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Care for Students Lives On

A benevolent fund in memory of Marilyn Starr, provided through her estate, honors and perpetuates her legacy of caring for students.

By Michelle Westlund '83, senior content specialist

October 18, 2019 | 4:30 p.m.

Marilyn Starr

Marilyn Starr served at Bethel for 16 years.

In her 16-year career as a dean in Bethel’s student life office, Marilyn Starr offered support, encouragement, and care to hundreds of Bethel students. “Marilyn’s passion was always the students,” says her niece Nancy Starr. “She was all about trying to be creative in helping kids with emergencies and challenging situations of all kinds, whether they were spiritual, emotional, or physical in nature.”

Though Marilyn died in October 2018, she continues to care for students through a newly created benevolent fund in her memory, the Marilyn Starr Endowment for Student Care, funded by a charitable bequest to Bethel in her living trust. In keeping with her passion for supporting students, the fund will provide awards to College of Arts & Sciences students with emergency personal financial need, such as airfare home for a family emergency, at the discretion of Bethel’s dean of student programs.

At Bethel, Starr was a compassionate mentor to many students over the years, using her influence to give a voice to women and others who were marginalized. Judy Moseman, vice president of student life emerita, remembers Starr as “everyone’s mentor and friend. Her investment in me as a student and her support of me as a colleague were great gifts.”

Since Starr’s time at Bethel, services for student life have expanded to reflect an ongoing commitment to helping students develop holistically. Student activities and services support growth and wellbeing—spiritually, emotionally, physically, and socially. Support for students encompasses multiple areas, including academic support and and tutoring; career development; health and counseling services; intercultural, international, and commuter programs; and accessibility resources.

As demographics at Bethel have become more diverse, so have opportunities for students to learn and grow from understanding different perspectives. Yet a shared commitment to Christ draws them all together. Students work toward mutual understanding, respect, peace, justice, and reconciliation, just as Starr did during her Bethel years.

Starr died October 31, 2018, in Isanti, Minnesota, at 89 years old, but her impact extends far beyond her lifetime. Befitting a life well-lived and a legacy well planned, Starr’s care for students lives on in perpetuity. “Marilyn’s legacy is part of the lasting fabric of Bethel,” says Sande Traudt, associate professor of social work. With the new benevolent fund established in Starr’s honor, that legacy will not only be a lasting memory for students and colleagues of the past, but a continuing source of practical help and support for Bethel students of the future.

 

 

 

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