Monday, March 31, 2014

With Louise McCleary of the NCAA and Chuck Yrigoyen, Commissioner of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, during a break in NCAA Division III committee meetings at the NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis. A reminder, NCAA Division III Week is April 7-13.

Katrina D’Aquin to participate in CIC Senior Leadership Academy

I am pleased to share that Dr. Katrina D’Aquin, Associate Professor of Psychology and Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, is one of an elite group of 25 participants selected for the 2014-2015 Council of Independent College’s Senior Leadership Academy.

This year-long program, described as “a self-directed, self-initiated year-long internship,” consists of seminars, readings, mentorship, career coaching and the development of a professional experience plan to prepare participants to attain senior leadership positions at independent colleges. As her program mentor, I will work with Katrina to identify projects which will give her valuable experience in college administration. Katrina will also visit other campuses and, with her cohort, explore critical issues in higher education.

Katrina joined the Bethany College faculty in 2006, became Director of First Year Studies in 2007, and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2012. She currently is serving as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty.

I know you join me in congratulating Katrina on her acceptance into this program.
Always enjoy serving in various capacities with the NCAA. Especially nice when Kentucky and Michigan are in town playing for a spot in the Final Four!
With Jared Roque, junior managerial economics major from Munster, Indiana, and Amber Ridings, senior accounting major from Inwood, West Virginia, at today’s Bethany v. University of Pittsburgh – Greensburg tennis match. The match started outside at the Ewing Tennis Center but was moved inside to Sandwen Arena because of rain. Jared dropped his no. 3 singles match and won his no. 2 doubles match (teamed with Kyle Booker).
The Bethany Faculty Art Show continues in the Renner Art Gallery until April 14 with displays by Aaron Anslow, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts; Kenn Morgan, Professor of Fine Arts, and Maggie Pearson, Lecturer in Visual Art. Pictured with Prof. Morgan in front of Tempus Fugit! (Sense of Place). The Artists' Reception will be April 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Renner Art Gallery of Bethany House.
Last week we announced the debut of Bethany brand cookies for use at Bethany Office of the President events. The first person to respond on Facebook to the new cookie design/concept was Heather Ricciuti, The Mary Cutlip Director of Libraries & Learning Resources. Her prize, a box of the new product. Safe to say, Abby (Heather's daughter) enjoyed the cookie.
A strong Alpha Xi Delta presence working Green and White Day. Pictured with: Shannon Marks, Anne Taylor and Ashleigh Asbury.
Visited at the Academic Fair (in Renner Art Gallery) Saturday with Shannon Marks (Communications and Media Arts major), M.E. Gamble (Chair, Department of Business, Communications and Media Arts), and Anne Taylor (Communications and Media Arts major). The Academic Fair is a part of Green and White Day and provides an opportunity for all departments and majors to showcase their programs.
My view from Saturday morning's Enrollment Green and White Day in Commencement Hall. It is wonderful to see so many future Bethanians in front of my eyes!
Visited with our expert student panelists after their discussion with prospective students in Steinman Hall at Saturday's Green and White Day. The ambassadors did a great job fielding questions on Greek life, Athletics, student government, student activities and residence hall life. They do a great job at all of our Green and White Day programs. Thanks!
Great turnout Friday at Harder Hall at the Mountainside Conference Center for the eighth annual Derek "Ike" Eisenhauer Memorial Scholarship Dinner. All proceeds from this event help fund three scholarships for Brooke High School graduates to pursue higher education.  Joining me for the picture are Jay and Mary Ann Eisenhauer and their grandson Caden.  If you couldn’t attend and would like to donate: Derek "Ike" Eisenhauer Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 143, Bethany, WV 26032.  Jay is a long time member of the Bethany College family and is currently Mayor of Bethany. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thoroughly enjoyed visiting with two of our favorites -- Chef Bo Bryan and Executive Chef Clark Creel -- at last night's Business Dining Etiquette & Communication event sponsored by Chartwells Dining Services and the Bethany Office of Career Counseling & Placement. Bo and Clark are "behind the scenes" superstars at so many Bethany catered events. Gene Castelli of Chartwells led a packed house at Harder Hall through a "Protocol 101" short course.
Dr. Mary Ellen Komorowski, Professor of Mathematics Emeritus, Adam Fletcher, Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Advisor to WV Alpha Chapter of Kappa Mu Epsilon National Mathematics Honorary with Mindy Bierhals (President), Tyler Pannebaker (Vice President), and Alex DelGiorno (Secretary) at last night's induction.
Dr. Mary Ellen Komorowski, Professor of Mathematics Emeritus, Adam Fletcher, Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Advisor to WV Alpha Chapter of Kappa Mu Epsilon National Mathematics Honorary with Mindy Bierhals (President), Tyler Pannebaker (Vice President), and Alex DelGiorno (Secretary) at last night's induction.
So good to see Dr. Mary Ellen Komorowski, left, Professor of Mathematics Emeritus, at yesterday's Kappa Mu Epsilon induction in Richardson Hall. She is pictured with Dr. Lisa Reilly, The Goulding-Woolery Professor in Chemistry, and Adam Fletcher, Assistant Professor of Mathematics.
Coming soon to an alumni event near you...Bethany College brand cookies with the historic crest!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Enrollment Green and White Day Saturday

