- Four hundred forty individuals earned degrees on Saturday, Dec, 8, during Bethel University’s Fall 2012 Commencement. The ceremony was held in the Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena in the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment on the school’s McKenzie campus. Dan Cathy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Chick-fil-A, was the commencement speaker. Cathy has served as President and COO of the 1608-plus Atlanta-based restaurant chain since 2001. During his speech, Cathy pointed out that his company places much focus on teaching the skills of showing honor, dignity and respect toward others. “Restaurant – one of its meanings is a place for restoration,” Cathy said. “We consider this not just restoration of our stomachs, but it’s about restoration of our hearts and souls.” Cathy went on to say that there is much demand for the graduates to take us into the future, and he offered three points to the graduates. “I command you to have a smart phone,” he said. “Looking at these reminds us of how much things are changing. Just as you upgrade your phones and embrace new technology, upgrade your minds too. “Also, have joy and meaning in your work,” he said. “The most important truths in life have never changed. Stay true to those things and be zealous about what you do. “Finally,” he said. “Today, I am going to be handing you a baton. Success is all about succession. My hope is that you will carry on such truths and ideals and carry them with pride and care to preserve them for future generations. “The handoff makes all the difference in an actual relay. You have to be in sync with those who are passing the baton to you, and you have to actually take the baton from the other’s hand.” Cathy demonstrated what happened when the baton is dropped. “If you worked, sweated and trained for years, and during the critical moments you hear the sound of the baton dropping a part of you would die inside,” he said. “Please,” he said. “For the sake of the next generation, don’t drop the baton. Carry it with grace, dignity and care.” As a reminder of his words, Cathy handed each graduate a relay baton during the ceremony. During his visit, Cathy also visited with Chick-fil-A employees at the Bethel University Chick-fil-A.
- Fourth graders from Maury City Elementary School in Crockett County, Tenn., visited Bethel's McKenzie campus on Friday, Nov. 30. They toured campus, ate lunch at the school's Chick-fil-A restaurant, and they had a mini workshop with Bethel University's Renaissance Theatre group. Here, students watched Renaissance Theatre perform a dance just before the students had the chance to learn the dance themselves.
- Twelve Bethel students and community members helped state representative Andy Holt glean pumpkins from his family farm. Gleaning is a biblical concept where farmers would only harvest a portion of their crops. The poor were then allowed to gather the crops that were left over. Local volunteers partnered with the Society of Saint Andrews, a premier gleaning organization in America, to pick pumpkins and deliver them to five local feeding agencies. The Society of Saint Andrews works with farmers, volunteers and feeding agencies to help feed hungry Americans. Pumpkins were delivered to the Real Hope Youth Center, New Harmony Baptist Church, Long Heights Baptist Church, McKenzie United Neighbors, and the Milan Mustard Seed. The group picked and delivered a total of 750 pumpkins which is equal to about 3,000 pounds. These pumpkins will be given away by the agencies this week along with other food items for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Society of Saint Andrews and the five food agencies who received the pumpkins were very grateful for all of the volunteers' time and hard work to help feed the hungry. Volunteers included: Mareike Birmele, Austin Garrigus, Stephen Gillette, Jessica Gray, Isaac Lofton, Russell Pryor, Jai-Quilah Rasul, Candace Salcido, Matt Smith, Josh Sumner, Pollyanna Vitel, and Cathy Yants.
- Bethel University claimed first place among 28 other schools at the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge (AMC3) Competition this past weekend in Nashville. It was the first ever Bethel team to compete in the competition, who bested Bryan College, Rhodes College and Vanderbilt University in the final rounds. Coached by Bethel University Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Todd Rose, the team consisted of Sasha Arnold, who served as head lawyer, David Ivy and Nikki Barnhill, who argued opposing sides of the case and Katie Pope and Kelsie Wynn who aided the moot court in writing their award winning brief and preparing the team for arguments. According to Rose, the team was required to submit a written brief and prepare arguments for both sides in a very complicated case. “In preparation for the event, this team would often spend up to 20 hours a week practicing and preparing,” Rose said. In all, 11 Bethel University students participated in the TISL events at the State Capitol. Brooke Childers acted as head delegate this year and worked with Dorinda Myles and Joshi Hilary to write and sponsor bills for the house and senate. Together, they presented the ideas of Bethel students and were able to gain enough support on many of these bills to pass them as mock law. Dorinda Myles was recognized for her advocacy of a particularly heated bill that would require wives wanting abortions to first obtain the written consent of their husbands. The delegation did not only participate in the legislative side of government. Emily Durham was honored with an appointment to the governor’s cabinet. Emily worked with the secretary of education to advise the governor and the cabinet on essential pieces of legislation that would influence education in Tennessee. Caleb Butler served as deputy clerk in this year’s general assembly. In this role, he oversaw all paperwork, including scoring, for the appellate moot court. Kelsey Wynn, Katie Pope, and Joshua Waugh served as clerks for the supreme court of TISL, keeping time for the court and ensuring that all paperwork was filed appropriately. Bethel’s clerks were commended for their leadership and competence in solving issues and ensuring that the AMC3 competition ran smoothly. This is the fourth year Bethel University has sent a delegation to TISL. Since its implementation, Bethel’s delegation to TISL has continuously grown. The organization holds a mock state government every year, wherein students from colleges across Tennessee gain first-hand experiences in the fundamentals of state government. For more information on TISL, go to www.tislonline.org or search You Tube for the tislonline channel.
