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Changing Lives Through Scholarships

The annual Scholarship Appreciation Dinner honors donors by recognizing their impact on scholarship recipients.

By Aiyanna Klaphake '20

November 11, 2019 | 1 p.m.

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2019 Scholarship Appreciation Dinner

Nearly 200 students, faculty, alumni, and other Bethel community members gathered to celebrate the continual support of Bethel’s donors at the annual Scholarship Appreciation Dinner on November 6. Sponsored by the Office of Planned Giving, the dinner connects scholarship donors with the recipients of their generosity. Students and their donors share a meal, swap stories of their college experiences, and put a face to the names that have had such a major impact on their lives.

"I’m so thankful," says Vice President of Planned Giving Dan Wiersum as he welcomes attendees, "for all the donors who support Bethel students year after year, who have a desire for Bethel education to continue for generations to come. The impact of scholarships today go far beyond the present."

"It's exciting to see Bethel grow and flourish during this time," President Jay Barnes says. "And it's important to recognize those who have given sacrificially to make it possible for our students to be here." Barnes also provided an overview of exciting school developments, from new campus construction to Bethel’s enduring dedication to distinctly Christian values. 

Applied Physics major Ben Harker '20 shared his firsthand experience as a scholarship recipient. "Far greater than the monetary value is the encouragement of knowing donors invested in me," he says. "It is very humbling to experience this generosity."

Kyongmin Song S'21, student of the M.A. in Theological Studies program, shared similar sentiments about receiving scholarships to study at Bethel Seminary. "A Seminary education is more important now than ever," he explains. "We need leaders who are developed emotionally, spiritually, and biblically. Your return on investment is felt in every community where our gifts are shared and people are transformed."

Donor Ralph Gustafson described the evolution of the newly created Scholarship Fund for Spanish-Speaking Students. The scholarship supports students enrolled in Introduction to Biblical Greek for Spanish Speakers, a class launched this fall and taught by renowned Professor of Biblical Studies Juan Hernández, Jr. "The scholarship allows men and women to pursue their understanding of Scripture in their language," Gustafson says to his fellow donors. "You enable those who couldn’t otherwise be here. Thank you for what you are doing. It’s greatly appreciated."

Chief Advancement Officer Jim Bender closed the evening with prayer and thanked donors for their attendance. "We hope [tonight] was a blessing to you. You are a blessing to us."

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