- Dale Kelley, Mayor for the town of Huntingdon and Athletic Director at Bethel University, will be the commencement speaker for the school’s Fall 2014 graduation on Saturday, Dec. 6. Kelley, who has served six consecutive terms as Mayor of Huntingdon, has extensive experience in local, county and state government. He has served as a Carroll County Commissioner, Assessor of Property for Carroll County, Chairman and Secretary of the Carroll County Republican Executive Committee, and as the Carroll County Savings Bond Committee Chairman. He is the current Secretary/Treasurer of the Carroll County Watershed Authority, and he served for nine years on the Carroll County Vocational Education School Board. For the town of Huntingdon, he served nine years on the Huntingdon Special School District Board of Education, he is a past president of the Huntingdon Chamber of Commerce, and he is a former Huntingdon Town Council Member. Kelley was chairman of the Huntingdon Industrial Development Board for four years as well. At the state level, Kelley served three terms in the Tennessee State House of Representatives where he served as a member of the Statewide Health Coordinating Council, the State and Local Government Committee, the Fiscal Review Committee and the House Education Committee. He also served as the Tennessee Commissioner of Employment Security under Gov. Lamar Alexander and as the Tennessee Commissioner of Transportation. He was appointed by Gov. Don Sundquist to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and he has served as a Senior Advisor and as a Special Assistant to Gov. Bill Haslam. On the national level, Kelley was appointed in 1986 by then President Ronald Reagan to serve on the National Advisory Council on Adult Education. Kelley has served on numerous governmental association boards holding a number of leadership positions in them as well. Under Kelley’s leadership, the 1,000-Acre Recreational Lake in Carroll County was completed in 2010, and he led the vision and development of the Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center. In the sports arena, Kelley is an inductee in the Bethel Athletic Hall of Fame, the TSSAA Hall of Fame, the Carroll County Sports Hall of Fame, and The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame where he currently serves on the Board of Directors. Kelley has been an on-court basketball official for the SEC, the OVC, the SunBelt, the SWC, and the Metro sports conferences. He worked nine consecutive NCAA tournaments, and he was selected to officiate three NCAA Final Four competitions. Kelley has served as the coordinator of the Officials Basketball Alliance which is made up of the Big 12, Conference USA, SunBelt, Southland Conference and the Ohio Valley Conference. He has conducted clinics for basketball officials at the request of the U.S. Air Force in both Germany and England. Furthermore, he has served as the president of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). He has also served as the NCAA Division I Coordinator of Officials President and as an At Large TSSAA Supervisor. He has served as Bethel Athletic Director since July 2012. Approximately 330 students are scheduled to graduate during the 10 a.m. ceremony which will be held in the Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena on Bethel’s McKenzie campus. Seating begins at 8:30 a.m. For more information about Bethel Commencement, contact Myra Carlock at email@example.com or at 731-352-4090.
- Traditional undergraduate students enrolled in Bethel University’s 2015-16 school year will see no increase in tuition, room or board from the current academic year according to President Walter Butler. The decision to keep tuition, room and board the same for another year came after the Bethel Board of Trustees voted unanimously at their November meeting for no increase. “The Board of Trustees felt that student costs for a higher education have been going up nationally at a very fast rate,” Butler said. “And they very much wanted to do what they could to make college as affordable as possible and to help keep student debt down.” Bethel University has long been one of Tennessee’s most affordable private 4-year institutions. Of the 31 private 4-year member institutions in the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) who offer undergraduate degrees, Bethel was bested by only six other schools with lower tuition. Tuition and fees for Bethel during 2014-15 was $15,714 which is well below the $22,683 average of TICUA member institutions. With room and board, the total to attend Bethel is $24,496. A story published in October 2013 in U.S. News and World Report stated that the price index for college tuition grew by nearly 80 percent between August 2003 and August 2013. That is nearly twice as fast as growth in costs in medical care, another area widely recognized for fast-rising prices. It’s also more than twice as fast as the overall consumer price index during that same period. The same article said that tuition growth is beginning to be slower than in recent years. However, tuition rates are still growing faster than household incomes. “Keeping our tuition the same for another year doesn’t mean the value of our educational product is any less,” Butler said. “Providing a quality product is always a priority. But for us, making that education affordable and ultimately accessible to students who might not have the opportunity -- that’s a big priority as well. This year, 83 percent of our students received some form of financial aid. With our institutional aid, we try to offer diverse options. We have scholarships for student athletes, for those interested in the arts, and for those who excel academically. We even have scholarships for those interested in community service.” Bethel, established in 1842, is affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and it offers bachelor’s, master’s and associate degrees through a variety of learning platforms.
