This year, more than 415 students plan to participate in Bethel College’s two commencement ceremonies, which will be held Saturday, May 4, in the Wiekamp Athletic Center on Bethel’s campus. This will be the last class to graduate from Bethel College before we become Bethel University on May 6. The 10 a.m. commencement includes adult programs, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) completion and graduate programs. The 5 p.m. commencement includes all traditional undergraduate programs, Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Graduation activities include a party at the ponds on the evening of May 3 for graduates and families, nurse pinning, and a 50-year reunion for the class of 1969, who will lead this year’s graduates on the traditional walk through Bethel’s campus at the start of the commencement ceremony. For more information about the weekend’s graduation activities, visit the commencement web page.
The speaker for both ceremonies will be alumnus Ian Lightcap ’03, who currently works as Research and Facilities Program Director at the Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy) at University of Notre Dame, helping researchers make new discoveries. While he was a student at Bethel, Lightcap was a First Year Experience (FYE) block mentor, speaker of the student senate, and resident assistant. In 2003 he graduated from Bethel with a double-major in Science Education and Chemistry. Lightcap taught at Clay High School for three years. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, and in 2012 was recipient of the “Outstanding Graduate Student” award. Lightcap’s research has spanned many fields, including nuclear waste containment, improved catalysts for renewable energy applications, and new sensors for the detection of chemical weapons and explosives. He currently serves as one of four principle leaders of the Center for Sustainable Energy at the University of Notre Dame (ND Energy), as the Research and Facilities Program Director of the Materials Characterization Facility. Under his direction, the facility has grown from 30 to 250 active researchers, in both academia and industry, and from 11 to over 25 analytical instruments. In 2015, he was the recipient of the University of Notre Dame’s Presidential Achievement Award for Excellence. Ian and his wife Joy (Laurent) (a Bethel alumna) have four children and are active members of South Bend City Church.