Bethel University’s class of ’24 steps into the world with faith and purpose

On Saturday, May 25, Bethel celebrated the achievements of its graduates from the university’s undergraduate, adult undergrad, and seminary programs. From overcoming challenges to embracing new opportunities, these graduates are ready to make an impact in the world. About 545 students from all programs graduated over the weekend.

By Macey Heath, social media content specialist

May 30, 2024 | 2 p.m.


As she and her fellow graduates embark on their journey, nursing graduate Tracee Dehaan ’24 imparts a vital piece of advice for all graduates. “As we move forward into this next chapter, it may be the most challenging season yet,” she said. “However, I urge you to remember that in those times of discomfort and uncertainty, lean into the Father's hands. You are not alone in this journey, and you are more than capable of overcoming what lies ahead.”

Her words resonated throughout the reflections of graduating speakers across Bethel's programs—who echoed sentiments of resilience, faith, and determination, culminating in the spirit that defines Bethel’s class of 2024. From the College of Arts & Sciences, 382 graduates from 20 states crossed the stage, alongside 11 students from the BUILD program. The College of Adult & Professional Studies (CAPS) celebrated the achievements of its 15 graduates, while Bethel Graduate School celebrated 37 graduates and Bethel Seminary 39.


College of Arts & Sciences (CAS)

Reese Thompson ’24, a business: marketing graduate, spoke on behalf of the CAS graduating class and emphasized the transformative power of love and service. He encouraged his classmates to consider 1 John 4:19—“We love because He first loved us”—as they enter the next phase of their lives and engage with the world and act as ambassadors of God. “Over the last four years, I have learned how to see God at work in everything—in work, in school, in sports, and even in the Dining Center,” he said.  

Thompson shared about how professors engaged him in meaningful conversations to prepare him and other students with the knowledge and skills needed their future careers, and they engaged them in conversations about faith and identity, ethics in the workplace, and their own experiences. “The personal impact of Bethel professors and the evidence of their own walks with Christ is what makes this education unique and worth investing in,” he said. “I believe as we come out of this room, those of us who have embraced the education from this institution will be transformed.”

Nursing graduate Tracee Dehaan ’24 echoed Thompson's sentiment, emphasizing the importance of community and support. "Bethel has molded and shaped me into who I am today,” she said. Citing Isaiah 64:8, Dehann continued: “And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. These years are when you experience being the clay, and God is the Potter. Sometimes, it does feel uncomfortable being pressed, molded, and shaped into the person He wants you to become.” But she added the Lord teaches perseverance and provides support in those overwhelming moments. “If you're willing to embrace discomfort and trust that the Lord is shaping something beautiful, the results exceed your expectations,” she said.

"Bethel has molded and shaped me into who I am today. These years are when you experience being the clay, and God is the Potter.”

— Tracee Dehann ‘24, CAS Graduate

Soraya Keiser ’24, a journalism and international relations graduate, shared poignant advice she received from a mentor. “Don’t say no to yourself—have them say no to you. It became my guiding principle for my final year at Bethel,” Keiser said.

Keiser reflected on applying for an Edgren Scholars grant to create a documentary. Initially, she feared she had no idea how to make a documentary. “But I didn’t say no,” Keiser said. “The end product, Border of Dreams, became one of the most rewarding parts of my college career, enabling me to share social justice stories on an international scale.”

"Don’t say no to yourself—have them say no to you.”

— Soraya Keiser ’24, CAS Graduate

Keiser encouraged her fellow graduates as they take their next steps. “I have faith in this class of graduates. Your Bethel education has helped you grow in identity and faith, and I pray that you may not waver when faced with the possibility of what comes next,” she concluded.


Graduate School

For Brittany Corso GS’24, who earned an M.S. in Nurse Midwifery, her time as a student was marked by sacrifice—long nights of study, miles traveled, and moments missed with loved ones. Yet, in her sacrifice, she found purpose and meaning. “We have sacrificed so much to be in these graduation gowns,” Corso said. “This day represents more than a diploma. It’s a testament to our perseverance, our resilience, and our unwavering commitment to service.”

Corso acknowledged admiration for her classmates and the diverse paths they had all traveled to reach this moment. Corso referenced Proverbs 27: 17—"As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another”—as she expressed gratitude that Bethel brought her and her classmates together. “Bethel has brought all of us together, and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful,” she said. “As a cohort, we learned to share experiences and uplift each other because together, we are better.”

Corso’s words reflect the bright future that lies ahead for the graduates of Bethel’s Graduate School. "May the fire and passion that brought us here and started the journey within us be fueled by the desire to serve," she concluded.

“Proverbs Chapter 27, Verse 17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another. As a cohort, we learned to share experiences and elevate each other through this transition because together, we are better.”

— Brittany Corso GS‘24


Tito Wanyonyi S‘24, Doctor of Ministry graduate, expressed gratitude for the transformative journey he and his classmates experienced during their time at Bethel. He paid tribute to the seminary faculty and staff, whose support shaped and molded them into the men and women they became. “This would not have been possible were it not for the tireless and unwavering commitment of our Bethel faculty," he said. "You have not expended yourselves on us—you have invested yourselves in us."

“We’re prepared to fulfill our callings with greater skill, greater capacity, and greater commitment to the glory of God and for the good of His church.”

— Tito Wanyonyi S‘24

Drawing inspiration from the apostle Paul's words to Timothy, Wanyonyi spoke of their shared calling as servants of God. "Commencement means the beginning of something. And so, we leave Bethel Seminary reenergized, renewed, and more confident as servants of our God, ready to commence our own respective journeys,” he said. “We’re prepared to fulfill our callings with greater skill, greater capacity, and greater commitment to the glory of God and for the good of His church; the body of our Lord Jesus Christ for which He died, resurrected, and forever lives.”

Adult Undergrad

College of Adult & Professional Studies (CAPS)

Andrew Hanson CAPS’24, who earned a B.A. in Psychology, emphasized the significance of each graduate’s unique journey. "Our paths here are anything but conventional," Hanson said. "But it's those twists and turns that have shaped us into the resilient, adaptable individuals we are today."

He highlighted the diverse backgrounds and experiences of his classmates, underscoring their shared commitment to overcoming obstacles and achieving success. “All that hard work has paid off,” he said. “We’ve all accomplished something to be proud of, to share with the world.”

Concluding his speech, Hanson reminded graduates of a new beginning, filled with fresh opportunities. “Today, we stand on the brink of a new chapter," he said. "Armed with the knowledge, skills, and experiences we've gained at Bethel, we're ready to take on whatever challenges lie ahead. Congratulations, my fellow graduates. Our journey doesn't end here—it's only just beginning."

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