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BethelParent A newsletter for parents of Bethel University students


Issue 53/Winter 2012

Family Weekend Strengthens Connections In late October, we enjoyed a beautiful, sunny Family Weekend. More than 700 parents and guests came to campus to connect with their sons and daughters. Fifty parents participated in the StrengthsFinder session, and approximately 150 parents came to the Prayer Breakfast in 3900 Grill. The Royals football team’s loss to St. Thomas couldn’t dampen spirits, as most parents reported that their highlight was “just spending time” with their son or daughter. One parent commented, “My husband and I were really impressed with the spiritual transformation workshop. Pastor Laurel is a dynamic speaker, and we were so blessed to hear how God is working in the lives of young people at Bethel. Not once have we regretted sending our four children to Bethel.” Make plans now to come to campus for next year’s Family Weekend happening Friday, October 26-Sunday, October 28, 2012. n

Homecoming 2011: “You’re a Part of the Story” Homecoming 2011 saw more than 2,000 alumni returning to Bethel to reconnect with friends, roommates, and professors—as well as to the larger Bethel story. The weekend kicked off with Homecoming Chapel, where students and guests heard a challenging message from Alumnus of the Year Mark Robertson ’75. The celebration continued with a variety of meaningful events, including tours of the former and current campuses, special gatherings for football and baseball alumni, a prayer breakfast with President Jay Barnes, a 5-K Run/Walk sponsored by the Bethel Student Association, and a presentation by former Professor Dan Taylor on “Creating a Spiritual Legacy.” More than 700 alumni celebrated their reunions on Friday and Saturday nights. Many of them also enjoyed the original musical My Name Is Daniel, performed and written by Jeremiah and Vanessa Gamble, both ’95 graduates. On Saturday, a full football stadium watched a hard-fought, last-minute loss to St. Olaf (30-28). “Homecoming was a successful celebration of what God has been writing for the past 140 years in the story of Bethel University,” says Linda Schubring, director of alumni and parent services. “We were reminded that we’re all a part of the bigger Bethel story and that Bethel is a part of each of our own stories.” Bethel Homecoming 2012 is scheduled for Friday, October 5-Sunday, October 7, 2012. n

Faculty Grants Enrich Classroom Experience Each year the National Alumni Board distributes $30,000 to faculty to provide them with opportunities to stay on the cutting edge of their professions and enrich academic instruction in the classroom. Grants are used for projects, conferences, equipment, and technology. When you contribute through the Bethel Fund or as part of your Valentine’s Day order (see enclosed flyer), your donations benefit your student’s learning. On behalf of the Bethel faculty, thank you for your support! Faculty members who have recently been blessed by your generous gifts include Chad Osgood and Sara Wyse. “I am in the U.K. working with the University of Hull’s sports rehabilitation program in Hull, England,” writes Chad Osgood, associate professor of physical education and head athletic trainer. “The funds from the alumni grant have allowed me to travel within the U.K. to further my experience in sports medicine and to attend Europe’s largest sports medicine conference in London.” Assistant Professor of Biology Sara Wyse comments, “As a result of the alumni grant funds, I was able to attend the first meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER), where I presented my research focused on how we prepare graduate students for their role in the classroom. The conference put me in touch with leaders in the undergraduate biology research community and exposed me to research focused on how to improve the learning of our undergraduate students. Many of the presentations shared evidence-based ideas that I’ve already started implementing in courses here at Bethel.” n

Bethel’s Eagle Brick

by Tannie (Woods) Eshenaur ’80 and Wally Eshenaur ’80 “Bethel is bricks” was a common joke among students during my freshman year at Bethel. In 1976, the college buildings consisted of four block-shaped buildings covered with bricks. An addition to the fine arts building constructed during the previous summer was covered with the same brick, except that the brick factory in Galena, Ohio imprinted the top of each brick with an American eagle in recognition of the United States Bicentennial celebration. My dad, who was then director of the physical plant, arranged for one brick to be set on its side so that the eagle would be displayed as a reminder of this important celebration. Whether coming to Bethel for a reunion, returning to campus for a year from missionary service in Ethiopia, or recently bringing our third child, Hannah, to enroll as a student, our visits always include a check to see if the eagle is still perched in its place next to the expansion joint, visible from the skyway between what are now the Hagstrom and Clauson buildings. Over the years the eagle brick has been transformed into an “Ebenezer” for our family—a memorial stone that speaks to us of how God spreads His wings and catches us, carries us on His wings, protects us with a fierce love like an eagle protects its young, and renews our strength. The image of that eagle reassures us as we leave Hannah at Bethel to experience the next part of her faith adventure. We acknowledge that she is a gift to us, but she belongs to the Lord. We want to savor this season as she spreads her wings and moves into adulthood. We remain committed to our own spiritual growth so that we can engage our adult children at the deepest levels as together we follow Jesus. As parents, we’ve spent two decades, by God’s grace, laying the foundation for our children to discover who God wants them to be. Entrusting them to the Bethel community, we realize that many life-changing decisions will be made over the next four years. We commit ourselves to prevailing prayer as we anticipate the challenges and temptations our children will face. We’ll provide advice when asked and continue to communicate our love. And we’ll stand in awe as they soar on the eagle’s wings of God. n