This Saturday we will host the final enrollment Green and White Day for the 2013-14 recruitment cycle. These are events for prospective students and their families to visit Bethany College and learn more about campus life. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet faculty and staff, student services, student organizations, athletic coaches, and current and future Bethanians. Campus and residence hall tours will be offered as well as lunch in Benedum Commons.

We must continue to be sensitive to issues driving our market while pursuing new sources of revenue to keep higher education affordable. Green and White Day is an important means of gaining feedback from those we recruit. Our Enrollment Center staff continues to work hard recruiting the Class of 2018. To date, we continue to trend favorably as we did for the incoming class in the fall of 2012, one of the largest and most academically talented classes at Bethany in 30 years.

For those who are taking part in this Green and White Day, I thank you. If you do not have a formal role in the day’s activities but will be on campus Saturday, please give our visitors a warm Bethany welcome.
With honorees at last night's Service Recognition Dinner at Christman Manor. With me, from left, Lindsey Tredway, Jay Eisenhauer, Heather Ricciuti, Jan Forsty, Bill Hicks, and Cathy Gordon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bethany College "Great Goals!"

Spring Break provided an opportunity for the President's Cabinet to review the 2014 "Great Goals!" document, the annual planning cycle for Bethany College. This is the seventh year of this participatory process which enables us to reflect on last year's goals, set new goals for the upcoming year, and revise our longer-range ambitions through our strategic plan "Bethany College: From Here to 2020."

While the re-setting of the economy (I elect not to call it a recession) has impacted us in a very real way, we have weathered the storm as a result of good planning. Thanks to all of you who took part in the "Great Goals!" process, in particular: Dr. David R. Black, Sarah Cochran Visiting Executive in Residence, for leading the process; the President's Cabinet and Staff; and Department Chairs and Directors.

These are trying times in American higher education. Many institutions are underfunded and confronting rapidly rising costs. For most of us, we find that the education pie is the same, yet we are required to cut the pie differently.

Residential liberal arts colleges are unique, but more market-sensitive than 20 years ago. If it is the overall goal of American higher education to create an educated citizenry, our goal at Bethany is to provide an exceptional educational experience in an intimate intellectual environment.

The major challenge we face at Bethany, however, is mathematical. Not enough people were born 18 years ago to fill all of the available seats in America's colleges. Therefore, we have to be better than other residential arts and sciences colleges in teaching, fostering campus community life, and preparing our students for post-graduation success. We also have to be better at recruitment and fundraising. So, there is a piece of this challenge to be owned by each of us.

Thank you for all that you do for our students. Your efforts do make a difference to them and to the long-term viability of our College.

Delightful poetry reading by Bethanian Julie E. (Payne) Bloemeke yesterday in the Academic Parlour. She is a 1994 Bethany graduate who earned her MA in American Literature from the University of South Carolina and her MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. A 2012 fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of publications including Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, Deep South Magazine, and The Southern Poetry Anthology: Georgia. She recently served as a guest blogger for Best American Poetry and is currently working on her first book of poetry. Joining us for the picture: Dr. Jessie Janeshek, Assistant Professor of English, and Dr. Larry Grimes, Professor of English Emeritus.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Attended the Inauguration today of Douglas G. Lee as President of Waynesburg University. Top, pictured with long-time colleagues Tim Thyreen, who recently retired after 24 years as President of WU and now serves as Chancellor, and Rick Creehan, President of Alderson Broaddus University. Below, with Presidents’ Athletic Conference colleagues Joe Onderko (Commissioner), Dick Jewell (Grove City), Rick Dorman (Westminster) and Ken Smith (Geneva) before the processional.