- Bethel University was host to a Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Panel Discussion on Thursday, Nov. 15 that focused on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case and on the opportunities and challenges the decision has presented. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. The nonprofit group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or "BCRA"). In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment. The decision reached the Supreme Court on appeal from a July 2008 decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Section 203 of BCRA defined an "electioneering communication" as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The lower court held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries. The Supreme Court reversed, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from spending on "electioneering communications." The decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003). The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). Panelists for the discussion included the Honorable Judge Holly Kirby, a judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals; Jim Brown, the Tennessee State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB); Brad Hurley, Carroll County Chamber Director; Allan Ramsaur, Executive Director of the Tennessee Bar Association; and Ed Lancaster, General Counsel for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. Moderator was Rick Vaughn, Associate Athletic Director at Bethel. Each panelist was given a five-minute time period to point out opportunities and challenges of the Citizens United decision and to pose possible solutions. Judge Kirby began the discussion by pointing out that the Tennessee legislature is a citizen legislature where legislators are part time and must support themselves in other vocational endeavors. Judge Kirby also brought up the point that when she was a child, the legislature met for shorter periods of time and legislators had more time to run the businesses that provided their financial support. “When you combine the rigors of how long legislators now meet with fundraising and the time spent to keep their own personal financial endeavors operating, the demands for being a legislator are exponential,” Judge Kirby said. Judge Kirby also went on to say that legislators need a certain background and life experiences to be able to make wise legislative decisions. “It seems that the legislature benefits from having lawyers because they can anticipate how legislation will play out in the real world,” she said. Judge Kirby said the same was true for business owners who brought important real life experience to the job. Judge Kirby pointed out that under Citizens United, for a relatively small amount of money, a single interest group can make a huge impact on a race. “It shrinks the pool of candidates,” she said. “Tennessee will suffer if business leaders and lawyers do not run.” Judge Kirby offered three steps toward capitalizing on the opportunities presented by Citizens United. “First, there should be talks among business groups and with bar associations (both urban and rural) to see if a consensus can be reached for specific candidates,” she said. “Second, there need to be talks to change the culture of how we decide on a candidate,” she said. “This culture needs to be to support the people chosen while they are serving. The Tennessee Bar Association does a good job of this when lawyers take on pro bono cases. There should be recognition that serving in the legislature is a high calling, and if someone takes this calling on, he or she must be supported.” “Finally,” she said, “when an open seat comes up, these groups should not wait for political parties to look for candidates, but instead these groups should identify candidates with a rich knowledge of business and law.” The next panelist, Jim Brown with the NFIB said he agreed with a lot of what Judge Kirby said. “I actually think we are seeing really good folks come into the legislature,” Brown said. “Citizens United didn’t fundamentally change things, but it did give us freedom to educate voters on where candidates are. Before, we were very restricted.” Brown said, “I will take the contrarian view to Judge Kirby. I think business owners already want to run for office. Right now, one-third of Tennessee’s legislators are small business owners.” Carroll County Chamber Director Brad Hurley used his time to pose questions. “How do we recalibrate our thinking so that compromise is not a bad word?” he asked. “How do we elect an official and not have it be about one issue?” “And how do we get voters to invest in the legislative process? Said Hurley. Allan Ramsaur with the Tennessee Bar Association said there are more insurance salesmen in the Tennessee State Legislature than there are lawyers. “We lawyers think lawyers can do a good job. We are trained to see both sides of an issue and anticipate the consequences,” he said. “On this topic, I do think there are encouraging signs out there, and I think we also have to recognize that voters are not tricked by deep pockets who run negative ad campaigns. Just having the money advantage does not mean you have the advantage,” Ramsaur said. Ramsaur said he did not think permanent coalitions could be formed. “There are plenty of times we do agree, so I think issues are a common ground. You don’t really even have to have a majority. Seventy-thirty is still a compromise. Each group is having to give up something,” he said. “My group’s role is to advocate legislation for our concerns,” said Ed Lancaster with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. “We don’t endorse anyone, and we don’t have PAC money. “A lobbyist’s job is to inform legislators on how a bill will affect constituents,” Lancaster said. Lancaster went on to remind those at the panel discussion that their role was very important. “Don’t forget. The legislators work for you so take advantage of that,” he said.
