An Evening of Gratitude

Generations connect through their shared Bethel stories at the annual Scholarship Recognition Dinner.

By Katie Johnson ’19, student writer

May 01, 2019 | 2:30 p.m.

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If you happened to stumble to Bethel’s Underground on the evening of April 25, you would have found a room brimming with plates of delicious food, smiles, and a quiet roar of conversation as various generations shared their Bethel stories. Over 200 people attended Bethel’s annual Scholarship Recognition Dinner—an event that gives scholarship donors the opportunity to meet their recipients, and in turn, for students to thank their donors for making their Bethel journeys possible.

Bethel donors, we thank you.

“I give thanks to God for the special commitments your scholarships represent, recognizing that they come at a cost, that they come at a prioritization of helping students in today’s generation continue to move forward,” President Jay Barnes says as he studies the contented faces spread across the room.

“I’m extremely grateful for everything that Bethel has given me, and I would like to thank all the donors for giving back to the school and helping us students. You are all a true testimony for how gracious and loving this Bethel community is,” business and economics major Crosby Stein ’19 says. 

“Thank you for being instruments for God’s provision. That’s what you are: instruments of how God is working in a variety of students across the college and seminary,” says Kavan Rogness S’20, student of the Master of Divinity Program.

Along with time of fellowship, Associate Vice President for Planned Giving Dan Wiersum ’73 publicly interviewed donors Rod ’70, S’74, and Gwen (Peterson) Larson ’72 who have created a scholarship in their name this past year. They are both graduates of Bethel College, but their connections certainly don’t stop there. The Larsons shared stories about campus visits they coordinated for students from the church Rod worked at in Pennsylvania for years. Rod spoke fondly of the many Founders’ Weeks they attended, and they are both members of Bethel’s Coffee Club and the President’s Prayer Council. Each have organized their class’s reunions, and Gwen has served on the National Alumni Board. And they’ve donated more than their service and money; they’ve devoted a significant amount of time in prayer for the university as well. They treasure their relationships with fellow alumni so much that they want to help the next generation of Bethel students succeed in any way they can.

“There’s something different about Bethel,” says Chief Advancement Officer Jim Bender GS’17. “I look around the room and agree with what Jay said. You’re not just friends. You’re family. Thanks so much for being part of the Bethel family and giving so generously to these students who are pretty amazing young men and women.”

We wouldn’t be Bethel without you.