Bethany Summer Online Courses

Six years ago, Bethany entered into a partnership with like-minded institutions to provide selected online courses to our students. The relationship has developed attractively during that time, and the collaborative (known as the Online Consortium of Independent Colleges and Universities, or OCICU) now provides an opportunity for Bethany students to take up to 12 credit hours (over four years) during a special summer period in a cost-effective manner.

For additional details, please click on the link:
http://www.bethanywv.edu/academics/lifelong-learning-bethany/ocicu-summer-corse/

All courses are "housed" at Bethany College—meaning that students will have no difficulties associated with transferring credits from other institutions. Additionally, all courses listed have applicability to Bethany College requirements (as stated in the current catalog).

This is a cost-effective, convenient way for our students to meet degree requirements in an easily accessible format. Although nothing replaces the valuable experience of the residential liberal arts college, this option provides our students with greater technological proficiency and opportunities amid current trends in American higher education.
Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes and the gathering in the Academic Parlour. I will do my best to make 55 the new 35!

Monday, March 24, 2014



On set with the team from the Bethany Broadcasting Network (BBN) for the production of the April edition of "For The Record." Colleagues from the Department of Business, Communications & Media Arts include: student producer Whitney Lewicki, Mort Gamble, M.E. Gamble and Joe Dumas.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014



Shout out to Randy and Kathy Wassel, parents of Bethany senior outfielder Dylan Wassel. Randy and Kathy have been regulars all four years for the Spring Break trips to Florida and have attended all our gatherings at Cobb's Landing. Randy and Kathy -- thanks for your instrumental support of Bethany College and our baseball program.



Always great visiting with loyal Bethanian Peggy Mills Hoffman ('85) at Bethany gatherings. She never misses an event! Today was Bethany Baseball Day in Fort Pierce, Florida. Peggy is also the mother of Bethany freshman Brad Hoffman.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Monthly Huffington Post Column: Dispatch From the Admissions Front

A college president's least favorite book title is Silent Spring.
Not the one about pesticides and the environment penned by Rachel Carson in 1962. I am referring to a book about our campuses that we hope never sees publication -- a story of failure at the college enrollment office, during spring recruitment season.

In my 23 years as a college president, I have never seen the enrollment war so fierce. And that's what it truly is, a war for the hearts, minds and housing deposits of the next incoming freshman class.

Time was, there existed a kind of gentlemen's agreement that colleges wouldn't play hardball admissions. Advertising was low key. Branch campuses weren't opened in the competition's backyard, or even in the same region. And nobody played "Let's Make a Deal" with financial-aid offers.

All of that has gone the way of the printed college catalog as an admissions tool.

These days, most colleges exist in a buyer's market. Prospective parents and their students have an unprecedented array of higher-education options from which to choose -- large and small, public and private, four-year and two-year, online and for-profit. The notion of "college" has long since ceased to denote only the residential, four-year experience. Now you can assemble a higher-education package as easily as you can buy furnishings for a new house.

What's changed?

Higher education is -- hold your ears, academic purists -- a consumer-driven business. Individual preference rules, though there's nothing new about promoting the advantages of choice. Bethany College's archives contain early view books expounding the virtues of our academic program and scenic destination. "There is not a more delightful location of a college, east, west, north or south than that of Bethany College," founder Alexander Campbell proclaimed in the mid-nineteenth century. Illustrations of the period showed an elegant, stately campus constructed from the surrounding wilderness, suggesting that students could benefit immeasurably from the civilizing influence of such a setting.

Now it's more about money than manors.

A growing trend is trumping a student's financial-aid offer from a competitor. 38 percent of American college-admissions officers indicated in one recent study that they continued to court prospects even after the students had committed to another institution. In some cases, not only are financial-aid packages matched or exceeded but the student's original deposit to the other college is covered, as well.

Photographing beautiful campus buildings for printed publications has given way to launching precision strikes via social media. It's faster and cheaper to reach students where they dwell rather than to print a fancy brochure that increasingly they don't read.

"Postcards, viewbooks and mailings in general are going the way of the print newspaper. Marketers have to plan their communications to play nicely with mobile devices," writes Craig Maslowsky, vice president of enrollment management and marketing at Excelsior College, in The evolllution. Also effective is tailoring communications to students' special interests. Comments Excelsior's Maslowsky, "We must anticipate our relevant audiences and align communication with their behavior before they even reach our website. Once they reach the website, that experience needs to be customized to the extent that it adjusts to their needs."

All of this makes perfect sense. What is less clear is how to keep students once they enroll. As with any business, it takes twice the effort to lure a new customer than to retain an existing one. Most competitive colleges do an admirable job of employing analysis on the front end, the recruitment and matriculation stages, but less so on the vitally important area of the actual collegiate experience. Anecdotal evidence, social media communications, exit surveys and the like offer some clues. But where much of higher education fails today is useful assessment of living and learning on campus.