- The Bethel University Renaissance Program is excited to announce that tickets are now on sale for the Annual “Christmas with Renaissance.” Shows will take place at the Bethel Performing Arts Center Friday Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., Saturday Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. The following weekend shows will be in Bouldin Auditorium in the Dickey Fine Arts Building Friday Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. and Saturday Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. “The Annual “Christmas with Renaissance” is a concert that draws audience members from across the country” commented Rev. Peter Jeffrey, Executive Director of Renaissance. “We will showcase every aspect of our exceptional program, and do it in the Christmas Spirit.” Rev. Jeffrey also states that “this year’s Christmas with Renaissance” production is by far the best, most ambitious project we have ever attempted. It features all of the classic Christmas performances audiences have come to expect from Renaissance over the years, but also features the debut of “Renaissance Revolution!” a brand new ensemble that features a variety of percussion and orchestral instruments. This is one you absolutely do not want to miss.” “Bethel Night” will be on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. All Bethel Students, Faculty and Staff will receive a free voucher when they show their Campus ID. For voucher reservation, please call the Bethel Bookstore. This will be the only show that Bethel employees and students will be admitted at no charge. Tickets are $10 for Adults and $5 for Students and are available at the Bethel University Bookstore located in the Vera Low Student Enrichment Center. Group rates for 15 or more are available. It is suggested that you get your tickets in advance. Sold out crowds are anticipated. For more information call 731-352-6445 or visit our website www.bethelu.edu. Tickets will be sold at the mail room window before 3 p.m., during the week and 3 p.m. to closing in the store.
- Alumni and friends are encouraged to register online for Bethel's 2012 Homecoming, which is Oct. 14-20 on the school's McKenzie campus. Events take place all week and end with the Homecoming Football Game on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 20 and a performance of "Smokey Joe's Cafe" by Renaissance Theatre at 8 p.m. that night. For a list of all Homecoming activities, go to http://www.bethelu.edu/alumni/homecoming/sm_files/Homecoming%20brochure%202.pdf. To register online for Homecoming events go to http://www.bethelu.edu/alumni/homecoming/registration_homecoming. For other questions about Homecoming 2012, contact Myra Carlock at 731-352-4090 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Bethel University will hold a “Paint the Campus Pink” week Oct. 1-4. The event is sponsored by the school’s Student Government Association. A number of activities will take place during the week. On Monday, Oct. 1, pink bracelets will be sold in the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment from 10:30 until 1 p.m. On Tuesday, Oct. 2, there will be a t-shirt contest in the Vera Low Center from 10:30 until 1 p.m. On Wednesday, Oct. 3, there will be a sorority-sponsored bake sale in the Vera Low Center from 10:30 until 1. “One of the activities we will have is a luminary decorating event,” said Leanne Kerner, spokesman for the event. “Anytime during the day on Thursday, Oct. 4, luminary bags will be handed out to be decorated. This is free of charge. We really want anyone who has been touched by breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter, to come and decorate a bag. “Then we will have a pink rally in the quad with chalking, lighting the luminaries, and a dance and snacks that night,” Kerner said. "The campus will also be lit with pink lights. We invite everyone to come check it out." For more information about Bethel University’s “Paint the Campus Pink” week, contact Leanne Kerner at email@example.com.
- Alex DeBonis, Assistant Professor of English at Bethel University, and Bethel Theatre major Patrick Crawford are featured in the September 2012 issue of the literary journal website decomP magazinE. DeBonis’ story “Nursery,” is a flash fiction (a story of less than 1,000 words) piece, and it is read in character by Crawford.
- The Bethel University Renaissance Theatre Program is excited to present the Rock ‘n’ Roll Revue “Smokey Joe’s Café.” Performing at 10 venues across Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina this tour will bring back songs that we all know and love.