- Bethel University basketball fans will have a rare opportunity on Monday, Nov. 24 when they have the chance to attend a reception and meet and greet honoring Bethel Hall of Famer Joe L. Reaves. Reaves is the only Bethel athlete to have ever been drafted to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was drafted in the third round of the 1973 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Reaves’ actual play time in seven NBA matchups makes him the most successful of athletes in history across all sports at Bethel. Reaves was inducted into Bethel’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. “We are very excited that Joe is coming to campus for a visit,” said President Walter Butler. “It gives us a chance to celebrate his accomplishments, and it gives our basketball fans a chance to hear about his experiences at a level that only an elite few ever attain. For me, it’s extra special. I can remember watching Joe play here at Bethel, and I followed him through his NBA play. He really is an athletic hero in my eyes. We’ve invited his former Bethel teammates, trainers and coaches, and his son, Shemon, who coaches girls’ basketball at Northside High School in Jackson is also coming.” The reception in Reaves’ honor will be held in the Student Activities Room in the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment during the break between the men’s and women’s games, which will be in Crisp Arena. The Wildcats will be hosting Freed-Hardeman University, and Reaves will also be honored during halftime of the men’s game. The Lady Wildcats will tip off at 6 p.m., and the Wildcats will follow at 8 p.m. For more information about Reaves’ reception, contact Vicky Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 731-352-6405.
- Bethel’s Department of Music will present the traditional Lessons and Carols service on Nov. 25 at 11 a.m. and at 7 p.m. in Bouldin Auditorium in the Dickey Fine Arts Building. The service will feature the Bethel University Singers and Chamber Choir singing seasonal music, including one of the modern era’s most celebrated Christmas choral works -- Christmas Cantata by Daniel Pinkham. The Chamber Choir will sing Pange Lingua by György Orban , which is regarded as one of the most challenging modern works for mixed voices. Students, faculty, and administrators will read scripture that tell the Christmas story with readings from the Old and New Testaments. First presented at King’s College in Cambridge, England in 1918, the Lessons and Carols service has undergone minor revisions, but basically retains the same format, featuring the reading of 9 lessons (scripture readings), congregational singing, and choral anthems. This joyful service will set the mood for the season.
- Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014 will be a momentous occasion in the history of Bethel University from this day forward after the school inaugurated its 40th President, Dr. Walter Butler. “This truly is a huge day for Bethel,” said keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Perryn Rice, who serves as Senior Pastor at Lake Highland Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. “Today’s inauguration is much like accidentally seeing a sunset for the first time. It’s awe inspiring.” Rice also compared the day to seeing comedian Eddie Murphy for the first time on Saturday Night Live. “You knew you were seeing something amazing – something special,” Rice said. “And as he continued on the show, he surprised us – even shocked us. “I met Walter Butler for the first time when I was on the board of trustees for Bethel several years ago,” he said. “Many others on the board told me what a benefit it was to Bethel to have someone like Walter here. It didn’t take long to see this for myself. “With the same certainty that I knew Eddie Murphy would be funny on Saturday Night Live, I am certain that Walter will do great things for Bethel. “That certainty is based on my faith – I am certain the Lord will continue to bless Walter and to use Walter for good things here at Bethel. “When the Lord is involved,” Rice said, “the end result is always newness; then there’s joy and passion and hope and excitement.” After the keynote address, Judge Ben Cantrell, chair of Bethel’s Board of Trustees, conducted the installation of Butler as 40th President of Bethel. Cantrell placed the Presidential Medal around Butler’s neck, and the Academic Mace was also presented to Butler. “I am so moved by the outpouring of support people have shown me these last few days leading up to this event,” President Butler said. “Your presence not only means so much to me but to Bethel University. “I will work hard and Bethel University will work hard every day to earn your respect and confidence,” he said. Butler thanked Board Chair Ben Cantrell and Bethel’s Board. “I want to publicly thank you,” he said to Cantrell. “You’ve always listened. You’ve always given sound advice – you’ve always taken my calls. “And the trustees – you’re guidance has made Bethel a leader in higher education.” Butler also thanked former President William Odom and President Emeritus Robert Prosser. “These men both share many things – one of those is that they both hired me,” Butler said. “The friendships of these two men is on the list of things I truly cherish.” Butler also thanked former Gov. Don Sundquist who could not attend the inauguration because of health issues. “Gov. Sundquist gave me an opportunity,” he said. “Everyone should have such an opportunity. Because of him I got to work with some of the smartest people in this state.” Butler also thanked Bethel’s faculty, staff and students. “Faculty, you’re the best. Period. No questions asked. Case closed,” he said. “You challenge our students to think and grow. You’re changing their lives. You’re changing family trees. “To our staff, this university could not operate without you. “And students,” he said. “It is all about you. It is totally about you. Please take advantage of this opportunity.” Butler also thanked his family – his mother, his sons, and his wife, Jennifer, who he said was the rock of their family. Butler talked about Bethel’s mission – to create opportunities to develop to a person’s highest potential intellectually, spiritually, socially and physically in a Christian environment. “That mission is why we are here today,” Butler said. “That mission makes it worthwhile to teach and work here. “I want you to know why I work here,” he said. “I mainly work here because I feel like the old man walking along the beach.” Butler shared the story of the man who would pick up a starfish and throw it back into the ocean one at a time. In the story, a little boy approaches the man and asks him what he is doing. The old man explains that he is throwing the starfish back into the ocean where they can survive. “Why would you do this?” the boy asked. “There are so many. “One at a time, you can’t possibly make a difference.” The old man muttered under his breath as he threw another starfish in to the ocean. “It made a difference to this one.” “We need to make a difference, “Butler said. “I wish you could have my seat at graduation. You would see a lot of starfish walking across that stage. “What’s next for Bethel? We try to serve our students, we try to serve our alumni. We serve, we serve, we serve and we imagine.” Butler officially became President this past June after serving as Interim President since August 2013.
- Tickets for Bethel University’s 3rd Annual Twinkle Ball, the ultimate Mommy & Me Christmas extravaganza, go on sale this week beginning Nov. 5. The Twinkle Ball will be on Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment on Bethel’s McKenzie campus. The Twinkle Ball gives young girls and their mothers (or someone who is motherly to them) the chance to dress up and celebrate the magic of the holiday season in the girliest ways imaginable. This year’s theme is “Twinkle has Frozen” with most activities centered around the “Frozen” movie theme. Some of the planned events include: “Frozen” manicures by the Edge Hair Salon; a make and take “Olaf” character, a make your own “Frozen” popcorn ball, silhouette portrait sittings, a bracelet making station, a Christmas ornament station, a photo booth station and photos made with some surprise guests. Tickets are $25 for a mother/daughter ticket. Mothers with more than one daughter can purchase additional tickets for $7 each. Tickets can be purchased at the Bethel University Bookstore. But they must be purchased in advance by Monday, Dec. 1. For more information about the Twinkle Ball, call the Bethel Bookstore at 731-352-4094 or Myra Carlock at 731-352-4090.
- Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014 will be a momentous occasion in the history of Bethel University as its Board of Trustees holds an inauguration ceremony for the school’s 40th president, Dr. Walter Butler. Butler officially became President this past June after serving as Interim President since August 2013. Butler, who holds both a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Bethel, was recently presented an honorary doctor of humane letters by the school’s trustees. Butler’s Bethel career actually began in 1975 when he began work as an admissions counselor – a position he held for three years until he ran for the Office of Carroll County Trustee and won. He served as Carroll County Trustee for 16 years, being re-elected in 1982, 1986, and 1990. In August of 1994, he ran successfully for the Office of Carroll County Executive (now Carroll County Mayor). Butler served in this capacity until 1996 when Governor Don Sundquist asked him to become Tennessee’s Director of State Parks. As Director of State Parks, Butler oversaw 54 parks, 1,600 employees and a budget of more than $57 million. Governor Sundquist went on to appoint Butler the Deputy Commissioner of Personnel and then as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Butler then served as Commissioner of Personnel, a position he held to the end of Governor Sundquist’s term in office. Butler later returned to Bethel as the Director of Business Affairs where he eventually held positions as Executive Vice President for the College of Liberal Arts and as Vice President for the College of Criminal Justice. University presidential inaugurations are steeped in age−old tradition, and they reflect the history and traditions of higher education which date back to the Middle Ages. An event distinguished by great ceremony‚ the presidential inauguration stands out as a celebratory milestone in a university’s life. Bethel University is one of the oldest universities in the state, and it holds dear its traditions, some of which date back to its founding in 1842. “We are extremely fortunate to have Walter Butler as President of this university,” said Judge Ben Cantrell, chair of Bethel’s Board of Trustees. “We could have made a nationwide search and still not found a candidate with his combination of knowledge, skill and dedication. He believes in this university, its mission and its people.” The inauguration ceremony will be held in Crisp Arena in the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment. It will begin at 11 a.m., and the public is invited to attend. For more information, contact Myra Carlock at 731-352-4090 or at email@example.com.
- Bethel University’s Renaissance Program is excited to announce the 2014 schedule for “Christmas with Renaissance.” “Christmas with Renaissance” is an annual celebration that showcases the talents of the Renaissance Program at Bethel University. This “fun for the whole family” performance will boast a wide variety of genres of music all focused on the Christmas theme. The concert will feature all aspects of Renaissance including the Renaissance Choir, The Renaissance Quartet, Vocal Authority, Renaissance Theatre, The Renaissance Bluegrass Bands, The Renaissance Orchestra and The Renaissance Revolution. Also this year, the group will be joined by special guests “The Little Rebel Singers.” Performances are November 21, 22 and 23 at the Dickey Fine Arts Building on campus in McKenzie, Tenn. Shows begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. Matinee on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children (12 and younger). Tickets can be purchased at the Renaissance Office located at 28 Lee Ave. in McKenzie. The office will be open from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (731) 352-6980 for more information. Bethel Faculty, Staff and Students will receive free tickets. Please reserve those tickets in advance by emailing April Dodd, Renaissance Administrative Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be available for you at will call the night of the performance. Like in the past, the group anticipates sold out crowds for each performance.