A notable exception is the National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE) which measures "the amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities" and "how the institution deploys its resources and organizes the curriculum and other learning opportunities to get students to participate in activities that decades of research studies show are linked to student learning." Comparative data reveal how happy -- or dissatisfied -- your students may be with those of peer institutions.

Colleges also do well to encourage employees to keep their ears to the ground, listening for what works and what doesn't among today's student consumers. This is especially important for front-line staff in the offices of enrollment and financial aid, housing/student affairs, the finance department and the registrar. Although some institutions have aggressively pursued customer-service training and quality-control measurement, such exercises often go the way of campus strategic plans -- directly to a shelf in the library.

As with other wars, the admissions version is increasingly high-tech, and the stakes sometimes seem just as high. I devote many hours to individual recruitment of students, spending time with prospects in my office, reaching out to parents and siblings and making the process as personal as possible. Scholarships remain the cornerstone of our fundraising. And we keep our gorgeous campus photo-ready for visitation days.
Still, I know that competition for students will occupy more of our time and resources. If current trends are any indication, we will be fighting over fewer prospects, and offering more incentives to enroll and stay. Bethany has joined some other institutions in announcing a tuition freeze for the forthcoming academic year. This will give families added flexibility in financing their students' education.

But we and our peer institutions will need to stay at the top of our game in every respect to win our individual admissions wars. Not only is failing not an option, but judging from the intensity of competition in higher education now, I would say that even success is a relative term.

These days, you're only as good as your next freshman class.

Congratulations to Adam Fletcher

I am pleased to share that Adam Fletcher, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Bethany College, has been named West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics College Teacher of the Year. He was recognized at the WVCTM annual meeting last week at Stonewall Jackson Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia.

Prof. Fletcher graduated from Bethany in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, and after leaving he pursued graduate studies at John Carroll University, where he earned a Master of Science degree in Mathematics, and completed additional studies at the University of Georgia. He returned to the faculty of the College in 2006. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at West Virginia University.

Please join me in congratulating Adam on this outstanding accomplishment.



Visiting with Bethany head softball coach Jan Forsty and assistants Ashley Marinacci and Emily Jump at the annual Softball Parents & Friends Luncheon I host at Oakwood Smokehouse and Grill in Clermont, Florida. The Bison are on their annual spring trip, playing all games at the National Training Center.

Monday, March 17, 2014




Enjoyable visit in Florida Saturday with noted author, mentor, colleague and friend Dr. James L. Fisher. The most published author on the college presidency, he has written best-sellers "Presidential Leadership: Making A Difference," "The Power of the Presidency," "The Entrepreneurial College President," "The Effective College President," and "The President and the Board." He is a former president of Towson University and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Prof. Adam Fletcher won the College Teacher of the Year Award by the West Virginia Council of Teachers of MathematicsFriday . He is pictured at the banquet with Bethany students Mindy Bierhals, Ryan Donnelly, and Jennifer Anderson (alumni). Congratulations Adam!
Have arrived in Florida to visit alumni and friends and host Bethany College events with our softball and baseball squads (check our website for details). Nice visit with Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton, now play-by-play broadcaster of the Atlanta Braves.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I positively enjoyed meeting with the Leadership Council today in the Academic Parlour and look forward to next month's meeting after Spring Break.

Bethany College Spring Break

As I am sure you will all agree, this has been a winter of our discontent. The seemingly endless cold, snow, and ice have certainly disrupted many events; however, one annual ritual it can’t disrupt is Spring Break! Always a time of excitement and anticipation, Spring Break beginning next week promises to be extra-special.

Our spring athletic teams will be on the road in many locations. Some academic clubs/groups will be traveling to other countries. A number of faculty will attend professional meetings, while other professors and students will catch up on projects. Some Bethanians have suggested that they will simply engage in some much-needed “spring cleaning.”

Most agree that this is a time of renewal, and regardless of how you spend the break, it’s a good opportunity to take stock of your goals for spring and summer. In any case, it’s a welcome stopping point in a busy academic year.

However you plan to spend Spring Break, I hope the time is productive and enjoyable, and an opportunity to focus on yourself, family and friends. And for those of you planning to travel, my best wishes go with you for a safe and fun-filled trip. We look forward to seeing all members of the campus community return for that final sprint to the end of the year!


