Bethany College (Kansas)

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Bethany College
Bethany College (KS) logo.png
Established 1881
Type Private
Religious affiliation Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
President Edward F. Leonard III
Students 600
Undergraduates 600
Location Lindsborg, Kansas, USA
Campus Rural, 53 acres (21 ha)
Colors Blue and Gold
Sports NAIA:17
Mascot Terrible Swedes
Affiliations NAIA, KCAC

Bethany College is a small liberal arts college located in Lindsborg, Kansas and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).


Bethany College at the turn of the twentieth century

Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA). Swedish-Lutheran settlers worked with the Rev. Dr. Carl Aaron Swensson, Bethany’s founder, to establish Bethany Academy on October 15, 1881, in the sacristy of Bethany Lutheran Church in Lindsborg, Kansas, with ten students. Growing rapidly, Bethany evolved from Academy through 1885, to Bethany Normal Institute in 1887, to Bethany College in 1889. Notable Bethany presidents in the 20th century include Rev. Dr. Ernst Frederick Wilhelm Pihlblad (1873–1943), who was a Professor from 1895 to 1904, and president from 1905 to 1941. Under Pihlblad, Bethany was accredited and became a member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Under the watch of Emory K. Lindquist (1908–1922), who took office of president in 1943, Bethany survived war troubles, grew in post-war America and improved its reputation. He is the author of Bethany in Kansas: The History of a College (1975).[1]

In May 2007, Bethany College announced the appointment of Dr. Edward F. Leonard III as the college's 13th president. Leonard previously served as Vice President for College Advancement at Wilmington College.[2]

Lindsborg, Kansas[edit]

A town of 3,400 people, Lindsborg is a town of Swedish heritage that actively preserves it. Seasonal festivals such as Svensk Hyllningsfest and Midsummer’s Day attract thousands of visitors to the area. The architecture downtown reflects a traditional Scandinavian style, and Wild Dala Horses-a symbol of Swedish folk craft-can be viewed around town and on campus.


Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas

• Since 1903, when the “Terrible Swedes” were feared and respected by all opponents, students and alumni have rallied Bethany athletic competition with the “Rockar! Stockar!” cheer.

• Every year since 1882, Bethany Oratorio Society has presented Handel's Messiah at the college-the longest-running annual performances in North America. [3]

• The walk from Bethany Lutheran Church. In honor of its founding in the sacristy of Bethany Lutheran Church, students traditionally walk to the church for a welcome service on their first day at Bethany as freshmen. Then, before the baccalaureate services on the day of their commencement, Bethany seniors line up in front of Bethany Lutheran Church for a traditional procession to Presser Hall on campus.

• The ringing of the bell. When a Swedes athletics team wins conference, they gather in front of Hahn Gymnasium to ring the bell and spread the news to the rest of the campus, regardless of what time of day-or night-it may be.

• Lift High the Cross. Each year during Homecoming week, Bethany students celebrate the college’s heritage of faith by lifting high a wooden cross in the gazebo. Students sign up for shifts so that the cross is held high during every hour of the week.

• 352. The number of feet out that the fence is for a home run in Anderson Stadium. 352 is also the place all Swedes baseball fans gather to cheer.


Bethany College consists of 14 academic departments; with majors focused in Education, Humanities, Fine Arts, Sciences, and Social Sciences; minors ranging from Business to Theatre; Teaching Endorsements for all majors in education; and 6 pre-professional studies including Medicine, Law and physical therapy.

EBEs (Experience-Based Education) An EBE is an internship-for-credit program at Bethany College. Students earn academic credit while job shadowing or interning. The program can be completed during any of Bethany’s four semesters. Up to 15 semester hours credit can be earned toward graduation through EBEs. Tuition for EBE credit is assessed at the same rate as all other credits for that particular term.

Study Abroad Bethany Students connect with the American Institute of Foreign Studies, which provide study abroad programs in 19 countries. Also, Karlstad University and Harlaxton College are programs of interest among students.

Student life[edit]

Residential Full-time students live on campus and participate in one of our meal plans. Bethany College's residential campus facilitates the academic and personal success of each student. There are multiple dorms on campus, including: Anna Marm (an all female dorm), Alma Swensson Hall (ASH; an all male dorm), Gregory & Warner (the two co-ed dorms on campus), and the Swede Suites which are apartment-style living quarters for upperclassmen.

Student Organizations Your Bethany education is not limited to classrooms, labs, and textbooks; it includes your participation in our campus community. In addition to the activities themselves, groups like these introduce you to new people, gain valuable leadership experience and make a difference at Bethany and beyond. With over 45 different organizations to choose from at Bethany, one that stands out is SGA(Swede Government Association) which represents all full-time Bethany students. SGA distributes student activity funds to sanctioned student organizations and advocates for students with the college administration. There are also 4 sororities and 3 fraternities; Greek Council, the governing body for the Greek Organizations; departmental clubs and organizations focused on a career field or academic discipline; and national honor societies.

Student Media The Bethanian is the Bethany College annual yearbook, created by Bethany students for Bethany students. The Bethanian is funded by SGA. The Bethany Messenger is the official student newspaper of the college. Written, edited and published by students, it is published during the fall and spring semesters, usually biweekly. Publication of Messenger is funded by SGA


Main article: Bethany Swedes

Bethany College teams are known as the Terrible Swedes or Swedes. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and competes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]

An entrance to Bethany College


  1. ^ Connelley, William E (1918). "Carl Aaron Swensson". A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "President’s Office". Bethany College. Bethany College. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Lindquist, Emory (1953). Smokey Valley People: A History of Lindsborg, Kansas. Kempton. pp. 108–110. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°34′48.2″N 97°40′22.7″W / 38.580056°N 97.672972°W / 38.580056; -97.672972