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Royal Heritage Society Donors Celebrate "The Bethel Difference"

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Bethel celebrated their generous donors on May 11 at the Royal Heritage Society Dinner sponsored by the Office of Planned Giving. The nearly 400 guests included members of Bethel’s Royal Heritage Society as well as other top donors. All had the opportunity to socialize with fellow Bethel supporters, enjoy a delicious dinner provided by Sodexo, and hear from a number of students and staff on “The Bethel Difference.”

Associate Vice President for Planned Giving Dan Wiersum welcomed everyone and introduced the theme for the evening, “The Bethel Difference,” emphasizing the aspects of Bethel that set it apart from other educational institutions.

Mikayla Holmgren ’18, a second-year student in the Bethel University Inclusive Learning and Development (BUILD) program, led prayer before the dinner. Holmgren won the Spirit of Miss USA Award after participating in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant last fall and receiving national attention for being the first contestant with Down syndrome to compete in the pageant. Holmgren said the time she’s spent at Bethel has been a “life-changing experience” that has allowed her to learn to “trust God and be more independent.”

Deb Harless, executive vice president and provost, shared updates about exciting new opportunities at Bethel, including the launch of an electrical engineering program, new software and computer engineering majors, and a number of seminary and graduate school degrees. Harless also described the changes taking place in the business and economics department, including the new facilities being developed for the 2018-19 academic year. These new facilities will feature a finance lab funded by Thrivent Asset Management, an affiliate of Thrivent Financial—a company that provided $1 million for Bethel finance students to gain hands-on experience managing an investment fund.

Pamela Lebert ’21, an Act Six  scholar studying social work and Spanish, described her appreciation for the donors’ financial support that made it possible for her to attend Bethel. She explained that her Bethel experience has been challenging but that it has also changed her life by providing incredible opportunities. She said “being surrounded by people who care about Jesus” while at Bethel has encouraged her in her faith.

Director of Marketing Michael Vedders spoke about Bethel’s brand image and how Bethel’s devotion to service and excellence sets Bethel apart from other colleges and universities. He explained how Bethel’s dedication to living out its mission and values is clearly demonstrated by the servanthood displayed by students, staff, faculty, and alumni, identifying Bethel as “different,” a place where “excellence is about something more.”

Wiersum concluded the dinner by sharing several statistics about Planned Giving’s success over the last year. Planned Giving received $1.3 million to put toward new scholarship funds as well $17 million in new planned gifts which included their largest single donation yet.

Learn more about the Bethel Royal Heritage Society.