commencement ceremony are open to the public. In case of inclement weather, commencement will take place in Memorial Hall located on campus. Commencement guests are welcome to park in the Thresher Stadium parking lot. The gates to the stadium will open at 3 p.m. for general seating.

Commencement rehearsal for graduates will take place on Saturday, May 19 from 10–11 a.m. at Thresher Stadium. More details will be sent from the Registrar’s Office through campus mail at a later date.

Dr. Jon Gering, faculty, graduates, and designated others will begin the Commencement ceremony with the traditional Walk Around The Green. Commencement guests are invited directly to Thresher Stadium for the ceremony.

Graduation robes, caps and tassels can be ordered and paid for through the Thresher Shop. Graduation announcements can be ordered through CB Announcement online or by calling 800-433-0296. Order forms are also available in the Thresher Shop.

Baccalaureate and Commencement photos by Vada Snider will be available online.

Baccalaureate and Commencement will be recorded. DVDs can be ordered through the Thresher Shop or by downloading an order form. The DVD can be picked up at the Thresher Shop, or for an additional fee, it will be mailed to the address provided, approximately 4 weeks after graduation. Video of both ceremonies will also be posted on the Bethel website for viewing.

2018 Commencement Speaker

Francisca Méndez-Harclerode, associate professor of biology, began teaching at Bethel College in 2008. Prior to that, she was a research scientist and an instructor of research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Méndez-Harclerode, a native of Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico, graduated with honors and a B.S. in biology, with psychology and chemistry minors, from East Texas Baptist University, Marshall.

She earned an M.S. in biology from Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, and a Ph.D. in biology from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, where her dissertation was on population genetics of the Southern Plains woodrat.

Her research interests are population genetics, molecular biology, the relationship of pathogenic agents with their hosts, and mammalian systematics. She continues to participate in two projects that involve studying population genetics, of the Southern Plains woodrat (south Texas) and the white-throated woodrat (Arizona).

Méndez-Harclerode has been instrumental in establishing Bethel’s growing collaboration with Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH, the University of Sciences and Arts, Chiapas, Mexico). She spent her recent sabbatical developing the January interterm course Biological and Cultural Richness of Mexico, and led the first group of Bethel students in the course, which included meeting and working with UNICACH faculty and students, this past January.

Méndez-Harclerode has received numerous honors and awards, including, at Bethel, the Bethel College Women’s Association Annual Lecture Award in 2010, and the John O. and Esther F. Schrag Helping Hand Award (from a nomination by a student or students) and the Ralph P. Schrag Distinguished Teaching Award, both in 2012.

Méndez-Harclerode and her husband, Jerry Harclerode, a software developer, live in Newton.

Senior Celebration Weekend Events

Friday, May 18
5 p.m. Senior graduation party in the atrium of the James A. Will Family Academic Center.
Special meal for all senior graduates and senior gift provided by the Student Alumni Association. By invitation only.
7 p.m. Senior Art Exhibit and Reception, Robert W. Regier Art Gallery, Luyken Fine Arts Center
Saturday, May 19
10 a.m. Mandatory graduation rehearsal for all senior graduates at Thresher Stadium.
Inclement weather rehearsal will be in Memorial Hall.
11 a.m. Luncheon for senior graduates and families hosted by President Gering and Deborah Gering in the CafeteriaGraduate’s meal covered by President’s Office. Advance reservation and payments required. Attendance is optional.
2 p.m. Nursing Pinning Ceremony, Krehbiel Auditorium, Luyken Fine Arts Center.
Family and friends of the nursing graduates are invited to attend. Reception following.
Sunday, May 20
10 a.m. Baccalaureate ceremony, Bethel College Mennonite Church.
All are welcome to attend.
12 p.m. Commencement lunch, Cafeteria, Schultz Student Center.
Advance reservation and payments required. Graduate’s meal complimentary. Attendance is optional.
2:45 p.m. Senior class photo, Administration Building steps.
All senior graduates required to attend. In case of inclement weather, the photo will be taken in Krehbiel Auditorium.
4 p.m. Commencement, Thresher Stadium.
In case of inclement weather, commencement will take place in Memorial Hall. Also in case of inclement weather, relocation decisions will be made by 1 p.m. and notification placed on the website.


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About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.