With Joyce Jefferson and Marc Chernenko of our Board of Trustees and (front, from left) Kristin Fouts (Director of the Coalition Assessment Project), Thomas Murphy (Executive Director of Phi Mu Delta fraternity), and Renardo Hall (Associate Vice President of Morehouse College). Through an anonymous gift, Bethany College commissioned the Coalition Assessment Project. The purpose of the assessment is to discuss ways to strengthen the Greek population on campus.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Upper left, Dr. Lisa Reilly, The Goulding-Woolery Professor in Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Physical and Computational Science at Bethany College, expresses thanks to the Merit Foundation of West Virginia for her selection as a finalist for Professor of the Year. Her husband, Adam, and Bethany student Jacob Fisher are also pictured. Lower left, Katrina D'Aquin (Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs), M.E. Gamble (Chair of the Department of Business, Communications and Media Arts), and Gayle Manchin (Bethany Board of Trustees) visit at the reception at the Governor's Manchin prior to the banquet. Lisa, with husband Adam Fletcher, visit at the West Virginia State Capitol prior to the banquet.

New Books by Bethanians Duane Cummins, Larry Grimes and Wiley Cash

Bethany College has produced many outstanding authors and scholars. I would like to call your attention to three recent scholarly works with significant Bethany ties (summaries excerpted from the publishers).

Bethany College: A Liberal Arts Odyssey (Chalice Press) by D. Duane Cummins

Since Alexander Campbell's 1840 charter established "a seminary of learning for the instruction of youth," Bethany College has claimed a place of national importance in education and in the history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). D. Duane Cummins, for fourteen years Bethany's president and a noted Disciples historian, takes a fascinating and comprehensive look at the institution in Bethany College: A Liberal Arts Odyssey. Cummins intertwines Bethany's story with American history and economic patterns, from the founding of a religion-related institution in antebellum times, through the rebalancing of liberal arts and professional arts during the 1970s and 1980s, to "American Higher Education and the Liberal Arts in the New Millennium." Many resources, including a timeline connecting Bethany's history with world events, make Bethany College: A Liberal Arts Odyssey an invaluable read for academics, historians, and those who hold this beloved institution near their hearts.

D. Duane Cummins is president emeritus of Bethany College, former president of the Division of Higher Education for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and author of several history books.

Hemingway, Cuba, and the Cuban Works
(The Kent State University Press) edited by Larry Grimes and Bickford Sylvester

Ernest Hemingway resided in Cuba longer than he lived anywhere else, yet no book has been devoted to how his life in Cuba influenced his writing. Hemingway, Cuba, and the Cuban Works corrects this omission by presenting contributions by scholars and journalists from the United States, Russia, Japan, and Cuba, who explore how Hemingway absorbed and wrote from the culture and place around him.The volume opens with an examination of Hemingway’s place in Cuban history and culture, evaluations of the man and his work, and studies of Hemingway’s life as an American in Cuba. These essays look directly at Hemingway’s Cuban experience, and they range from the academic to the journalistic, allowing different voices to speak and different tones to be heard. The first section includes reflections from Gladys Rodriguez Ferrero, former director of the Museo Finco VigĂ­a, who describes the deep affection Cubans hold for Hemingway; and recollections from the now-adult members of “Gigi’s All Stars,” the boys’ baseball team that Hemingway organized in the 1940s.

In the second part of the collection, Hemingway scholars— among them, Kim Moreland, James Nagel, Ann Putnam, and H. R. Stoneback—employ a variety of critical perspectives to analyze specific works set in Cuba or on its Gulf Stream and written during the years that Hemingway actually lived in Cuba. Also included are a long letter by Richard Armstrong describing the Machado revolution in Cuba and Hemingway’s photographs of fishermen at Cojimar, which provide vivid visual commentary on The Old Man and the Sea. Appended to the collection are Kelli Larson’s bibliography of scholarly writing on Hemingway’s Cuban works and Ned Quevedo Arnaiz’s sample of Cuban writing on those works. A chronology placing Hemingway’s life in Cuba beside historical events is also provided. This important volume illuminates Hemingway’s life and work during the Cuban years, and it will appeal to Hemingway fans and scholars alike.

Larry Grimes is professor of English emeritus and the former Perry E. and Aleece C. Gresham Chair in Humanities at Bethany College. He is the author of The Religious Design of Hemingway's Early Fiction. His co-editor, Bickford Sylvester, is emeritus professor, University of British Columbia.

