The Top Stories of 2022

As 2022 comes to a close and we reflect on a year filled with moments to remember—let’s recap the top Bethel news stories of 2022 to see how far we’ve all come.

By Katie Johnson ’19, content specialist

December 31, 2022 | 2 p.m.

The top 10 stories of 2022 highlight significant moments within the Bethel community over the last year.

The top 10 stories of 2022 highlight significant moments within the Bethel community over the last year.

Full of both momentous occasions and the consistent tasks of the day-to-day, 2022 was certainly one to remember. As the year comes to a close, it’s important to reflect on how far we’ve come, to measure our growth, successes, dreams, desires, and goals so we can look to the future with faith and hope for what’s to come. As we look back upon the top articles of the year, it’s clear what matters most to the Bethel community: construction on campus, expanding academic programs, impacting the Kingdom, and growing the community.

Without further ado, here are the top Bethel news stories of 2022. 

#10 Picture This: Bethel University Then and Now

When Bethel was founded in 1871, it would have been hard to fathom how much the world would change in the next 150 years—let alone how much Bethel itself would change. But while the name, location, programs, and campus evolved over the past 150 years, Bethel’s core identity always remained: a foundation of faith, a commitment to academic excellence, and a uniquely supportive community that feels like home to Bethel students, generation after generation. Travel through time in this visual exploration of our 150-year history as an academic institution centered on Christ.

Bodien Residence Hall Lobby | 1986 (inset) and 2021 | photo held by Colby Johnson ’25, political science and business major

Bodien Residence Hall Lobby | 1986 (inset) and 2021 | photo held by Colby Johnson ’25, political science and business major

#9 Bethel Launches New Master of Science in Medical Sciences Program

The M.S. in Medical Sciences degree is designed to equip students for success in future medical professional programs and as they enter the workforce. The MSMS program serves as a stepping stone for students between their undergraduate experience and their next career move, whether that’s pursuing additional schooling or entering the workforce. “Graduates of the MSMS program will leave Bethel with new knowledge, new experiences, and new relationships—all of which will equip them to excel in whatever is next on their health science pathway," says Chad Osgood, Bethel's dean of business, leadership, health, and social sciences. 

#8 Bethel Expands Early College Programming

Once only an option for high school seniors, Bethel’s PSEO courses are now open to Minnesota high school juniors, as well. This change makes it possible for students who begin courses their junior year to complete Bethel’s 60-credit associate’s degree by the time they graduate from high school. Regardless of whether students choose to pursue an associate’s degree, they’ll leave their PSEO experience with college credits that can either count toward a bachelor’s degree at Bethel or be easily transferred to another institution. 

#7 Transformational Gift Propels Campaign Beyond Goal

On April 26, more than 300 Bethel community members gathered to celebrate Bethel’s 150-year history—and to make some of their own. Colin Barr ’84, former chair of the board of trustees, recounted campaign highlights: The Called to More campaign was launched in 2016 with a stretch goal of $150 million, well beyond what was recommended by advisors. Yet as trustees and campaign committee members fervently prayed together, they felt called to set the goal at that ambitious $150 million threshold. Barr then made the surprise announcement that although eight months still remain in the campaign, God has already blessed Bethel with $163 million in campaign gifts. This unprecedented milestone was reached through the ongoing generosity of many donors, as well as one transformational gift—the largest gift in Bethel’s history.

#6 Meet the Class of 2026!

Like years passed, Welcome Week 2022 was filled with energy and excitement as Bethel's newest Royals were embraced by the community. After a warm greeting from Welcome Week staff, incoming students experienced a variety of Welcome Week favorites, like the lakeside picnic, an outdoor movie, Koinonia, and The Show. This year’s schedule also featured a Transfer Connection Event, Commuter Kickoff, and a Cultural Connections Dessert to celebrate diversity at Bethel.

#5 Bethel Alum Leads U.S. Women’s Hockey Team at Beijing Olympics

Joel Johnson ’96, GS’07, a former standout Bethel athlete and coach, served as head coach of the U.S. women’s hockey team at the Winter Games after leading the team to a silver medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Ice Hockey Women's World Championship summer 2021. "It is an incredible honor to be given this opportunity as it simply doesn't get any more special as an athlete or a coach than to represent your country at the highest level,” says Johnson.

#4 Bethel Faculty Pen Daily Devotional for Lent 

Professor of History Chris Gehrz spearheaded Centered on Jesus: A Lenten Devotional from the Faculty of Bethel University. The collection of 47 devotionals written by 48 Bethel faculty and staff members—a pair co-wrote one piece—span from Ash Wednesday through Holy Week and Easter. Centered on Jesus is an online PDF that consists of page-long devotionals, each featuring a Bible verse, a 200-300-word reflection, and then a closing prayer. The entries cover traditional Lenten themes like sin, mortality, redemption, and salvation. 

#3 “I’m Teaching the Future”

Becoming a doctor wasn’t his childhood dream. In fact, Erik Brodt ’02, M.D., decided to go to medical school the week before it started. But the decision proved to be the right one, both for Brodt, who is Ojibwe, and the many Native American voices he lifts up. Now he’s a physician, an associate professor of family medicine, and a passionate advocate for American Indian/Alaska Natives in health professions. In recognition of his work, he’s been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine.

#2 Meet Bethel’s Newest Faculty Members

The College of Arts & Sciences welcomed seven new faculty members to the Bethel community this fall. Bethel’s faculty members make a profound difference in their classes and beyond, impacting students long after graduation. They’re not only credentialed scholars with real world experience; they’re also compassionate individuals of faith. Motivated to support students during one of the most transformative seasons of their lives, they lead every lecture, experiment, discussion, and rehearsal from a uniquely Christian perspective. 

#1 Bethel Completes First Outdoor Track as Royal Stadium Upgrades Near the Finish Line 

Over the summer, Bethel University reached a historic milestone, completing the first outdoor track at Royal Stadium. And it’s getting rave reviews from coaches and runners! Though work remains for the athletics portion of the Called to More campaign, more than $5 million in donations have already helped add turf to the football field; jump, vault, and throws areas for track and field; and improvements for fans.


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