Alumni & Friends Association
Above: Bethel Alumni Association Co-Chairs Kip and Jodi Rush (far right) with daughters Madison and Devin and Jodi's mother, Linda Hearn, a Bethel staff member
A Note from the Co-Chairs
If you are reading this, then you share a unique distinction with us, you are a graduate or former student (or maybe even current student) of Bethel University. Well, for those of us a little older, we still refer to it as Bethel College. Either way, you have connections to this storied institution that helped form who you are today. The college years were those that helped shape where we would go into the “real world.” While some of us are still working in the fields we planned on, others have realized another path and followed it. Either way, Bethel helped you begin that journey.
At the last homecoming festivities, two surprising things happened. First, while driving around the new Bethel University campus, we almost got lost! Yes, as crazy as that sounds, the McKenzie campus has changed so much that for a brief moment, we had to stop and get our bearings. The addition of a new dorm, the work on a new student center and all the other work being done around campus is an exciting reminder that Bethel is continuing to grow and expand. What an exciting thing to say about our alma mater, that in 1986, only had about 500 students. Today, however, that number has increased to over 4,000 and not all of them attend in McKenzie. Now there are campuses in Chattanooga, Clarksville, Jackson, Memphis and Nashville. What a change!
The second surprise was, truthfully, not as exciting. It was before the alumni luncheon that we learned only 6% of Bethel alums give back to the school. 6%! Bethel has been in existence since 1842. Granted, those first graduates died years ago. But what about us? What about the thousands whose lives were impacted by this school or by one of its professors or facilitators? As alums, it is our responsibility to give something back. Our hope is that the percentage of alumni who give will increase greatly. Granted, we all don’t have millions to give, but we can spare something. Consider this a challenge to all alumni of Bethel: Give to your school. We like knowing that it is growing to the point that we get confused as we drive around campus, and part of the responsibility for us is to give back a little of what we received so it can continue to grow. As you peruse the new Bethel Alumni site, we hope it triggers some fond memories of your experience as a Bethel student. In the meantime, be thinking about getting together with other alums in your area and reconnecting with old friends.
-Grace and peace, Kip and Jodi Rush
Bethel Alumni Association, Co-Chairs