This Dark Road to Mercy (HarperCollins Publishers) by Wiley Cash

This Dark Road to Mercy is a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, set in western North Carolina, involving two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins. After their mother's unexpected death, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are adjusting to life in foster care when their errant father, Wade, suddenly appears. Since Wade signed away his legal rights, the only way he can get his daughters back is to steal them away in the night. Brady Weller, the girls' court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn't the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due. Narrated by a trio of alternating voices, This Dark Road to Mercy is a story about the indelible power of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.

Wiley Cash is a former Assistant Professor of English at Bethany College. He is also the critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home.

Each book is available either through the publisher or Amazon.com.
Three friends and colleagues from over 30 years ago at West Virginia Wesleyan visiting last night during a reception at the Governor's Mansion in Charleston. With Dr. Mort Gamble, former faculty and administrator at WVW and now Executive Assistant to the President at Bethany, and Dr. Jerry Beasley, former WVW Vice President, who retired recently after 23 years as President of Concord University.
Three Bethany College faculty have been finalists for Merit Foundation of West Virginia Professor of the Year in the past five years. Dr. John Burns, Professor of Biology (2008), Dr. Lisa Reilly (2013), and Dr. Jay Buckelew (2010).
Dr. Lisa Reilly, The Goulding-Woolery Professor in Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Physical and Computational Science at Bethany College, was recognized tonight as a finalist for Merit Foundation of West Virginia Professor of the Year in a ceremony at the Cultural Center in Charleston. Making the presentation is James E. Casto of the Faculty Merit Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. Reilly received $1,000 as a finalist for the honor.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bill Booker of UBS of New York City/New Jersey was in Bethany today to meet with students managing the $1 million McCann Student Investment Fund. The fund was made possible by a generous gift from Bob ('80) and Cindy McCann. Dr. Anju Ramjee, The John and Casey Steen Chair of Finance, is the faculty advisor to the students managing the fund.

Merit Foundation to Recognize Professor Lisa Reilly tonight

I am writing with the good news that Dr. Lisa Reilly, The Goulding-Woolery Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Physical and Computational Sciences, will be recognized in Charleston tonight as a finalist for Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia Professor of the Year. The evening begins with a reception at the Governor’s Mansion, followed by a banquet and awards program at the Culture Center.

In addition to Dr. Reilly, the finalists are David Cerbone, a philosophy professor at West Virginia University; Mary Elizabeth Ellzey, an English and modern languages professor at Shepherd University; Powsiri Klinkhachorn, a computer science and electrical engineering professor at WVU; and Kateryna Schray, an English professor at Marshall University. Nominations were open to 43 colleges and universities in the State.

The award, which was created to recognize and reward academic innovation among college and university professors in West Virginia, comes with a $10,000 cash prize. Interviews of the five candidates took place January 24, and the recipient of the 2013 Professor of the Year will be announced at the banquet tonight.

This marks the third time in five years that Bethany has had a finalist for the prestigious award. Dr. John Burns, Professor of Biology, and Dr. Jay Buckelew, now Professor of Biology Emeritus, were previous honorees.

I know you join me in congratulating Dr. Reilly on this special honor and wish her well tonight. Her accomplishment represents a high level of achievement by her and Bethany College.

Mid-Year Board Committee Reports

The Bethany College Board of Trustees recently finished mid-year committee meetings. The Trustees heard many reports regarding the challenges facing private colleges, but we were also pleased to share with them many details of the good work of our faculty and staff. 

I have written to you about our decision to freeze tuition for new and returning students for the 2014-15 academic year. We must continue to be sensitive to issues driving our market while pursuing new sources of revenue to keep higher education affordable. A record-setting (as to numbers and profile) Kalon Leadership Scholars weekend is among the encouraging factors asour Enrollment Center staff recruit the Class of 2018. To date, we are trending similar to the fall of 2012, which resulted in one of the largest and most academically talented classes at Bethany in 30 years.

The Board also heard good news on progress toward our goal in the “Transformation Now!” capital campaign. Sven de Jong, Bethany Senior Vice President, reported that the campaign has reached the $46.5 million mark with 3,211 donors and an overall 38 percent alumni participation rate. The campaign has made possible significant upgrades to campus facilities, growth in the endowment, and, most importantly, the addition of substantial operating funds. The campaign has been successful despite two major national economic downturns.

Enrollment and advancement are the most important revenue streams for the College. It is pleasing to note our progress during challenging times. Thank you for your contributions toward creating a positive environment in which these gains were made possible.
With the Bethany Broadcasting Network (BBN) webcast team of McKenna Junkin and AJ Brettell at halftime of Saturday's ECAC Championship game at Bethany.

