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Jim Bender - Associate Vice President for Alumni & Family Relations and Advancement Operations

Associate Vice President for Alumni & Family Relations and Advancement Operations

My history at Bethel is a bit unique. I remember coming to Bethel as a junior and senior high student for Evangelical Free Church district youth conferences. We were typical wild boys who dominated the hallways around campus! Bethel is also the place where my sister-in-law attended college, my dad taught as an adjunct professor, and my niece now attends. In 2017, I graduated from Bethel with my M.A. in Strategic Leadership. I am currently working on my doctorate in higher education administration.

Before Bethel

I had an amazing career in law enforcement in Dallas and Minneapolis and was able to do many things. I retired early and went into business, working for both an international real estate company and for a Fortune 50 retail company in Minneapolis. I also had the honor to serve as the director of alumni and development relations and engagement down the street at the the University of Northwestern. 

Best part of my job

The best part of my job is helping to connect alums with their alma mater. I enjoy hearing their Bethel stories and the many significant moments they experienced here, including professors who had a profound impact on their lives. I also enjoy interacting with parents as we partner with them through the life-changing aspects of sending a student off to college. 

My guiding Scripture verse

My guiding Scripture verse is Jeremiah 29:11. I’ve had opportunities to rest in the fact that God knew the plans He had for my life even though I didn’t know what was next.

In my free time

In my free time I enjoy visiting with my three married children and their spouses as well as spending time with my five grandsons and two granddaughters. My wife Rachelle and I enjoy traveling, watching movies, and attending sporting events.