Bethel College Celebrates 70th Commencement Exercises

Erin Kinzel

On Saturday, April 29, Bethel College will celebrate its 70th annual commencement exercises with approximately 450 students planning to participate. Commencement for adult programs, organizational management, Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) completion will take place at 10 a.m. Traditional undergraduate and graduate programs commencement will be held at 5 p.m. Both ceremonies will take place in the Wiekamp Athletic Center and will be live-streamed on the college’s website,

Graduation activities will also include a “Party at the Ponds” celebration for graduates and families, and a 50-year reunion for the class of 1967 who will lead this year’s graduates on the traditional walk through Bethel’s campus at the start of the 5 p.m. commencement ceremony. For more information about the weekend’s activities, visit

In celebration of Bethel’s 70th year, Indiana State Representative Timothy Wesco will share congratulatory remarks at the 10 a.m. ceremony and Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood will share congratulatory remarks at the 5 p.m. ceremony.

Other 70th year celebrations and activities have included:

  • Publishing Bethel’s first written history book, With Christ at the Helm: The History of Bethel College, by Professor of History Dennis Engbrecht, Ph.D.
  • Commissioning Hall of Fame editorial cartoonist, Gary Varvel, to create a series of six art panels depicting Bethel’s history and influence. View them at edu/Varvel.
  • Securing the college’s 70th, 71st, 72nd, 73rd and 74th endowed scholarships.
  • Being recognized by Resolution of the Indiana State Congress for Bethel’s positive impact on the state.
  • Publishing a special edition of the alumni magazine, looking back on Bethel’s first 70 years, and looking forward to our promising future by featuring eight members of the class of 2017. View the online edition at edu/Magazine.

Commencement speakers will be Varvel, local entrepreneur Don Clark, and Virginia (Schultz) Krake, 1949 graduate and one of two upper classmen who transferred to Bethel for its first semester of classes in 1947. Krake will be on the platform with one of her grandchildren, Emily (Rodgers) Sherwood, 1999 graduate and current director of alumni relations at the college, who will welcome the class of 2017 into the alumni association.