- The Bethel University Renaissance Theatre program is pleased to announce the opening of their next musical theatre production, “Urinetown: The Musical.” This hilariously comedic and somewhat farcical musical tells the tale of an imaginary town that is quickly running out of its most precious natural resource: water. In an effort to conserve water, citizens are forced to pay to use public restrooms and there is growing discontent as a large corporation has seized control of all the public restrooms, charging high fees to the poor and downtrodden. One man decides to fight the tyranny of the corporate control and uncover the truth of why and how this town ended up in this condition. As the story unfolds, we see how desperate people are pushed to desperate measures when faced with horrible circumstances. While the title is extremely obscure and somewhat unsettling, audiences will appreciate the power of the story and how it tackles environmental, political, and social issues. The show asks some very challenging questions about society and how government or corporations attempt to ‘control’ the public. Director Brian Hill explained it this way. “This production takes a more light-hearted approach at tackling serious issues, but at the same time, we get the chance to look inside how people respond when their circumstances around them are dire. While I hope that there will never be a day when our communities don’t have access to water, we can also see that around the world there are still many people without access to clean drinking water, so maybe this issue is more current than we realize.” With that in mind, the Renaissance Theatre program has partnered with the organization Charity Water to raise money and awareness for impoverished communities around the globe that do not have clean drinking water. Lauren Lay, a junior, presented the idea to the directors and was excited to help spearhead the project. “Our goal for this project is to raise at least $1500 towards digging wells in Ethiopia. We are encouraging our audience, and other local community members to either donate online, or bring cash or spare change to the show and hopefully we will meet that goal!” You can find information about this project at www.my.charitywater.org/renaissance-theatres-urinetown. The show will open at the Bethel Performing Arts Center at 647 Stonewall on Saturday, November 1st at 7:00 pm with a matinee on Sunday the 2nd at 2:00 pm. It will also run on November 6-8 at 7:00 pm and 2:00 on November 9th. Bethel Faculty, Staff, and Students receive free admission. Tickets can be reserved by calling 731-352-6980 or by email@example.com .
- Bethel University honored three former athletic greats and two athletic contributors with inductions into the prestigious Bethel Athletic Hall-of-Fame Friday night at the 2014 Alumni Awards and Athletic Hall-of-Fame Dinner which was held in the Board Room at the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment, Crisp Wing. The 2014 inductees are: Dewey Chism (64) Men’s Basketball Dr. Ernie Owen (64) Men’s Basketball Bruce Herrin (70) Men’s Basketball & Baseball JT & Robye Lindsey -Contributors Prior to this year, seventy three people and one team had been enshrined into the hall. The 2008 soccer team was the first team to be inducted at the 2013 ceremonies. Here is a look at the 2014 Hall-of Fame Class: Bruce Herrin was a two-sport student athlete at Bethel and a very good one in both sports. Herrin graduated from Somerset High School in Somerset, Kentucky in 1966. After his high school graduation he enrolled in Bethel and played basketball and baseball under Bethel Hall-of-Fame coach Doug Hines. He played both sports at Bethel from 1966-1970 and graduated from Bethel in 1970. He was voted Best Defensive player in 1967. He held the Wildcats best free throw shooting percentage in 1967, 1968 and 1970. The 1970 Wildcat squad captured first place in the 1970 VSAC Western Division. He was named as an Outstanding Athlete in the College Athletics of America in 1969. He had the best ERA of all pitchers on the Wildcat baseball team in 1968. After graduating from Bethel he coached baseball and taught science in the McKenzie School system from 1970-73. He became a graduate assistant coach in 1974 at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi under new head basketball coach Doug Hines. In 1975 he returned to Bethel as an assistant baseball coach under Coach Lionel Sinn. In 1976 he returned to the McKenzie School system to coach and teach. He was in the system until he retired 27 years later. He impacted hundreds of lives with his dedication and talents he offered to the system, the city of McKenzie and surrounding area. In November, 1975, Bruce married Donna Barnett. They have two children, Brad Herrin and Holly Herrin Porter. They feel blessed with three grandchildren, Ryleigh Herrin (12), Brycen Herrin (7), and William “Will” Porter (4). Dr. Ernie Owen attended high school at Lone Oak High in Paducah, Kentucky. After graduating from there he attended Paducah Junior College for two years and was named to the All-Regional Tournament team in basketball. He began a very successful basketball career as a student-athlete at Bethel in 1962. He averaged 17.