Reconciliation Chapel Builds Community by Nicole Finsaas ’14

Bethel’s annual Reconciliation Day chapel on October 12 featured Cheryl Sanders, Howard University professor and senior pastor at Third Street Church of God, Washington, D.C. A Harvard Divinity School graduate, Sanders has published more than 100 articles and book chapters, written four books, and is the guest editor for Leadership, a journal for pastors. Sanders brought great energy to her message of unity and inclusion. “Jesus is still calling and connecting and convincing and catching people like you and me so we can continue [His] work . . . so [others] can get full membership in the family of God,” she said. Sanders encouraged those in the Bethel community to cast their nets, like the fishermen disciples, and keep all the fish they catch— her metaphor for reconciliation. She inspired students and faculty to work diligently together to receive everyone who comes, and not just those with whom they might be comfortable. The energy, vibrancy, and hope of Sanders’ message was underscored by the Grammy Award-winning gospel choir Sounds of Blackness, which filled the air of Bethel’s Benson Great Hall with their rich voices and powerful lyrics. Their passion for both music and reconciliation was evident as they encouraged students and faculty to “live as one,” and “forgive and forget.” Bethel’s Reconciliation Day—an annual event designed to foster unity and acceptance in the Bethel community—reminds the Bethel community to be diligent and intentional about building unity and to strive daily for reconciliation. n

Mark Your Calendar! Classes Begin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . January 4 January Convocation Series. . . . . . . . . . . . January 6, 13, 18, 23 Martin Luther King Jr. Day (no classes) . . January 16 Last Day of Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . January 26 Classes Begin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . February 1 Spring Break. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 19-23 Classes Resume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 26 Good Friday (no classes) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 6 Monday after Easter (no classes) . . . . . . . . April 9 Assessment Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 25 Last Day of Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 18 All-School Spring Banquet . . . . . . . . . . . . May 19 Study Day. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 23 Final Exams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 21-May 25 (Please don’t schedule family vacations on these days.) Senior/Parent Commencement Banquet . . May 25 Commencement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 26 1st Session of Summer Classes Begin. . . . . May 30

Did You Know? The Office of Alumni and Parent Services is one of several offices on campus that communicates with parents through email. If you haven’t received an email from Bethel, it’s likely we don’t have your current email address! To provide Bethel with your current contact information, visit and click on “Parent Info Update.”

Vision Trekk NYC Spring Break This spring, 16 Bethel students will travel to New York City with Vision Trekk, an assessment-based adventure education. Each student will have the opportunity to see themselves, others, and the world around them through a series of unique “lenses.” By completing four assessments (StrengthsFinder, Myers Briggs, APEST, and the Character Matrix) before the trip and participating in a variety of challenges while on the trip, students will return to Bethel with a deeper understanding of who they have been created to be and possibly a clearer vision for their future. Vision Trekk NYC will take place March 17-26, 2012. The trip consists of two days of travel (via Amtrak) each way, four days of structured content, and one day that is free for students to explore the city. The cost is $900, which includes everything except food on the way to and from New York City and anything students chose to do on their free day. For more information, please contact Nathan Freeburg, associate dean of leadership/community development, at or visit visiontrekk. n

Bethel Named 10th Nationally in Study Abroad Participation Rate Is your student interested in studying abroad? A new report shows that Bethel’s study abroad participation rate ranks 10th in the nation in the “Master’s Institutions” category of the 2011 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Of the 860 students who earned undergraduate degrees from Bethel during the 2009-10 school year, 441 students, more than 50%, studied abroad. If your child is interested in studying off campus, whether for a full semester or a few weeks, have them visit the Office of OffCampus Studies and International Studies. n

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Bethel Parent: Winter 2012