Long-time Bethany Professor Dr. Pat Sutherland has worked hard developing talent at student operated WVBC radio. We're pictured with stellar Bethany junior Juliano DeVito (Pittsburgh), also a member of the Bison football team, who handled the play-by-play action at Saturday night's ECAC Basketball Tournament semi-final contest.
With the Bethany Broadcasting Network crew: Jared Martin, Joshua "Skip" Smith, Jim Peterson, and Dakota Kotsal after Saturday night's final webcast of the 2013-14 basketball season.
Enjoyable visit with loyal Bethanian Tom Lash ('65) at Saturday night's ECAC Basketball Tournament semi-final game.
With long-time friend and colleague Dr. Tom Kepple, recently retired president of Juniata College, and Joe Onderko, Commissioner of the Presidents Athletic Conference, at the ECAC Basketball Tournament semi-final game (BC v. Juniata) at Hummel Field House. Dr. Kepple is now President of American Academic Leadership Institute in Washington, DC.
Bethany baseball opened the 2014 season with a chilly doubleheader at Washington & Jefferson. Loyal Bethanian Heather Taylor, academic advisor to the Bison & writing coordinator in the McCann Learning Center, is a main stay at most BC events.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Adam Fletcher (right), Assistant Professor of Mathematics, joins (from left) Tess Parry, Katie Woeckener, Mindy Bierhals, Tyler Pannebaker and I for a picture just before the start of the 8th annual Bethany College Math and Science Day. Tess, Katie and Mindy handled the planning for the day’s event at Mountainside Conference Center, which attracted top high school students from throughout the tri-state area.

#1 Bethany to host ECAC Men’s Basketball Championships

For 10 consecutive seasons, Bethany College’s men's basketball team has advanced to post-season play. After winning the regular season title in the PAC with an overall record of 21-5, the Bison are the top seed and will host the ECAC Southwest Tournament in the Nutting Gymnasium of Hummel Field House this weekend.

Bethany will open ECAC play with a semifinal match-up tomorrow (Saturday, March 8), hosting Juniata College at 5:30 p.m. That will be followed by the second semifinal contest between second-seeded Hood College and third-seeded Waynesburg University at 7:30. Saturday's winners will advance to the ECAC Championship game Sunday at 2 p.m. The student-operated Bethany Broadcasting Network (BBN) will webcast all Bethany games live as will WVBC radio.

I hope to see you this weekend as the Bison compete for another ECAC Championship.

Founder's Day

Enjoyable visit yesterday morning before the Founder's Day Convocation with Dr. Larry Grimes, Emeritus Professor of English and Dean of the Buffalo Seminary. Larry signed his new book, "Hemingway, Cuba, and the Cuban Works," for my collection.


Visiting with internationally-acclaimed columnist, Harvard Scholar, and Bethanian Jeffrey Seglin ('78) before he delivered the keynote address at yesterday's 174th anniversary Founder's Day Convocation in Commencement Hall.


Founder's Day Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Old Meeting House. Pictured with program participants, from left, Sarah Smith (closing prayer), Tess Parry (singer), Rev. Janice Burns-Watson (remarks), Dr. Larry Grimes (Dean of Bethany Seminary), and Jacob Fischer (President of the Student Government Association).



With good friends, Rev. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Regional Minister for Pennsylvania, and Rev. Thaddaeus Allen, Regional Minister for West Virginia, at the Founder's Day luncheon.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bethany College Tuition Freeze, 2014-15


In celebration of Bethany College’s 175th anniversary during the 2014-15 academic year , I am pleased to announce a tuition freeze for next year. The freeze will apply to all incoming and returning undergraduate students.

Bethany recognizes that a college education is an investment in the future. As we celebrate this milestone anniversary as the state’s oldest institution of higher learning, there is no better time to make a Bethany education more affordable. As we celebrate our 175th anniversary, we will host many special events to mark this historic occasion. I could not think of a better way of kicking off our planning for the 2014-15 academic year than by announcing our tuition freeze.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bethany College Baccalaureate/Commencement Speakers

I am pleased to announce that former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge will be the keynote speaker at Bethany College’s 2014 Commencement Ceremony. Mr. Ridge is currently CEO of Ridge Global, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based security consulting firm. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives (1983-95), as the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania (1995-2001), as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security (2001-03), and as the first United States Secretary of Homeland Security (2003-05). Born in nearby Munhall, PA, he grew up in Erie, PA, before attending Harvard University. After returning to Pennsylvania, he completed his Juris Doctor degree at the Dickinson School of Law. Special thanks to our Board Chair, Greg Jordan, for arranging Mr. Ridge’s involvement in this special day.

