(The President's Letter, December 2013)
This is the time of year when our College pauses to evaluate the hard work of the fall semester. Thanksgiving break has come and gone, and the final few frantic days before the Christmas season are filled with bringing the semester to a close. Seniors look forward to presenting their senior projects and preparing for comps, and almost all students are busily finishing papers and studying for exams. Some will return for January Term, while others will take trips abroad to other nations—a Bethany tradition as part of our global-studies initiative.
The Office of Enrollment Management hosts its final campus tours for the year, and Institutional Advancement counts year-end gifts from alumni and friends. Some student-athletes take a breather from competition, while for others, the full winter and spring schedule looms ahead. The campus sees its last round of receptions and special events, including concerts and exhibits, Light-Up Night’s tribute to the many ways this season of light is celebrated, and other commemorations of the waning days of fall term and the approach of the winter season.
It’s a special time of the year for paying tribute to those whose devotion to the College makes all the difference in our success.
First and foremost, we thank our faculty for their outstanding commitment to good teaching, advising, and mentoring of our students, as well as their own scholarship as professional academicians. At a time when the climate of higher education remains volatile, with the emergence of online courses, branch campuses, and new learning technologies, the heart of Bethany College remains its faculty. In every department of the College, faculty members excel as leadership role models, invaluable career counselors, and sources of lifelong guidance and wisdom. We add to this expression of appreciation our emeritus and retired faculty, many of whom remain in or close to Bethany and whose continued devotion to the College takes many forms.
The College cannot function without administrative support. These staff members keep our historic campus in good condition, house and feed our students, coach and train our athletes, offer counseling and learning resources, recruit incoming students, maintain our technology and equipment, raise dollars for scholarships, and care for many other areas of the operation. Often the unsung, invisible heroes of Bethany, they are critical to the delivery of our educational mission and student services. We thank our tireless administrative staff for their professionalism and attention to the many details that define our institution.
We thank our students for enriching our lives with their energy, intellectual gifts, volunteer service, and artistic and athletic talents. Honored that you chose Bethany College for your academic careers, we pledge to you again our commitment to your life and career success, and a truly lifelong relationship with Bethanians across the generations.
Bethany enjoys the generous support of alumni and friends throughout the world. Their financial commitment helps us to close the gap between what we can charge in tuition and fees, and the true cost of a quality liberal arts education. They have entrusted their dollars to a winning educational tradition of nearly 174 years at Bethany, and like most institutions of higher education, we simply cannot keep the doors open to the College without private giving. To all who support our College in this way, we send a special and heartfelt thank-you for your support in 2013. And we invite your renewed giving during the closing days of this year and in 2014.
To our special friends in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), our founding denomination, we say thank you for a year of exceptional engagement with the College that Alexander Campbell founded so long ago. From Buffalo Seminary programming for Church leaders and those who participated in the Scott Lectures, to the volunteers who help to care for Campbell Mansion and the Disciples Men who constructed the new Prayer Labyrinth, we say thank you, and we look forward to working with you in the new year to reaffirm our historic commitment to the Church.
Finally, Bethany College benefits immeasurably from the talent, time, and treasure of its Board of Trustees and Alumni Council. Led by Bethanians Greg Jordan and Robert McCann, the Trustees have provided significant leadership during 2013, and offered complete support for the educational enterprise in ways that are historic, lasting, and wise. The Alumni Council, led by Bruce Fahey and Patrick Hosey, has developed innovative programming and a strong leadership presence among Bethanians, including a growing roster of individual class agents. We thank our alumni leaders for their love of the College that is expressed through conscientious service to Alma Mater.
To everyone, Annie and I thank you for your friendship and support. We offer our warmest greetings for the holiday season, and our sincere hopes that the new year will bring you back home to A Small College of National Distinction.