Crisp Arena Dedication Held


President Robert Prosser (left) and Harry L. Crisp II just moments after cutting the ribbon at Bethel University's new Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena.


The dedication of Bethel University’s Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena was held on Saturday, Aug. 4 prior to the school’s summer 2012 Commencement. On hand for the event was Harry L. Crisp II and family. The building was named for Crisp and for his late wife, Rosemary, who have had a longstanding commitment to education and who have contributed to Bethel’s Crisp Arena project.

     Crisp is the CEO of Pepsi MidAmerica, the largest individually owned Pepsi Bottler in the United States.

     Speaking at the dedication luncheon was Senator Roy Herron, who has known and worked with Crisp for many years.

     Herron pointed out that Pepsi MidAmerica was turning 76 years old this year.

     “During that 76 years, the company has never laid off a single employee,” he said.

     Herron went on to tell of other stories where Pepsi MidAmerica worked to do the right thing for its employees.  

     Herron also talked about the sobering statistics of regional employment and of higher education.

     Speaking to Crisp, Herron said, “Your generosity enables Bethel University to continue in new ways. I am sobered by the present, but hopeful because of people like you who continue to give to the educational process.”

     During Crisp’s remarks, he agreed with Herron that the world is in challenging times.

     “But I’m optimistic about what’s going to happen long term,” Crisp said. “We all have to pull together. We can’t encourage our jealousies. The solution is for all of us to live the correct life. One way to do that is by supporting education. It’s so rewarding to see students have opportunity in their lives. Partnering with Bethel– it was the right thing to do. We agree with what you are accomplishing here at Bethel.”

     During Commencement later that day, Crisp was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Bethel President Robert Prosser.

      “Because of your lifetime achievements in the business world and your expertise at organizational management at the highest level of industry and because of your devotion and commitment to higher education, I confer on you this honorary degree,” Prosser said.

     The Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena is the new home to Bethel University Wildcats Basketball.