- The latest graduates from Bethel University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program have achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) for the second straight year, according to Bethel Nursing Program Director Mary Bess Griffith. “We are so proud of our students and of our faculty and staff who are so committed to the success of this program and of our students,” Griffith said.
- On January 28, 13 Renaissance students will travel to Nashville, Tenn., to record background vocals on Mark Lowry’s upcoming Studio Release. Mark is a singer, storyteller, humorist, author and songwriter, whose lyric to “Mary Did You Know?” resulted in one of the most loved modern Christmas songs of this century. This captivating song has been recorded more than 400 times by artists from every genre including: Reba McEntire, Cee Lo Green, Clay Aiken, Michael English, Kenny Rogers, Wynonna Judd, The Gaither Vocal Band, and a long list of others. Mark has spent more than 20 collective years as the baritone singer for the Grammy-award-winning Gaither Vocal Band and serves as the sidesplitting comedic sidekick for Bill Gaither through live concert tours and the best-selling Gaither Homecoming video series and television airings (now more than 150 volumes strong). “We continue to be amazed at the incredible opportunities that God gives us,” commented Matthew Holt, Executive Director of Renaissance. “This opportunity will put our students in a professional setting, working alongside distinguished artists and producers. Kevin Williams, one of my best friends in the world, is producing this project and I am thrilled that our students are going to get to work with someone of his caliber.” Matthew not only played piano on this project, he also will be in the studio January 26th producing his acapella arrangement of “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross” with Mark and special guests, The Martins. “I can’t wait to look at the back of this album, and on the credits see names like; Mark Lowry, Kevin Williams, The Martins, Matthew Holt and Bethel University Renaissance,” added Travis McLeese, Associate Director of Renaissance. “This will be one of those ‘full-circle moments’ for me,” Matthew added.
- Bethel University is proud to offer its annual Hendrix Scholarship Competition, a premier scholarship program established in 1988 by Mr. Willard R.
- Check In for Bethel's College of Arts and Sciences Spring 2015 semester will be Sunday January 11, 2015 From 12-5 in the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment (VLOW). All residential students will need to report to the VLOW for Housing then present ID's to confirm registration.
- Two projects that Matthew Holt, Executive Director of Bethel University’s Renaissance, has worked on in the past year have been nominated for the Music Industry’s top honor, a Grammy. The Martin’s A Capella Project contains a song that he arranged and produced. He also played the piano on the Gaither Vocal Band’s Hymn Project. Both albums have been nominated for Best Gospel Album. “The Martins are thrilled with the nomination,” exclaimed Joyce Martin, of the Martin’s. “We had several producers work on this project and Matthew's contribution is perfection! Congratulations, sir. Thank you for sharing your genius with us.” Matthew has been writing and arranging music for quite some time. He co-owns HabeHolt Music, a music publishing company that has been successful in getting more than 100 songs recorded and released by major artists, including several number one songs. “I am so excited and blessed to be a part of these amazing works, and even more thankful for the great people that I get to work with,” Matthew added. Both projects can be purchased on iTunes.
- Bethel University held Fall 2014 Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena on the school’s McKenzie campus. A total of 501 students graduated earning the following degrees: Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts in Education, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution, Associate of Arts and Associate of Science. The honorable Dale Kelley, Mayor for the town of Huntingdon and Athletic Director at Bethel University, was the Commencement speaker. Before his speech, Kelley was presented a Doctor of Humane Letters from Bethel – a degree that is given to individuals who distinguish themselves in their communities. Kelley has an extensive background in government and civic service as well as in athletics. Kelley, who is a Bethel alumnus, told the graduates about sitting in 1966 where they were today. “I sat where you are today, with questions about my future,” he said. “I wondered where will I go from here?” Kelley told graduates about how Bethel holds a special place in his heart. “Many doors that were opened and opportunities that came my way were rooted in my Bethel connections,” he said. “The impact of this institution on my life is great.” Kelley reminded graduates that they have each been impacted by Bethel as well. “We are called to be good stewards of this educational heritage,” he said. “This includes learning for a lifetime and gaining wisdom, having perseverance, and having enthusiasm about what the future holds.” Kelley shared a story about a woman who went to work humming and whistling. Her coworkers asked her the reason for her good mood. “I have never lived this day before,” she replied. “For the rest of your life, I hope you carry that kind of enthusiasm,” Kelley said to graduates. “Go ahead…step out, be too enthusiastic and be courageous to do things that will impact the world. “Remember,” he said, “amateurs built the ark, and professionals built the Titanic.”
- 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.