It is also a pleasure to share that the Rev. Gary W. Kidwell, President of the Christian Church Foundation, will be the Baccalaureate Service speaker. He is a graduate of Campbellsville College and Lexington Theological Seminary, both in Kentucky.

The Baccalaureate Service will be held on Friday evening, May 16, in Commencement Hall and Commencement Saturday morning, May 17, in the Pennington Quadrangle.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Communion Service Starting March 12...

I am pleased to announce that Bethany Memorial Church, our campus Office of the Chaplain, and our T.W. Phillips Memorial Library will host a weekly Communion service in the small library chapel during the season of Lent. The service, to be offered on Wednesdays (starting March 12) from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., will consist of Words of Institution followed by Communion by instinction (breaking bread and dipping it in the cup). A minister or elder of the Church will be present to assist communicants.

Communicants are invited to spend some time in prayer after the service, a rotating 5- or 10-minute activity with participants coming and going as their schedules permit. In the tradition of Alexander Campbell and the Disciples of Christ, Communion will be open to all who wish to gather at the table, and will be ecumenical in the largest sense of the word.

We invite your participation in this special activity coinciding with our observance of Lent.

Bethany College Social Work Program -- CSWE Accreditation Reaffirmed through 2022

I am pleased to share the good news that the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education voted at its February 2014 meeting to reaffirm the accreditation of the Bethany College Social Work program for eight years, ending in February 2022.

Congratulations to Kathy Shelek-Furbee, Chair of the Social Work Department, for her leadership of this process. Thanks, too, to the many faculty, staff, program affiliates, alumni, students and friends who contributed to this successful review.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ash Wednesday Service

Bethany College was founded by Alexander Campbell as a church-related liberal arts college. We continue to cherish that relationship and its sacred rituals. This Wednesday (March 5), Bethany will host the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese in celebrating Ash Wednesday. The ecumenical service led by the Rev. Monsignor Paul Hudock will be in the Renner Art Gallery at noon. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the period of preparation in anticipation of the celebration of Easter.

Please join us for this event.

Reducing Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure at Bethany College

Last spring I appointed an Ad Hoc Committee to review our current policy regarding tobacco use on campus. The committee consisted of faculty (William Hicks and Matthew Payment), staff (Carol Tyler, Jay Eisenhauer, and Andrew Lewis), and students (Linda Wright and Evan Marmie). The Committee met throughout the Fall Semester to present various options. The Committee submitted their findings to me last month, and I asked Dr. Katrina D’Aquin, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Bill Hicks, Chair of the Committee, to submit their report to the full faculty for consideration. With faculty endorsement, I submitted the following to the Finance and Administration Committee of the Board of Trustees on Friday:

Tobacco Use Policy
The use of tobacco products, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco, is prohibited inside any of the College’s facilities or vehicles. The use of tobacco products is allowed in designated areas outside any facility. Appropriate signage will be placed at entrances to all buildings advising employees and visitors that Bethany College maintains a tobacco-free environment. Designated tobacco-use areas will be located at least 25 feet away from any building entry way or ventilation intake. This policy relates to all work areas at all times, including before and after normal working hours.

I am pleased to inform you that the Board Committee approved the new policy statement, which is scheduled for implementation on July 1, 2014. A map with designated areas will be prepared and distributed prior to July 1.

Special thanks to the Ad Hoc Committee for their leadership on this issue.
Visiting with M.E. Gamble (Chair of Business, Communications and Media Arts) and David Bowers (father of Bethany honors student Bethany Bowers) at the closing ceremony of Relay for Life. Cancer tragically struck the Bowers family recently.
With Amanda Madurski and Amber Ridings, Co-Chairs of the Kalon Leadership Academy, and Kathy Furbee, Kalon Advisor, during the annual program Saturday morning at the Mountainside Conference Center.
With Kalon Leadership Academy keynote speaker John Osborne, a retired Apple executive, and Kathy Furbee.
With M.E. Gamble (Chair of Business, Communications & Media Arts) and Rhianna Petrone at the conclusion of the Bethany College "Relay for Life" in the Sandwen Arena.  Prof. Gamble provided moving closing remarks about her own recent battle with cancer. Rhianna, the coordinator of the annual event, announced that over $7,000 had been raised for the American Cancer Society. 




Enjoyable visit Saturday afternoon in Wilmington, OH, with two long-time friends from over 30 years ago at Rio Grande Colleges (now University of Rio Grande). Dr. David Black and Dr. Paul C. Hayes, President of Rio Grande for 11 years.