October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m.
By Tricia Theurer, Communications Specialist
Bethel’s 2014 Homecoming activities went beyond class reunions and the football game. Bethel’s “platinum” alumni, those who graduated 50 years or more ago, were honored during the 2014 Homecoming weekend with events just for them. And for the first time during Homecoming weekend, Bethel Seminary held a gathering for all alumni on the St. Paul campus.
On Friday night, Bethel College alumni gathered for a dinner, sharing stories, laughing about their memories of their younger years while at Bethel, and sang hymns. Hannah Smith ’15 shared how the Bethel community has helped her grow spirituality and told the alumni that she’d like to still be in touch with her Bethel classmates decades from now, just as they are. President Jay Barnes communicated highlights of how God is working at Bethel University. To many of these alums, “Bethel” was the former campus on Snelling Avenue, which they had the opportunity of touring on Friday afternoon. Nearly 70 members of the Class of 1964 and their guests were honored at a dinner on Saturday evening as well.
One alumna who attended on Friday has the distinction of having a Bethel educational experience that spanned more than 50 years. Ruth Goodman earned her associate’s degree in 1939 and returned to Bethel in the 90s to receive her bachelor’s degree. Her son John Goodman joked that her cohorts loved having her in their group because she often hosted them at her home, providing meals and grandmotherly advice.
For the first time during Homecoming weekend, Bethel Seminary hosted an alumni gathering. It honored the Bethel Seminary Alumnus of the Year, Chaplain John Morris, as well as two alumni from the Bethel Seminary Class of 1964, Al Moyer and Rich Massey, for their service for the church. Ralph Gustafson ‘74, S ’78, S’ 13, executive minister of church relations, welcomed the group; Dave Hoehl, ’75, S’81, led hymn singing; and Sonja Dixon S’01, a member of the Bethel Seminary Alumni Council, led the group in prayer. Justin Irving, professor of ministry leadership, gave an update on Bethel Seminary and some of the amazing work that alumni are doing in Christ’s name; President Jay Barnes presented the Alumnus of the Year award; and David Howard, professor of Old Testament, closed the morning with a benediction.
Current Seminary faculty who attended--Justin Irving, David Howard, Andy Rowell, Paul Ferris, and Tina Weins--were joined by former faculty and staff members Bill Travis, Nils Friberg, Millard Erickson, Robert Stien, and Leland Eliason.
Gustafson remarked about the morning, “What a wonderful way to celebrate.”