Bethany College (Kansas)
|Affiliation||Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)|
|Location||Lindsborg, Kansas, U.S.|
|Campus||Rural, 53 acres (21 ha)|
|Colors||Blue and Gold
Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). 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).
In July 2014, Bethany College announced the appointment of Dr. Robert Vogel as interim president. Dr. Vogel served as president of Wartburg College for 18 years and since retiring has served as interim president at other colleges and universities across the country.
Bethany College has 14 academic departments. The school offers majors focused in education, humanities, fine arts, sciences, and social sciences; minors ranging from business and sacred music to theater and art; teaching endorsements for all majors in education; and six pre-professional studies including medicine, law and, physical therapy.
Bethany College's athletic 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Notable alumni and faculty
- John Frykman, Lutheran minister and psychotherapist
- Harrison Keller, violinist and professor
- Ted Kessinger, football coach and College Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Emory Lindquist, 1930 Rhodes Scholar, Swedish-American historian, President of Bethany, President of Wichita State University
- Bruce Montgomery, composer, performer, painter conductor, director
- Wade Moore, baseball manager and college football coach
- Bennie Owen, football coach and College Football Hall of Fame inductee
- John Pfeiffer, classical music producer
- Birger Sandzen, artist, art professor at Bethany College
- Carl Aaron Swensson, Lutheran minister and President of Bethany College
- Connelley, William E (1918). "Carl Aaron Swensson". A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "President's Office". Bethany College. Bethany College. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
- Lindquist, Emory (1953). Smokey Valley People: A History of Lindsborg, Kansas. Kempton. pp. 108–110.
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