Bethel University Welcomes Freshly Minted Alumni

On December 20, 2019, 224 people graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Adult & Professional Studies, and the Graduate School just in time for the holidays.

By Katie Johnson '19

January 03, 2020 | 2:15 p.m.

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Winter Commencement 2019

“We are proud to have you represent Bethel as our newest alumni,” Director of Alumni and Family Relations Jennifer Scott ’95 said to the class of 2019 during the Winter Commencement ceremonies. “Much of what the public will believe, read, hear, and think about this place will largely be based on actions of graduates like you. Your future achievements, the ways in which you work and serve others, and the values by which you live will all reflect upon the missional values of Bethel.”

On December 20, 2019, Bethel’s College of Arts & Sciences (CAS), the College of Adult & Professional Studies (CAPS), and the Graduate School (GS) together welcomed 224 alumni to their ranks, and combined with those that completed their programs in May, 1,030 students graduated from all four schools in 2019. The most popular CAS majors were business, biology, and education, while the most popular CAPS majors were organizational leadership and business management. At the graduate level, the largest programs represented were physician assistant and strategic leadership.

On their way to Benson Great Hall, the graduates proceeded through the Lundquist Community Life Center to find their professors dressed in academic regalia cheering them on. Once everyone found their seats and the last note on the organ rang through the auditorium, President Jay Barnes’s familiar presence set the tone for the rest of the ceremony, especially as he shared who the Winter Commencement speaker would be. “At commencement ceremonies, it is my goal to have as our speaker someone I want you to be more like. Today is no exception,” he said. “Her love for students, her love for Bethel, and her love for Jesus make her the type of example I want all of you to emulate as you leave Bethel.”

Linda Goodwin ’79 graduated from Bethel with a degree in psychology and spent most of her professional career in banking. But she harbored a special love for working with young people, and that led her to volunteer much of her time and energy toward influencing the next generation. She has been on the BethelBiz Board since 2013 and launched a mentorship program for Bethel’s Business and Economics Department, where she currently serves as the mentorship director. She is a governor on the Bethel Foundation Board and is on Bethel’s Board of Trustees as well. She also leads a number of small groups at her church, where her heart for mentoring others finds a home.

Though she holds numerous leadership roles, her commencement address stressed that ordinary people could change the world. She encouraged each graduate to recognize that they didn’t have to have exceptional or influential positions to make a difference. “Ordinary people can change the world. We all have the power to change the world because, to change the world, all you need to do is change one life. What you do for others inspire others to do the same,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin’s love for Bethel is evident based on the way she talks about the people she’s encountered within this community. She shared multiple stories about how both Bethel students and alumni have profoundly affected her, whether they knew it or not, and it is with her memory of these special encounters that she told the 2019 graduates, “Bethel has prepared you well to live a life of significance—a life of extraordinary kingdom impact. Graduates, you are ready to change the world one ordinary act at a time, for God’s glory and our neighbors’ good.”

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Bethel has been a leader and model in Christian higher education since 1871. For generations, our fusion of evangelical faith with top-ranked academics has transformed women and men, preparing them for unique callings in the kingdom of God. Bethel offers programs for traditional undergraduate students in over 100 areas of study, flexible programs for adult undergraduate degree completion, plus graduate and seminary programs that are offered both online and face-to-face.

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