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He scored a career high 31 points against Florence State in 1964 and was voted Most Athletic that same year. He was a Co-Captain both years with the Wildcats. He is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Western Kentucky University where he taught for over thirty years. He was a teacher, coach and counselor in every grade from kindergarten through graduate school. He obtained his M.A. in Guidance Counseling from Murray State University and his Ed. D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Florida. He is known for his numerous in-service workshops for teachers, coaches and principals on such topics as motivation, discipline and stress reduction. He is noted for his teachings at the high school and university levels in the fields of relaxation techniques, mental imagery and yoga to athletics teams. Dr. Owen has also raised, trained and showed champion, pure –bred Arabian horses for over twenty years. Since his retirement, he has been actively involved in the study of the effects of lifestyle and nutritional choices on mental and physical health, aging and longevity. Dr. Owen is married to Judy Trevathan Owen and they have a daughter Jill Owen Norris and a granddaughter Dr. Jordan Norris. Ernie Owen has been recognized prior to this year as an Outstanding Alumni of Bethel. Dewey Chism is a native of Baldwin, Mississippi. After graduating from high school where he was all-state in basketball and football he enrolled at Northeast Mississippi Junior College in Booneville, Mississippi and was a standout basketball player there for two years. While at Northeast he was seen by Coach Vincent and the rest is part of Bethel history. He attended Bethel and played basketball from 1962 -64. As a forward and guard he was a key member of the Wildcats during his two years at the school. He was also Vice-President of the PE Club while at Bethel. He is a 1964 graduate of Bethel College. After graduating from Bethel he obtained his Master’s degree from Murray State University. He was certified as a Career Level III teacher by the state of Tennessee and was a very popular and respected teacher, coach and mentor in the McKenzie School system. He served the system well teaching mathematics, PE and Driver’s Education. He was also principal of the middle and high schools. He coached football, girls and boys basketball and affected many young people’s lives in a positive and constructive way. Former McKenzie head football coach and Principal Jerry Escue worked with Dewey for four years. Dewey was on Coach Escue’s football staff. Escue had this to say about Dewey. “I don’t know of any more loyal and committed person to his fellow workers and students than Dewey Chism. Our first summer in McKenzie we had no lockers for our football team. He worked tirelessly all summer to help build them and never asked or received pay for his work. There are countless other things just like that he was a part of because of his loyalty and dedication. His students loved him and he was a friend to them but they also knew where he would draw the line. He was a consummate professional in all he did. He understood, appreciated and accepted the mission for what it took to serve.” Prior to joining the McKenzie system he coached and taught at Rosedale High School in Rosedale. Mississippi. He is a former member of the McKenzie Rotary Club and former deacon at the McKenzie Church of Christ. Mr. Chism has been married to Keitha Hatley Chism for fifty years and they have two children, Randy and the late Ricky Chism. They also have two grandchildren, Ashlyn and Caroline Chism. JT and Robye Lindsey have been long-time supporters of Bethel College, Bethel University, and Bethel athletics. JT grew up in Decatur, Alabama and graduated from Pharmacy school from Samford University in 1957. Miss Robye grew up in Brighton, Tennessee. She played high school basketball and collegiate tennis at Erskine College. They married in 1954. They moved to McKenzie in 1958, joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, purchased the old Cannon Drugstore in downtown and operated it as Lindsey’s Rexall from that time until it was sold in 1980. It was there the Bethel connection was formed as the ‘old soda fountain” was a major gathering place for Bethel students and faculty. The Lindsey’s became mentors to most all they came in contact with. Lifelong relationships were formed that exists until today. JT and Robye have “adopted” Bethel students and coaches from all sports through the years and have always been passionate supporters at home and on the road. They have taken students into their home and been stand-in parents for many international students. Their services have been varied. They have greeted and sold tickets for various sporting events. Whether it was old Dishman and Baker Fieldhouse, the old McKenzie High School, the new Dishman and now the new Crisp Arena, the Lindsey’s have always been there. It hasn’t mattered what conference or who they opponent has been, they have always supported their beloved Bethel student athletes. They are the proud parents of sons, Keith and Tim and also seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.