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Solar Panels Provide Scholarships for San Diego Seminary Students

Through the generosity of two longstanding Bethel supporters, Bethel Seminary San Diego installed solar panels in 2015. Last year, the money saved on electricity bills provided $36,500 in scholarships for seminary students.

By Cherie Suonvieri ’15, content specialist

July 11, 2018 | 5 p.m.

Bethel Seminary San Diego Solar Panels

The installation of the solar panels on the roof of the Bethel Seminary San Diego building was completed in June 2016.

There were many mornings David Price would get up, turn to his wife Mary Ann, and share an innovative idea that came to him in the night. “He was a very creative person, and he would get these wonderful ideas to raise money for Bethel,” Mary Ann recalls. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what happened here.” 

In 2015, one of David’s ideas came to fruition: solar panels were installed on the roof of the Bethel Seminary San Diego (BSSD) building, an initiative made possible by a generous donation from David and Mary Ann themselves. 

The idea for these solar panels came to David after seeing how much BSSD was paying in electric bills—about $57,000 per year, according to Arnell Motz, then dean and executive officer of BSSD. It was David’s vision to use the savings from the solar panels to fund scholarships for seminary students with financial need.  

“David lived out a commitment to use his resources to train leaders for the church,” Motz says. “When I asked him why he invested in Bethel Seminary when he could have invested in San Diego State or some other large school with more recognition, he said, ‘I thought I could make a greater difference through Bethel Seminary.’”

The Prices’ support for Bethel began at College Avenue Baptist Church, where they were members and David served as vice chairman. According to Mary Ann, Bethel Seminary held classes in a space provided by the church at this time. “In the beginning, we didn’t know anything about Bethel,” she says, “but once David got involved, there was no stopping him.”

Solar Panel Donors David and Mary Ann Price

David and Mary Ann Price donated the necessary funds to install solar panels on the roof of Bethel Seminary San Diego.

David would eventually chair the first committee to raise the funds for BSSD’s building in the 1990s. Then, he chaired the second building campaign which was completed in 2013. “And when those funds were committed, he had the vision of raising scholarship money to help seminarians complete their education,” Motz says. “For David, the goal was not about having a building but enabling students to complete their training for their call to ministry.” 

David served on the BSSD Executive Board from 2005 until 2016 and on the Bethel University Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2008. He died in 2016, but his impact on seminary students will extend for years to come.

Bethel Seminary San Diego Building

Construction of the Bethel Seminary San Diego building was finished in 2013, completing the second building campaign chaired by David Price.

According to Jeannine Brown, interim co-vice president and dean of Bethel Seminary, the energy savings from the solar panels provided $36,500 in scholarships to be given to seminary students in 2017. “Each year going forward, about this same amount will be freed up for student scholarships,” she says. 

The solar panels were installed with a 25-year guarantee and an even longer projected life span, Motz says. As long as the solar panels continue to produce energy, the savings will be given to seminary students.

Beyond providing financial support to seminary students, the solar panels also help Bethel reduce its carbon footprint. “They witness in a very physical and practical way to our Christian ethic of creation care. In doing so, they also help make the gospel more credible,” says Glen Scorgie, professor of theology. “This is a real "win-win" for the seminary. We are proud of the panels and very grateful to our far-sighted donors.”

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Bethel Seminary offers master’s degrees, doctoral programs, and certificates for students wishing to become the leaders God is calling them to be. Our flexible options allow students to choose between face-to-face meetings in St. Paul or San Diego, a completely online program, or a hybrid option.

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